Things to Do in Sedona
Snuggles Among a Geological Wonderland
Nestled against the imposing backdrop of the Red Rocks, Sedona is famous for its New Age spiritual counterculture, breathtaking beauty and vibrant arts scene. Many spiritual seekers believe that Sedona is the center of vortexes that radiate the Earth’s raw energy, giving rise to the city’s almost mythical allure.
Today, Sedona is as popular with outdoor adventure enthusiasts, who throng to its biking and hiking trails, as it is with New Age believers and practitioners of alternative medicine. Art lovers will appreciate Sedona’s art galleries and live events, while families will enjoy the city’s laidback vibe. Read on to discover the best things to do in Sedona and find out how you can make the most of your next getaway to this magical, mysterious city.
Palatki Heritage Site
An archeological site located in the Coconino National Forest, the Palatki Heritage Site has ancient cliff dwellings that date back to 1100 CE. The site is known for its rock art, including pictographs and petroglyphs, some of which are older than the cliff dwellings.
The park is open to visitors all through the week and has two trails that can be used to explore the region. If you’re up for a challenge, head further north to the Honanki ruins, which also has pictographs and even more cliff dwellings.
Red Rock State Park
Famous for its red sandstone canyon that gives the park its name, the Red Rock State Park is dedicated to the preservation of the riparian habitat along Oak Creek. The park is home to rare native fish, several frogs and the endangered Sonora mud turtle. Birders will appreciate the wood duck, common black hawk and other bird species that call this park their home. You can also expect to bump into larger mammalian species, including cougars, coyotes, mule deer and river otters. Stop by the visitor center to view interpretative exhibits. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy mountain biking and horseback riding trails, which are accessible from the park.
Coconino National Forest
A vast, breathtaking forest that sprawls across 1.851 million acres, the Coconino National Forest encompasses diverse landscapes, including deserts, pine forests, alpine tundra, flatlands and volcanic peaks. Not surprisingly, the forest is considered one of the most diverse forests in the country. The best way to explore the forest is via the Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive, which begins at the Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Vista. You can buy Naive American jewelry and other souvenirs from the displays. Your drive through the forest will lead you past crimson peaks and crystal-clear pools. The trail has several overlooks, picnic spots and swimming holes where you can pause to take-in the region's stunning natural beauty. The park also has the Eldon Pueblo Archeological Site, which is open to visitors, and the Mogollon Rim, a steep escarpment that forms one of the best overlooks in Coconino Forest. History buffs can also choose to take the General Crook Trail, which the Indian fighter once took on this way to the Fort Apache stronghold. With so much to do and see, is it any wonder that a day spent at the forest is one of the coolest things to do in Sedona?
Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park
The jewel of Sedona's crimson rock face, the Amitabha Stupa is a Buddhist shrine that attracts spiritual seekers from around the world. The 36 ft. shrine is embedded in a scattering of pinion and juniper trees, and is accessible via a short winding trail. The shrine is one of the oldest forms of sacred architecture in the world, and dates back to the Buddha's lifetime, roughly 2,600 years ago. The site also has the smaller Tara Stupa, and is considered by many to be a place of great calm and tranquility.
Sedona Arts Center
The center's gallery has the largest collection of Sedona artwork by local artists, and is just the place to head to if you're looking to purchase fine art, jewelry, photography and other keepsakes from your Sedona holiday. All purchases here are without sales tax, which automatically guarantees a 10 percent discount. The center represents over 100 local artists and conducts a number of seasonal exhibitions and workshops. A shopping stopover at the arts center is definitely one of the best things to do in Sedona, if you're eager to take home a little bit of the city with you.
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