Sedona, Arizona, is a beautiful and fun destination any time of year, but is arguably at its most appealing from October through December. The sun hangs low in the sky, and its golden light enhances the rich tones of the famous sandstone formations. In October, the cottonwoods glow with yellow leaves. By December, snow may dust the red rocks like powdered sugar on gingerbread. It’s easy to see why photographers and artists love this place.
Sedona is in north-central Arizona at the base of the Mogollon Rim, a 200-mile-long escarpment that ranges 2,000 to 3,000 feet above the ground and runs east-west across central Arizona. It forms the boundary where the desert to the south gives way to the peaks and forests of the state’s high country to the north. Located atop a 500-foot mesa, Sedona Airport is often referred to as the “aircraft carrier of the desert.” The airport’s website is packed with pilot and visitor information. Hungry? Enjoy good food and views of the airport at Mesa Grill.
Sedona offers endless hiking, from tough climbs to easy jaunts like the Jim Thompson Trail. Even if you aren’t into hiking, when in Sedona, a visit to Red Rock Crossing is a must to take your own classic photo of Cathedral Rock, one of Arizona’s most-photographed spots. The Crescent Moon Picnic Area offers the best light in late afternoon. Sedona’s other revered landmark is the dramatic Chapel of the Holy Cross, a sublime structure set into the red rocks.
Sedona attracts visitors from around the world who support a fine collection of innovative restaurants, attractions, shops, and exceptional places to stay. Fine art galleries seem to burst from every block. For Native American keepsakes, the Garland name simply means “the best there is” in Arizona.
Another Sedona icon is Pink Jeep Tours, in operation since 1960. Some tours explore Native American ruins, petroglyphs, or the top of the Mogollon Rim, and others take you hiking. For Jeep fun without the tour, try Barlow’s Jeep Rentals. They dispense both high-quality Rubicon Jeep Wranglers and excellent off-pavement advice, plus free airport pickup. Sedona is loaded with world-class mountain biking trails from easy to expert. Centrally located Over the Edge Sports has rentals, service, information about where to go, and easy access to multiple trail systems.
Beautiful accommodations are another highlight of a Sedona trip. Sky Ranch Lodge is right on the airport mesa 500 feet above town, giving it unbeatable views. Ponds, creeks, little bridges, a heated pool, and a hot tub are scattered among the lush gardens; hiking trails are nearby. The Lodge at Sedona is a half-mile north of the runway and less than a two-mile drive from the airport. Forbes ranked it as one of the 10 top Inns of America. Kid-friendly Poco Diablo Resort features outside space for running and play. There’s also a pool, four tennis courts, and an eight-acre, nine-hole, par-3 family oriented golf course. L’Auberge de Sedona offers the luxury of a French country lodge, spectacularly set on the shady banks of Oak Creek. Already highly rated, L’Auberge is now firmly in the bucket-list category after its $25-million rejuvenation.
Sedona is a place of wonder. Gaze in awe at enormous petrified sand dunes, laid down when dinosaurs walked the earth. In the winter, share the magic of holiday lights with your children or grandchildren and see the season through their eyes, or revel in the romance of the season. Its art can inspire you, perhaps even to create your own art. Sedona can be your place to relax and recharge with spa treatments, fine meals, and a luxurious lodge. Land your airplane on Sedona’s unique “aircraft-carrier” runway and start your own adventure.
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