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Sedona Arizona

Updated on June 28, 2023
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M. D. Jackson has traveled and lived all over the Southwest/Northwest. She visits everything from tourist traps to National Monuments.

Grasshopper Point
Grasshopper Point | Source

Exploring Sedona

As we get older certain things lose their magic. In fact, magic itself becomes a known falsehood. At times our souls need a break from what we know. We need to feel that there is something still magical, for me that magical place is Sedona. There is something for everyone in this valley flanked by red rock carved out by the rain, wind, and oak creek. Historically this place has been home to Native Americans and then ranchers. Today Sedona is home to people from all over the world. The activities available in this area include hiking, camping, biking, golfing, shopping, art galleries, museums, and restaurants.

In my early 20’s, I lived just north of Sedona Arizona. When you see pictures of Arizona in magazines often you will see red rock outcroppings unearthed by the wind and rain, that is Sedona. Over the years I spent countless weekends in Sedona hiking Oak Creek Canyon. Twenty five years later a lot has changed but, Sedona still manages to be a spiritually uplifting, communing with nature, enjoying the natural beauty type of experience every time. We usually hike for half the day and then spend the rest for the day in shops and exploring the restaurant options. No two trips are ever alike. You could spend a week in Sedona and not touch half the natural beauty it has to offer.

Camping in Oak Creek

Camping in Sedona is tricky. Various seasons require extensive planning. Oak Creek Canyon is beautiful in the spring. The spring is also the flood season. I personally have been rained out of the canyon three times. If you insist on going in the spring then I suggest you bring back up money for a hotel. Flash flooding comes on quickly in Oak Creek Canyon.

Reservations for camp sites in the Oak Creek area require reservations . There are a limited number of camp sites so you would want to call ahead and make sure they can fit you in. Parking anywhere in Oak Creek requires a pass. The campgrounds provide little in the way of privacy and depending on your neighbors; it can feel more like a bad refugee camp situation.The other option for camping is to back pack into the canyon, this requires you to go at least a mile into the canyon on foot. Camping close to the hiking area is not permitted.

There is a dry camp called Beaver Creek south of Sedona that is less crowded and doesn't take reservations. There are also some interesting Airbnb options in the Sedona area.


Of all the places I have ever been in my life, Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon are by far the hardest places to find parking. If you are heading into the Canyon go early in the morning or in late afternoon. If you get to Oak Creek in between that time you are not going to find a spot. All the parking is pay to park. Grasshopper point is always full and cars waiting for a spot will line up and at times even back up traffic on 89A. In most places parking along the road is prohibited.

Tlaquepaque | Source
Tlaquepaque | Source

Tlaquepaque (Tal.ack.apau.kee)

In ever town there is a place that's pronunciation distinguishes the locals from the tourists, in Sedona there are two and one of them is Tlaquepaque. Imagine going to Spain and shopping in a small out of the way Spanish town. There are terracotta roofs and fountains, all the stores look like villas with arches, porticoes, and ivy, that place is Tlaquepaque. The shops at Tlaquepaque feature everything from Mexican imports to Dale Chihuly blown glass chandeliers. If you like to shop it is a must see attraction.

Slide Rock State Park

Slide Rock State Park is a beautiful area with natural water slides and pools that are carved out of the red rock. This is a fun attraction especially for kids. Due to it's scenic beauty, Slide Rock it is also the busiest place in the canyon. In the summer Slide Rock is packed with tourists. To enjoy this natural wonder you are going to have to be ready to make new friends and be courteous to others. Bring food, there is a gift shop that sells souvenirs but, no restaurants. There are restroom facilities, however, their are only a few stalls at the creek. Think ahead there is usually a line.


If you have never been through Oak Creek Canyon, there are very few parking spaces in the parking lots. You are not allowed to park along 89A the main road going through the canyon.This area is patrolled and you will get a ticket for attempting to park on 89A. Every parking lot is full by about 9am, that includes slide rock. Over the years they have revamped some of the turn ins for slide rock but, you can expect up to a 30 minute wait in the turn lane even if you are there when they open.

When I was younger and slightly out of my mind, I hiked with my husband and two children (one and eight years old) from the camping ground to Slide Rock by way of the river. Obviously the one year old was in a backpack carrier. It was a crazy way to save $20 weekdays/$30 weekends on parking. We did see parts of Oak Creek that you can't see otherwise. At times we had to cross the creek under less than ideal conditions. If memory serves, it took a few hours and we were exhausted by the time we got to slide rock. Before you consider doing this, be in peak physical condition, and know that it's going to be a rough trip. You will see people walking on the road to get there, I'm not sure where they parked.

A word to the wise, take a pair of jeans your child has outgrown and cut them off for your child to slide and swim in. The rock will tear up any and all bathing suits. Sliding will put holes in your shorts. In fact while you are there you can almost determine the locals from the tourists by what they are wearing. Locals don't slide in their swim suits. People with bad hips ankles and such will want to use extreme caution. Walking around it's not unheard of to see people slide and fall when they don't mean to slide. A good pair of Teva type hiking sandals is a good idea.

Eating in Sedona

There are some great places to eat in Sedona. Many of the restaurants have world class chefs. There is everything from vegan to locally grown beef. The Oaxaca (pronounced; Wee.Hah.Ka) restaurant is in Oak Creek Village and obviously from the title serves Mexican Food. You can sit on the upstairs patio and enjoy the view of Sedona's red rock mountains.

Another wonderful option is The Open Range Grill and Tavern. We have eaten there several time and it's always good. Open Range Grill and Tavern is located in Sinagua Plaza on 89A. The Range overlooks the stunning Red Rock mountains. The food is almost as good as the views.

Hiking in Sedona

Oak Creek Canyon West Fork
Oak Creek Canyon West Fork | Source
Sedona | Source

Hiking in Sedona

Whether you are coming from the Interstate 17 corridor or coming down 89A on the scenic byway from Flagstaff, the beauty of Sedona’s majestic red rocks will inspire you. There are several day use areas with hiking trials and a few camp grounds that offer access to the area.

One of my favorite hikes is West Fork Trail. West Fork Trail starts in an apple orchard and winds through the a red rock canyon.The trail winds back and forth across the creek through areas where the red rock is two to five stories tall. The water and wind has carved what looks like waves out of the rock creating amazing reflecting pools. This area is home to small wildlife creatures however, the top rim of the canyon is fenced and large animals such as bears and deer are kept out. Be aware of your surroundings anyway. Always carry plenty of water. The weather in Sedona can change suddenly, be prepared.

You may hear people in Sedona talk about the Vortex (Vortice). A Vortex is a place of healing energy. Many people profess Sedona to be a place of health and spiritual healing. There are many hikes to places that people believe are healing spots so to speak. In your hikes you may encounter shrines/altars with crystals and flowers, do not touch them. These are considered sacred spaces and while these crystals may be expensive to purchase, it is considered "bad Luck" to remove pieces from an altar. As for the healing power of Sedona, I consider it a spiritual place. It's a place of quiet reflection.


There is so much to do in Sedona. The memories of this trip are going to bring you back again and again. It's one of those places that is a new adventure each time you go. Between the camping, hiking, world class restaurants, shopping, golf, tours and scenic byways, you are sure to find an adventure you will remember. Enjoy your time in Sedona!

© 2011 MD Jackson MSIOP


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