Sedona, Arizona: The best place to travel in the fall!
After my whirlwind trip to NYC, I wanted to unwind and do some spiritual cleansing out in nature. I have only heard about Sedona through relatives and friends but wanted to experience what the hype was all about. I flew back to LA from NYC and the next day decided to drive the 7 hours to Sedona with a few friends in tow. We arrived just around the time the sun was setting and peaking through the majestic rocks that felt like a painting. With the beautiful scenery and the weather hitting above 80 degrees, I knew we had picked the right place at the right time to visit. We were only there for a few short days but there was plenty to do and see within that time frame. From hiking the Devil’s Bridge Trail (shown above) to getting wet and wild at Sliding Rock, my adventurous spirit was complete bliss and it was exactly what I needed to refresh my soul. If you’re looking for a fall getaway anywhere in the US, read along and see why Sedona is the right destination for you…
One of the great reasons to come to Sedona is to get up close and personal with nature. The best way to do that is by seeing Sedona on foot with two amazing hikes: The Devil’s Bridge and Cathedral Rock Trails. Both are relatively short hikes and offer some of the best views of Sedona when you reach the top. Fair warning: It is very rocky pretty much the whole way up. Running or walking shoes won’t cut it as you can slip when climbing up the rocks. It is best to wear hiking shoes for comfort and it helps avoid the sliding both on the way up and down the climb. My personal favorite hiking shoes are from La Sportiva. To learn more about each individual trail, read below:
The Devil’s Bridge Trail: the route is a little over 4 miles round trip (2 miles from the trailhead). The elevation at the top is around 4,600 feet. It is moderately-easy with a steep climb on the rocks at the end. It is not dangerous however the drop-offs are pretty steep at the top. Those who have fear of heights may want to stay away from the bridge but the views of the red rock valley can be seen from anywhere. To be honest, I am personally not the biggest fan of heights but I walked along the bridge and felt very safe. It’s the part right before the bridge that gets a little tricky. From the photos, it may look like a narrow path but trust me, there is ample room of rock to make you feel steadfastly safe. Either way, you will enjoy the climb, get some great exercise, and the views are spectacular!
Cathedral Rock Trail: a short 1.2 mile hike, this trail is rather difficult as it’s pretty much a climb from start to finish. The views from the top are also amazing, especially at sunset. The elevation gain is roughly around 551 feet. It is kid and dog friendly (as long as the pets are on a leash). It begins at Back O’ Beyond Road and the ascent forward is pretty challenging. If you’re up for an amazing challenge, this is the hike for you!
When you’re trying to beat the heat in the desert, there is nothing more thrilling and refreshing than getting a little wet from one of mama nature’s watering holes. Case and point, Slide Rock State Park, located in the heart of Sedona. Not only is it a fresh watering hole, it also is a slide that carries you down the river. After our hike on The Devil’s Bridge trail, it was the perfect way to cool off and have some fun. I must admit, I slid down the river a few times and got scraped up a bit but it was well worth it. I had such a blast as you can see from the photos above. I would definitely recommend it when you’re visiting Sedona!
The Airport Mesa offers great views of Sedona both at sunrise and sunset. On the drive up up Airport Road, there is a halfway point with a short and easy hike that takes you to a spot that offers debatably the best view of all Sedona. Here you will be treated to a 360 degree view of the red rock valley so you can experience the all around magic of the colorful landscape at sunset. This view requires a short hike through a short trail until you reach the top of the boulder; this is the way my husband and I took to get there. As you see in the photos above, the views are nothing less than extraordinary; a perfect location for capturing memories and beautiful photos. Since there are limited parking spaces at the trail head, be sure to get there a bit early for a sunset as it can be crowded. The other option is if you continue along Airport Road, you will come to the Airport Mesa which is a great place to go if you are looking for somewhere that is easily accessible by car.
*WonderFact: The sunset up at the Airport Mesa is crowded at sunset so if you are looking for somewhere that is peaceful and quiet, you may want to look elsewhere.
If you’re looking to pick up some souvenirs for your family and friends, head over to the Tlaquepaque Arts and Shopping village for a close look at some Sedona artisans that craft their work in their shops and galleries. You can find things like glass blown objects to Southwestern contemporary fine art paintings and all in between. WIth over 50 specialty shops and art galleries, it’s hard to not want to take any of the unique items home. You can also find items like silk scarves, leather goods, weavings, and traditional ceramics all throughout the shops. It can take you a full afternoon to get through the entire place and there is fun around every corner. They have beautiful fountains that decorate the interior and the buildings reminded me of an old spanish pueblo.