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Perfect Weekend in Sedona

Updated: Dec 2, 2023

Sedona, Arizona, is known for its stunning red rock formations, spiritual energy, and outdoor recreational opportunities. Here's a suggested itinerary for a weekend in Sedona.


I've visited Sedona twice, and it's a special place. The first time, I spent just a day in Sedona. This time we got to spend three days! The views from everywhere are incredible, the hikes are amazing, and it's a small town making it easy to get around and enjoy your time there. I'm excited to share how to spend a perfect weekend in Sedona with you.


I visited Sedona a few years ago as part of a longer Arizona road trip and knew I wanted to return. I'm so glad we saw Sedona for a long weekend this year!


Jump to...

Day 1: Explore the Red Rocks

Day 2: Relaxation, History, and Arts



Getting to your Weekend in Sedona


I recommend flying into Phoenix and driving from there. The drive from Phoenix to Sedona is just over 2 hours without stops, depending on traffic.


You can get to Sedona just 45 minutes from Flagstaff or 2 hours from Phoenix. The drive from Flagstaff was incredibly scenic, and you wind through the pine trees in the mountains, watching the landscape slowly change from forest into red rocks. It’s incredible!


Getting to Sedona from Phoenix is a straight drive along I-17 to AZ-179. This road becomes the Red Rock Scenic Byway as it snakes north into Sedona and onto the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.


Traffic in Sedona can be brutal, especially on the weekends during peak times of year. I'd recommend getting there early if you have just a weekend here. It's worse in Uptown, so we chose to avoid that on the first day of this itinerary to help you!




Sedona has so many great places to stay that offer a view. We stayed at the Poco Diablo Resort, which has beautiful gardens and a stunning restaurant with red rock views. Below are a few other options with a view. For all options, see my post on places to stay in Sedona with a view.



Enchantment is surrounded on all sides by acres of pristine wilderness, allowing you to connect to nature. This resort provides luxurious accommodations with breathtaking views. The resort offers a tranquil setting surrounded by red rocks and has excellent amenities.



Located in the Sedona Plateau and offering stunning views of the Arizona desert, this property in Sedona offers spacious accommodations with all the comforts of home and relaxing facilities. This hotel has condo-style accommodations and provides comfortable lodging with balconies or patios.



Featuring Red Rock views, The Aiden by Best Western at Sedona is a 10 minute drive from downtown Sedona. It has convenient access to hiking, mountain biking, and more. After a busy day, guests can relax with a swim in the hotel's outdoor pool.



Recommended Stops along the Drive


If you're coming to Sedona from Phoenix, I'd recommend making a stop about halfway through the drive at Montezuma's Castle. Montezuma's Castle is not a castle; it has no historical connection to the Aztec emperor Montezuma. The name was given by early European Americans who mistakenly believed the site was associated with the Aztecs.


Built by the Sinagua people around 1100 AD, the structure is a five-story, 20-room cliff dwelling nestled into a limestone cliff about 100 feet above the ground. They likely abandoned it in the early 1400s, but the reason is unknown.


Today, Montezuma's Castle is managed by the National Park Service and is a designated National Monument. Visitors can take a short, self-guided trail to view the cliff dwelling from below. There is also a Visitor Center with exhibits about the Sinagua culture and the history of the site.


Just outside Montezuma's Castle is a fry bread stand called Yavapai Apache Fry Bread & Jewelry. It's definitely worth a stop for a snack there after visiting!



Evening 1: Dinner and Drinks at Hudson


Start your weekend in Sedona with a great view of the Red Rocks with drinks and dinner. Sedona has fantastic restaurants, and we were pleased with all the places we ate at on our latest weekend trip. On your first night, (go early) head to Hudson.


Hudson is a neighborhood restaurant serving New American fare & cocktails in chic, contemporary surroundings. Put your name in, and then enjoy happy hour at the bar. Their toasts are huge and will keep your appetite at bay until a table outside is ready.


If you time it right, you'll be on the terrace with your drink and dinner during sunset, which is just stunning. The wait took about 1 1/2 hours, so it was good we got there early. Many people missed the sunlight outside with the view. It's still a great spot, even from the inside, so either way, I'd recommend dinner here on your first night!


Day 1: Explore the Red Rocks


Sedona's surrounding landscape is what makes it such a popular place to visit. On your first day in Sedona, take advantage of that by exploring the outdoors and all it has to offer.


Morning Hike


Choose a spot to go hiking or maybe even two if you're up for it! A few of the hikes below are relatively short, and I also share some ways to extend the hikes. I recommend trying a few to get the most of the views.


One note about hiking in Sedona is that some of the trails require a Red Rock pass to hike. It's $5, and many hotels, gas stations, and stores throughout Sedona sell the passes in addition to the Visitor's Center. It is part of the National Park system, so your National Park pass can also cover it if you have one! You must put the pass on your vehicle or risk a fine.


