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Sedona Itinerary help

New Jersey
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107 posts
1 review
Sedona Itinerary help

I will be traveling to Arizona in May and will be in Sedona for 9 days/ 8 nights ( then traveling to the Grand Canyon for 4 days/3nights and onto Phoenix for 2 days/ 1 night before traveling home). I will be renting a car for the length of my stay and will be staying in the Village of Oak Creek - 7 miles from Uptown Sedona. I have done some research and ALL of your thorough, helpful information is truly helping me make the most of my trip ( RR is wonderful with all his helpful information, too )!! . On the days that I am planning on hiking, I am planning on going very early ( 5:30-6:30 A.M.). Some of my hikes include the Devils Bridge, Bell Rock/Courhouse Loop and Airport mesa ( for sunrise and returning for sunset with dinner there) . Any other suggestions for hikes that are moderate and "highly" recommended ?-( I am in good, physical , athletic shape ) My reservations for The Pink Arrow Tour and an E bike Tour ( with the bike tour, I will visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross and have time to go inside, as well for 20 minutes). are still "pending" with the 2 companies since I am traveling solo, they will try and accommodate me once I am there ( would have loved to secure a reservation already, though) - So I am hoping those will be two 1/2 days planned and they also seemed hopeful to accommodate me :) I would like to go to Slide Rock Park one day, too and will rent a bike on my own one morning from the Sedona Bike and Bean ( most likely for 3 hours, will have the afternoon free). . . Any suggestions for the afternoons after my hikes/excursions since I will have plenty of time in the late mornings/afternoons each day !?! I am also trying to "stay in one area" per day, since I have read about the traffic!!! I would like to visit Tlaquepaue one afternoon for shopping/lunch. I am not sure how the weather will be the last 2 weeks in May ( though I know its starting to warm up) so any input on layers would be helpful ( not sure how "cold" the mornings will be). I was planning on stopping at the red Rock Visitor center to pick up some hiking maps and maps of the area when I am traveling from Sky Harbor Airport, but its closed still ( I arrive at 12:30 P.M on a Saturday, but not planning on doing any other stops, as I want to make sure I am NOT driving in the dark and I am planning on the heavy traffic ,too )!!! I did purchase a Fodor's travel book and map ( I will download an ALL TRAILS app, as well). I will purchase the parking pass at each trailhead, as well - Cash only? I did read about the Red Rock Pass, but was a bit confused if I should be purchasing that too, or am I just paying at the kiosk at each trailhead ( I cannot purchase my Grand Canyon entrance ticket right now , as well - They are asking for a license plate number of my rental, which I don't have - I am lodging in the Park) . I would like to try the Cowboy Club, Elote Cafe, Sedona Memories, Mesa Grill, Sound Bites Grill ( live entertainment on the weekend) and Pisa Lisa and Rene - Any other suggestions highly recommended for restaurants ? Though some might say I am spending "too much time" in Sedona and the GC , I truly try to make the most out off my trip , doing a lot of adventurous excursions/hikes without being rushed. Thank you SO much in advance again for all your help !!

11 replies to this topic
North Carolina
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7,875 posts
9 reviews
6 helpful votes
1. Re: Sedona Itinerary help

With 12 nights I would do a loop out of Vegas: LAS- Sedona (5 nights) - Grand Canyon (2 nights) - Zion (3 nights) - Bryce (1 night) - St George (1 night) - LAS

or one way:

PHX (2 nights) - Sedona (4 nights) - Grand Canyon (2 nights) - Zion (3 nights) - Bryce (1 night) - LAS

The 18 Round-a-bouts in sedona will be dreadful after 9 days !

Sedona, AZ
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2. Re: Sedona Itinerary help

The Red Rock Pass IS your trailhead parking pass (at most of the trails, except the State Parks and unless a site has a separate entrance fee because run by a concessionaire....see below). You'll want to buy at least a weekly pass. See all the info here:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/coconino/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5416207

Add the popular West Fork (Call of the Canyon) hike. Parking lot opens at 8 am. Separate fee $11. It's in Oak Creek Canyon, north of Slide Rock State Park. You might get your feet wet unless there are enough stepping stones to cross the stream.

Go to Red Rock Crossing aka Crescent Moon Picnic Site one afternoon. By the creek (you can wade in) and somewhat shady walking on the trail upstream. Bring a picnic. Also separate fee of $11.

Maybe the Red Rock Ranger Visitors Center will be open by then. But here are hiking maps from the USFS to get you started. Click on each area and zoom in.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/coconino/recreation/?cid=stelprd3851843

You won't need many layers in Sedona by May. Weather for the next 2 weeks is 70s during the day and low of 50s. I can already go out in a T-shirt in the morning. But GCNP is at higher elevation, so cooler. Could be 10 degrees cooler during the day and even more of a difference overnight (i.e. actually cold). Check the weather forecast before you leave. And of course, Phoenix will be hot already.

