I’ve always heard amazing things about Sedona, Arizona, but seeing it in person put a whole new perspective on this place.
Sedona decided to really show off in honour of our arrival; we got in just two hours before a major snowstorm hit, and woke up to a magical and snowy winter wonderland. It’s fairly rare for Sedona to be covered in snow – it snowed more than the average annual amount (11 inches) in just one night alone!
The fastest and easiest way to get to Sedona is to fly into Phoenix. From there, it’s about a 1.5 hour drive to get to this beautiful town.
Thing to see and do in Sedona
Bell Rock Trail
This hike starts right out of Village of Oak Creek, and is the first trail we went on when we arrived. We woke up in the morning to a winter wonderland and slowly the fog started lifting and revealing all the red rocks covered in white snow all around us.
The trail is very flat and easy, with views all around. You can do either the full loop, or an in-and-out section, and really just go as far as you like.
The trail is presumably very toddler friendly since it’s flat and well-maintained, but our toddler disagreed and had to be carried most of the way because, well, snow. It was also only about 8 minutes away from our AirBnB!
This trail does require a pass to park (unless you’re just making a quick stop to take some photos at the start of the trail). You can either use a Red Rock pass or a National Park Pass and display it on your dashboard.
Airport Mesa / Sedona Airport Scenic Lookout
Airport Mesa has a few trails that end up at Sedona Airport Scenic Lookout. You can either hike it, or just drive up to the viewpoint if you don’t have much time. Make sure to get here either at sunset or sunrise to see the red rocks really glow.
This spot also has a parking fee, so make sure you have your Red Rock or National Park pass ready!
Red Rock Crossing Trail
I feel like this is a hidden gem! I didn’t see this come up in many blogs or on TripAdvisor, but someone recommended it and so I scoped it out while the girls were napping. I loved it so much I brought them all back here the next morning at 6:30AM for sunrise and it was truly magical.
This is a pretty sweet location for taking shots of smooth running water against the red rocks backdrop, so you’ll want to bring a tripod. I didn’t have one and tried making a makeshift one with a bowl and cutting board I found at the Airbnb…
To access this trail, you’ll want to park at Baldwin Trailhead, and head towards Oak Creek along the Baldwin Trail. Turn left on Red Rock Crossing Trail and you’ll eventually end up at the river. It only takes about 10 minutes to walk here, which is apparently the maximum legal hike length at six in the morning with two kids under three. According to Danny.
Devil’s Bridge Trail
This is a popular hike for a reason!
The trail starts from Devil’s Bridge Parking Lot, and is a 4.2mile hike roundtrip. It took us about ~2.5, and that accounts for all the whine stops and the occasional toddler walking pace. Most of the hike is along the 4×4 road which was closed even for cars when we were there. The 4×4 road is fairly easy and flat, but the real challenge starts when you get closer to the bridge. There’s a bit of a scramble to get up and we had to use our hands to climb up in some spots, but it wasn’t anything we’ve never seen before in terms of difficulty. If you’re used to adventurous hiking this should not be an issue!
The bridge looks a lot more scary in photos and from the side, but it’s actually quite wide and feels very safe when you’re on it.
To access this trail, you’ll need to park at Long Canyon Trailhead, and follow the trail until an unmarked split in the road that will lead you to the cave. These are the exact GPS coordinates for the cave. The trail is only about 30 minutes each way, and very flat. There will be a small scramble to get to the cave, but it only takes about 2 minutes to climb up.
Keep in mind, the cave is extremely big. I had a 35mm lens on me and it was only able to capture as much as the above photo. To get the full breadth of the cave, I stitched together 14 separate photos. So don’t be surprised if you find it doesn’t quite look like the photo once you’re there, but I promise it’s still super cool.
Where to stay
There is no shortage of things to see and do around Sedona, and a lot of awesome hikes start just south of Sedona in Village of Oak Creek. I was a bit hesitant to book there at first since it’s about 20 minutes south of Sedona, but we found a super spacious AirBnB for much cheaper than Sedona proper, and were able to access a lot of great hikes right from there.
This is the Airbnb we stayed in. The hosts were great and it felt super spacious for a family of 4 with small kids.
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