About two hours south of the Grand Canyon’s southern rim is a charming town called Sedona. Sedona’s popularity has exploded over the last 25 years, especially among New Age hippies, spa-seeking socialites and outdoors enthusiasts. Known for its glowing red rocks, Sedona is a recommended destination if you’re in the Grand Canyon area.
Driving west from Albuquerque, we arrived in Flagstaff and drove south from there. After driving all day through the rocky, arid landscape of New Mexico and Arizona, we were greeted in Flagstaff by a lush, green habitat characterized by endless evergreens. I felt like we were in Washington State, yet we were in the middle of Arizona. The drive south from Flagstaff was incredibly picturesque, as we followed Route 89A through winding mountain passes and along flowing streams. It was a welcome sight after all the desert we had seen throughout the day.
As we got closer and closer to Sedona, we noticed a striking combination of the lush greenery with the famous glowing red rocks.
Sedona has an inviting downtown tourist district. While it can be a bit congested, it’s pretty small, and the views are great, so it’s worth it. In the downtown, you can find a plethora of organic smoothie stands, gastropubs, ATV and climbing equipment rental shops, and transcendental meditation joints. Further down 89A, you will encounter all the traditional comforts of (organic food-loving) home, such as Whole Foods. We stayed at a charming little B&B called Sedona Bear Lodge. The proprietors, Myles and Masumi, were very hospitable and provided solid recommendations for activities in the area. (Plus, they had a hot tub – perfect for relaxing after a long day of driving and sightseeing!)
For the sunset, we drove to a point called the Airport Mesa. It’s right off of 89A, on the way to the Sedona airport. There is a parking lot on the left hand side of the road (going towards the airport), and it’s a short (5-10 minute) hike to the viewpoint. While there is a longer Airport Mesa loop hike, this is a brief detour that will get you to a nice vista for the sunset. We found the Airport Mesa to be a great spot for viewing the sunset, but there are plenty of others…
After taking in the sunset, we made our way our way to one of Sedona’s many dining choices. We chose The Hudson, a newer gastropub in an upscale shopping center. Jolyn had “the best pork chop of her life” and I had the delicious Hudson Mushroom Burger. The food was well prepared and delicious, and the prices were reasonable. We will definitely return to The Hudson when we come back to Sedona.
Unfortunately, we only had the one day to enjoy in Sedona. After rising early to a home-cooked breakfast, we set off – but not before returning to the Airport Mesa to take in the early morning sun.
Next stop – the Grand Canyon!