Per SwimFan.....Round-a-bouts dreadful after 9 days! ?????? I've been using them several times a week for over 10 years and don't find them dreadful. I don't know why SwimFan hates them (this isn't SwimFan's first negative comment about them.) Most of them you drive straight through (after slowing down), except when you get near the 179/89A intersection. And if traffic is backed up for 3 miles, what's the difference if you're crawling straight through a roundabout or crawling straight through a regular intersection?

Anyway, have a great time. Stay safe. Stay hydrated!

Edited: April 11, 2021, 12:56 pm
North Carolina
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3. Re: Sedona Itinerary help

Janss,

It’s the traffic in Sedona. Beautiful red rocks 🏜 lousy traffic. Just with 12 nights there is so much more for the OP to experience than just Sedona and GC. With the View Hotel now open in addition to the itineraries I presented above the OP could loop including Monument Valley, Moab (Arch and Canyonlands), Capitol Reef, etc. so many great hiking 🥾 opportunities in the SW USA - less Round-a-bouts 🚎🚑🚙🚓🚗🚛🚚🚚🛴🚑🚒🏍🛵🚐🚌🚑🚙

Edited: April 11, 2021, 4:39 pm
New Jersey
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4. Re: Sedona Itinerary help

Thank you both, SO much for your helpful information and I will purchase the weekly Red Rock Pass and will add there'd Rock Crossing to my list! . My other question is for the Soldier Pass hike - What and where is the best scenario for parking. I see there are only 14 spots available and it opens at 8:00 A.M. - If I would like to start earlier, where is the best place ( address) to park ( I did read about cars being towed that are parked illegally ) - Thank you!

Sedona, AZ
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5. Re: Sedona Itinerary help

I haven't been to Soldier's Pass trailhead in ages. Maybe someone else who has will chime in. So I can't specifically answer your question.

But I suggest that if Soldiers Pass trailhead parking is full (or not open yet), you just move on to another hike. Yes, ticketing and towing is going on...there and elsewhere. Many trailheads are in residential neighborhoods. The impact to the residents is getting beyond acceptable.

Please don't think you have to do every hike you've seen in ads or on social media just for the Wow factor. You will be sufficiently awed by whatever you see and do in Sedona. It would be the same as saying that if you stay in Sedona and GCNP the whole time, you missed relatively nearby Zion and Bryce NPs. There are lots and lots of beautiful sites in the Southwest U.S. You can't see them all on one trip.

SwimFan....You can imagine, as a resident of Sedona for over 30 years, I'm not happy about the traffic that has evolved. I only go to the grocery store in the early morning or at night. I went for a haircut the other day, what used to be a 7 minute drive turned into 40 minutes. Luckily I was her last appt. for the day. I just don't know why you bash the roundabouts. It's really just the traffic, eh? Let's face it, there are just too many cars for this small town to absorb. I doubt we are the only tourist town with this problem. Also some Nat'l Parks are having this problem.

Again, lactraveler2, just enjoy yourself and know that scenery is all around you as you drive (or crawl in traffic: ) in Sedona.

New Jersey
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6. Re: Sedona Itinerary help

Thank you so much and Yes, I will pack my patience ! :)

North Carolina
Level Contributor
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7. Re: Sedona Itinerary help

Janss,

Not bashing - just pointing out to the OP there is a whole wide world out there for 12 nights in the SW USA which would be a much richer experience than just Sedona.

Your post as a Sedona resident explains the problem with spending most of a vacqtion in Sedona "I only go to the grocery store in the early morning or at night. I went for a haircut the other day, what used to be a 7 minute drive turned into 40 minutes." That is just nuts !!

Edited: April 12, 2021, 9:00 am
Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona
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8. Re: Sedona Itinerary help

It is nuts! I long for the days when the "Y" used to be a stop sign and there were no traffic signals in Sedona. But alas, those days are gone.

After seeing Sedona and the Grand Canyon, lactraveler2 may just start planning a return trip to the Southwest to see Utah's Mighty 5 (Nat'l Parks) and other nearby scenic sites : )

Las Vegas, Nevada
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for Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg
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9. Re: Sedona Itinerary help

Interestingly, when driving between Jerome and Tuzigoot N.M after descending the mountain there are a series of brand new traffic circles, I believe in Clarkdale. I'm wondering what's wrong with these people, there has to be a more efficient way to control traffic in a newly constructed area in the middle of nowhere than a series of closely spaced traffic circles!

I do long for the good old days of the mid-1950s when basically there was nothing in Sedona but a few blocks of buildings. It's sad to return over the years and see each year much more additional development covering the former countryside where I used to hike, surrounding the red rock monuments, and the lack of being able to drive through and across the creek at Red Rock Crossing.

Sedona, Arizona
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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10. Re: Sedona Itinerary help

The congestion in Sedona has nothing to do with traffic circles. In fact, they are the best way to keep traffic flowing. The problems are rooted in over crowding and the fact there are only two roads leading in and out of Sedona.

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