All the trails listed below have parking lots that fill up quickly. It's advised you get to them early or take the Sedona Shuttle from the larger parking lots instead of trying to park in the trailhead parking lots.



Option 1: Devil’s Bridge, 3 hours, 4.2 miles free


Devil’s Bridge is a popular hike in Sedona, and for good reason! It’s a free hike, and you can park in the limited parking lot or along the road.


This was an awesome hike because it brought you to a cool natural bridge at the top of a mountain. The trail is an in-and-out trail and requires climbing a lot of staircases and rocks toward the end. There were some scarier spots along the hike because of the number of people hiking it and the steep steps. The Bridge itself is wide, and you can’t walk across anymore because the other side is broken, so you can walk out onto the Bridge and back.


You should plan on bringing plenty of water with you and expect to see lots of people. It gets pretty hot, and there is little cover from the trees, especially at the beginning of the trail. I ended up getting a sunburn because I was not prepared for this!



Option 2: Bell Rock, 45 minutes, 1.8 miles


Bell Rock is located in the Village of Oak Creek, just south of Sedona. It is easily visible from Highway 179, making it a well-known landmark in the area. It's another popular hiking trail that leads to the base of Bell Rock. The trail is relatively easy and suitable for hikers of various skill levels.


The entire loop trail is approximately 3.6 miles, and it offers stunning views of the surrounding red rock landscape. Bell Rock is often combined with the Courthouse Butte Loop for a longer hike. This loop provides additional panoramic views of the red rocks.



Option 3: Cathedral Rock, 1.25 hours, 1.2 miles


Cathedral Rock Trail is challenging but rewarding, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding red rocks and Sedona. The trail is approximately 1.2 miles each way, with an elevation gain of around 608 feet.


At parts of this hike, it's more of a scramble than a hike. Wear sturdy hiking shoes, bring plenty of water, and be prepared for some steep sections. You'll also be potentially going down by scooting on your butt, so don't wear your cutest outfit for this one.


Cathedral Rock is often considered a vortex site, a place believed to have enhanced spiritual energy. Even if you're not into the metaphysical aspects, the beauty of the location is undeniable.


The view at the top of this hike is so stunning and worth the climb! You must park in the shuttle area after 7 am to hike here. You can catch the Sedona Shuttle from the SR 179 Park and Ride Lot to Cathedral Rock and Little Horse Trailheads. From there, you can access Cathedral Rock and Little Horse Trailheads.



Eat Local for Lunch


Sedona has a ton of amazing Mexican food, and if you’ve only got a day there, this is some food you should try! We went to Tamaliza, which was authentic Mexican food, family-owned and operated. There are also many fresh, organic, and healthy places to eat throughout Sedona.


Afternoon


After a nice, filling lunch, decide which activity is right for you! One is more relaxing and calming but still offers great views. The other is far more adventurous.



Option 1: Chapel of the Holy Cross


Visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross for its unique architecture and panoramic views. The Chapel of the Holy Cross is a distinctive and iconic architectural landmark in Sedona, Arizona.


Marguerite Brunswig Staude, a student of the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, designed the Chapel. The design is a striking example of modernist architecture. It was completed in 1956 and rises 200 feet above the ground. The design harmonizes with the natural surroundings and complements the beauty of the red rock formations.


The Chapel is open to the public, and visitors can explore the interior and exterior. Inside, you'll find a simple yet elegant space with large windows offering breathtaking views of the red rocks.


The Chapel of the Holy Cross location provides some of the most stunning views in Sedona. Many visitors come not only for the spiritual experience but also to enjoy the scenic beauty of the red rock formations from the Chapel's vantage point.



Option 2: Jeep Tour


Jeep tours are one of the most popular things to do in Sedona and provide a lot of adventure on your trip! Several different companies offer Jeep Tours and depending on the time you have and how much adventure you want to do, you've got plenty to choose from!


By riding around in a 4WD, you can explore the untamed desert to places a standard vehicle can’t reach. Not only do you get closer to the rock formations, cliffs, and overlooks, but you also get the thrill of the ride!


These tours are not for the fainthearted. The custom-built, open-air Jeep Wranglers can go up and down rocky terrains that are impossible.


One of the most iconic tours is the Pink Jeep Tour that has been running since the 1960s. They run multiple Pink adventure tours throughout Red Rock Country. You can also combine it with a Scenic Rim Combo Tour, which takes you to where some of Hollywood’s most beloved westerns were filmed.


The Broken Arrow tour is exclusive to Pink Jeep Tours. It is the most popular tour and extreme off-roading. Be sure to book this one well in advance!



Dinner in Uptown at The Vault


Located in Uptown, the Vault is a chill restaurant with sandstone rock views crafting steaks, seafood & burgers, plus cocktails. The trash can nachos here are HUGE and delicious.


Plan on getting a reservation if you want to sit outside here. We didn't make reservations and did get a seat at the bar, but nothing was available outside for over 2 hours. The view from the bar is still beautiful, and the food here is great.


