Driving into Sedona is an awe-inspiring experience. Massive red rock mountains line the landscape. The best things to do in Sedona are outdoor activities, allowing you to enjoy these spectacular views.
I visited Sedona in Northern Arizona as an 11-year-old on a family vacation to the American Southwest, though my memories are faint.
There were scenic drives, and a glimpse of the Grand Canyon, during our 10-day road trip.
Thirty-five years later, I returned to Sedona one autumn weekend to celebrate my birthday. Adult Dave was excited to hit the trails, see the sights, and make new memories.
Based on my recent visit, I’ve put together this list of the best things to do in Sedona and the surrounding area. All the spots are within city limits or a maximum 30-minute drive away.
1. Devil’s Bridge
Let’s begin atop a 57-foot tall natural sandstone arch, ominously called the Devil’s Bridge.
It’s one of the best places for a photo and not too challenging a hike to reach. We saw backpackers of all ages, from kids to older adults.
That said, this is the desert, and one of the most popular outdoor destinations in the United States, so it pays to start early.
The best time to begin hiking the Devil’s Bridge Trail is sunrise, and going before sunset is another option if you don’t mind potentially hiking out in the dark.
The starting elevation is 4,600 feet above sea level, and there’s a 400-foot elevation gain. Our roundtrip hike took 2.5 hours, including 20 minutes of waiting in line for photos on the stone bridge.
2. Cathedral Rock
A short but steep climb takes you up Cathedral Rock, another one of Sedona’s best hikes.
We tackled this one the same day as Devil’s Bridge; while shorter (about 1.2 miles roundtrip), it’s the more difficult of the two trails.
Some scrambling is required in one particularly steep section, so bring a small backpack for your water bottle, phone, and camera to ensure you can have both hands free. Proper hiking boots are also smart.
The views of red rock formations are breathtaking. And if you ultimately decide not to climb up, you’ll still see enough to know why visiting Cathedral Rock Trail is of the most incredible things to do in Sedona.
3. Bell Rock
For an easy hike, head for bucolic Bell Rock just off U.S. Highway 179. We entered the parking lot at about 4 p.m. and…