Sedona is a great little three- or four-day weekend getaway for us. Fly into Phoenix first thing in the morning, rent a car, hotfoot it out of town north on I-17, and voila: Red Rocks wonderful by lunchtime.
Sedona is serious hiking country, with over 100 trails to choose from.
We, however, are not super-serious hikers. We're happy to go about 8 miles a day, max, and we're happy if there's not an enormous elevation gain that makes our legs miserable the next day. We would like minimal Advil to be required after. We're maybe more stollers than hikers, come to think of it.
While there are literally 97+ other options, here are 3 hike/strolls I will do over happily, anytime, for the rest of my hiking/strolling days.
And a bonus: the best place to watch the Sedona sunset.
If you pop into Sedona for the weekend, do a little shopping and dining, and these three hikes plus the sunset, you'll be a Red Rocks convert, guaranteed.
Okay, yes, there is elevation gain here. But it's only .6 miles from the parking lot to the summit, and the trail runs on pretty easy switchbacks up the side of the mesa. This is HUGE bang for your hiking buck, my friends.
Where else can you hike so little, to terrorize your wife so greatly?
Favorite Doe Mountain story: After sunset, we headed down to the Golden Goose Grill for dinner where we snagged a two-top in the bar. A guy at the bar was talking about how freaked out he got at Doe Mountain when some idiot man was sitting, hanging his feet over the edge. I tapped him on the shoulder and offered him the photographic evidence.
Devil's Bridge is 4 miles round-trip. The first half is pretty flat; in fact, you're walking along a jeep road for about a mile before you get to the trail head (no, you really can't take your rental down this road unless it's a 4X4). Then there's a climb up to the bridge, but it's very reasonable for another great payoff.
Once again, Andy terrified me with the foot-hanging-off business.
I swore I would not go out on the bridge, but after sitting for a while and watching many people, including children, traipse back and forth across the bridge, I decided to brave the journey myself.
Here's what I learned: if you keep your eyes trained to the left as you walk out, keeping the canyon wall in your peripheral vision, there's no vertigo. Just don't look down or out to the right and it's all good.
Broken Arrow offers multiple spectacular 360-degree red rocks views along its 4.5 mile length.
End of the trail: majestic Chicken Point.
Sunset is the other really big deal in Sedona. "Where's the perfect spot?" this is the question. We like the Airport Loop trail. You head up the mesa toward the airport, and about halfway up on the left is the Airport Loop parking lot. Sunset was 6:45 on our last trip, and we arrived about 6:00, snaring one of the last parking spots.
Sedona Sunset Pro-Tip: Turn your back to the sun and watch the colors deepen on the rocks. That's the real show! Then when the sun goes down, turn around and look at the colors in the sky.
A Word to the Wise: Travel Tips
I grew my bangs out and I knew they would bug me while hiking, so I bought a six-pack of headwraps from Amazon. Problem solved, and I got complimented in the airport and on the trail.
Also, we traveled in March, for gloriously perfect hiking weather. Light layers were all we needed for the trail. I was wearing a tank top underneath a hoody, and just switching back and forth as needed.