Day 2: Relaxation, Culture, and the Arts



Morning Relaxing at a Spa


After being up early, hiking in red sand, and lots of adventure, it's time to spend your last day in Sedona relaxing. Sedona is known for its luxurious spas, offering wellness and relaxation services. Here are some well-regarded spas in Sedona:

  1. Mii Amo at Enchantment Resort: Mii Amo is a destination spa located at Enchantment Resort that offers a variety of spa treatments, wellness programs, and luxurious accommodations.

  2. L'Apothecary Spa at L'Auberge de Sedona: This spa focuses on creating personalized treatments using local botanicals. The setting along Oak Creek adds to the serene atmosphere.

  3. Amara Resort and Spa: Amara Spa is known for its relaxing treatments and beautiful outdoor setting with views of Sedona's red rocks.

  4. Sedona Rouge Hotel and Spa: The spa at Sedona Rouge offers a range of treatments, including massages, facials, and body wraps. The Moroccan-inspired decor adds to the unique experience.

  5. Aumara Spa at Sedona Summit Resort: Aumara Spa provides a tranquil environment for relaxation and rejuvenation. The spa menu includes massages, facials, and body treatments.

  6. New Day Spa: New Day Spa is a locally owned and operated spa offering a variety of massage therapies, facials, and body treatments.

  7. Sedona's New Day Spa: This spa offers a range of services, including massages, facials, and spa packages. The focus is on providing a peaceful and nurturing environment.

  8. Sedona Spa at Poco Diablo Resort: The Sedona Spa at Poco Diablo Resort offers a selection of spa treatments in a tranquil setting surrounded by gardens and golf course views.

Before planning your spa visit, it's a good idea to check the latest reviews, inquire about current services and offerings, and make reservations in advance, especially if you have specific treatments in mind. Additionally, spa offerings may have changed since my last update, so it's recommended to visit the official websites of the spas for the most up-to-date information.


Lunch in Uptown


Uptown Sedona offers a variety of dining options, from casual eateries to upscale restaurants. Enjoy Southwestern cuisine, international flavors, or classic American fare. Some restaurants have outdoor seating with views of the surrounding red rocks.


Sedona Heritage Museum


Visit the Sedona Heritage Museum to learn about the history of the area, or explore the Sedona Arts Center, which includes galleries, a theater, and art classes.


The museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the history and heritage of the Sedona area. The Sedona Heritage Museum focuses on ‘modern’ history from 1876 to the present.



Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village


ExOriginally conceived as an artist community, Tlaquepaque is a perfect setting to witness Sedona arts in their work. With over 50 specialty shops and exclusive art galleries, shopping becomes a joyful revelation of fabulous art treasures and distinctive gifts around every corner. The whole area has been fashioned as a traditional Mexican village, and it’s been around since the 1970s.


Many items are expensive (original art usually is!), and the buildings are so fun to walk around. Fountains, restaurants, and tons of beautiful Western artist's pieces are on display. I would love to be able to come back here someday and afford the art!


My favorite spot is the used bookstore. I got to talking with the person running the shop while we were there, and she told me the history of the area and how Sedona's art scene really blew up after the highway was built. Sedona is right along I-17, which leads people straight from Phoenix (and vice versa) to Route 66, making it an easy stop for travelers.



Dinner at Mariposa Latin Grill and Stargazing

Have dinner at a restaurant with outdoor seating and views. This is an upscale restaurant & bar with South American-inspired cuisine, a patio & panoramic views. You must have a reservation here; they will not even accept walk-ins. It's a beautiful restaurant with great food, but be prepared!


Afterward, consider stargazing, as Sedona has low light pollution, making it an excellent spot for observing the night sky. Have a drink at your resort, gaze at the stars, and spend your last evening relaxing before heading home!


Other Options:


Looking for something a little different? Consider some of the activities below!

  • Hot Air Balloon Ride: Consider taking a hot air balloon ride for a unique perspective of the red rocks.

  • Sedona Vortex Experience: Experience the spiritual side of Sedona with a vortex tour. There are various guided tours available that explain the energy centers in the area.

  • Slide Rock State Park: If visiting during hot weather, go to Slide Rock State Park, a natural water slide in Oak Creek Canyon.

  • Photography Workshops: Join a photography workshop to learn how to capture the stunning beauty of Sedona.

  • Meditation and Yoga: Some visitors choose to practice meditation or yoga in Sedona, drawn by the supposed spiritual energy of the vortexes.

  • South Rim Grand Canyon Day Trip: Sedona is just 2 hours from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and if you're that close, it's well worth taking a day of your trip to go there. The drive from Sedona to the Grand Canyon is also stunning. You can also book a tour to the Grand Canyon.




Your weekend in Sedona is bound to be an amazing time! You'll love coming here and exploring the best Sedona has to offer.

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