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How to Do a Weekend in Sedona, Arizona

Sedona Red Canyons
Matt Grimaldi/Shutterstock
SmarterTravel

Famous for its red rocks landscape and known as the “Day Hike Capital of the World”, Sedona is a popular destination for couples, groups of friends, and families. While locals have pushed back a little on tourism in recent years, there are still some hidden gems and ways to avoid the weekend crowds in Sedona. If you’re really going for a holistic experience, I recommend adopting this three-day itinerary and visiting mid-week instead of on the weekend.

The Hotel: Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock

hilton-sedona-resort-1
TripAdvisor

The Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock is perfectly situated in the Village of Oak Creek, about eight miles south (about a 15 to 20-minute drive) from the downtown Sedona area. While it’s convenient to stay downtown, I recommend staying a little outside of the area as traffic, parking, and crowds can cause delays over busy weekends, not to mention these are typically more expensive.

Hilton Sedona has beautiful grounds, a convenient and delicious onsite restaurant, a spa and wellness center, as well as a large outdoor pool. Spacious rooms with kitchenettes are available and ideal for group trips like a girls weekend or family getaway. Parking is free and plentiful, and you’re right near the trailheads for Bell Rock and Courthouse as well as the area’s golf courses. You can also purchase the Red Rocks Pass at the hotel, which is required if you’re parking at most trailheads.

Itinerary: How to Do a Weekend in Sedona

Sedona weekend guide

Friday

  • Afternoon: Check-in to the hotel and walk around Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village. This is a large shopping complex with unique stores and galleries selling Southwestern art; the complex also has a few food and drink spots including a brewery.
  • Night: Head into town and have dinner at Saltrock. Located in the Amara Resort & Spa, Saltrock serves Southwestern cuisine and has a spacious outdoor patio with fire pits as well as fun inside bar and lounge area.

Saturday

  • Morning: Pick a day hike from The Hike House. Start your hike earlier in the day to avoid the crowds. Devil’s Bridge is a scenic, intermediate loop with an optional, but daring bridge cross. You can also combine it with the Chuck Wagon Trail for a slightly longer hike.
  • Afternoon: Take a lunch break at The Hudson located at the Hillside Shopping Center and take in the gorgeous red rock views on the outdoor patio.
  • Night: Go on a sunset off-roading drive in a famous Pink Jeep with Pink Adventure Tours. Choose from a variety of routes and pick the 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. departure time (where applicable). Have dinner back at the hotel at ShadowRock. Insider tip: The Prickly Pear Margarita is delicious.

Sunday

  • Morning: Go to Red Rock Cafe for brunch; it’s close to the hotel and is popular with locals.
  •  Afternoon: Drive to one of the famed vortices—the Airport Mesa Vortex is one of the closer spots with easy access.

Other

Restaurants & Cafes

Note that for most seasons reservations for dinner are highly recommending anywhere you go in Sedona.

Day Hikes

The Hike House is an excellent resource for visitors. They have an interactive map and trail finder and the sole purpose is to help you find the perfect day hike for your ability and comfort level. If you can’t make it to the downtown location, check out the website or purchase the book. You can also book a guided hike adventure with them.

  • Airport Loop (Moderate)
  • Boynton Canyon (Moderate)
  • Broken Arrow (Moderate)
  • Cathedral Rock (Difficult)
  • Courthouse/Bell Rock (Moderate)
  • Devil’s Bridge (Moderate)
  • Fay Canyon (Easy)
  • Little Horse Train (Easy to Moderate)
  • Soldiers Pass (Moderate)

Things to Do

Highlights from my Weekend in Sedona:

 

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SmarterTravel Editor Ashley Rossi traveled to Arizona courtesy of Visit Mesa. Follow her adventures (big and small) on Twitter and Instagram.

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