[Video] I Love Sedona Because . . .

What do you love about Sedona? The landscapes? The quiet? The hiking? The people?

In honor of Sedona Spirit Day on September 29, 2012, the Sedona Meditation Center asked locals around town what they liked best about their beloved city. Here’s what they had to say:

The Nature . . . All of the things to do . . . The energy

The friendly people . . . The community support . . . The beauty . . . The magic

Karen’s Poem of Sedona

[Written by Karen Berg-Raftakis]

Karen Berg-Raftakis

Karen Berg-Raftakis

Years ago a psychic told me she saw that I had been to Sedona many times. I told her I hadn’t, and she emphatically told me that I was there in my dreams. I did not know what to make of that and really had no desire to visit Sedona at the time. About ten years later, in March 2012, I decided to go there with a girlfriend. Leading up to my visit, I experienced an inner calm and peace I had never experienced before in my life. My friend was very scared our trip was going to be ruined as it had been snowing heavily there. I told her not to worry, everything would work out, and it did. The weather was perfect, and we had scheduled a vortex tour. As soon as I met our guide, I felt very serene and happy. When we reached our first vortex, I began to cry and cry, and I couldn’t explain why, I was just overwhelmed with gratitude. I had never seen such beauty and majesty in my life. My third eye opened up and I was feeling and sensing things like crazy. Immediately after the tour I felt guided to write a poem about Sedona and here it is ….


I’ve heard rumors of you for years
It seemed as if everyone was
singing your praises
Your natural beauty, power,
My teachers,
they all have lived with you
and I
have always wanted to meet
and appreciate
your red rock canyons
and penetrate
the mysteries within you
It was through
the back seat car window
I first was introduced to you
and I knew
that the image of you
would never fade away
When I was young
I did not have the opportunity to
commune with nature
So once I was older
whenever I could
I visited your sister
the water
I immersed myself in her
breathed in the intoxicating
salt-water air
Cool ocean breeze skipping lightly on my skin
I didn’t know
the desert
could possibly compare
have you been all my life Sedona?
Broke down crying uncontrollably
as if you were a soul mate
with whom I parted company
but who then decided finally
to come back to me
Or maybe . . .
I left you once a long long time ago
and now centuries have passed
and I’ve come back home
Once I wondered
why so many came
and overstayed their visit
but now I ask
how could they not?
Clothed in red-orange
arrayed in peach colored hues
and dark green foliage
your early morning March wind
breathes through my hair lovingly
Fingering my seven chakra quartz crystal necklace
having heard all which are tangled in your vortexes
are supposed to be
but I did not plan on being
so stupefied
and Gratitude
These are the good-bye gifts you have bestowed upon me
I will be back Sedona
you will see
So, as I will never forget you
please don’t forget me . . .

I did return to Sedona and sooner than I expected! I just spent 4 days there in July 2012.
Karen Berg-Raftakis is from Brookfield, Illinois and has been writing poetry since she was a teenager. She is active in the spiritual community and shares each week on ACIM Gather Radio on Wednesday nights at 9:00 pm and Thursday evenings at 8:30 pm Central Time. She is looking forward to the day when she can retire in Sedona.

[Video] Interview with the Author

In this one-on-one interview, The Call of Sedona author, Ilchi Lee, explains how perceiving the energy of and receiving messages from Sedona enables you to discover who you really are.

Guide to Sedona Ecotourism

The incredible beauty of Sedona is a magnet for tourism, and it’s not just because of the iron oxide in the red rocks.  Every year, millions of visitors are awed by Sedona’s breathtaking views, the rich diversity of Oak Creek, its abundance of outdoor activities, its history and cultural heritage, its geology, its famed vortexes and the special energies here, its artistic community, advanced healing modalities, spas, and, above all, the land. In fact, there is nowhere else in the world quite like Sedona.

But there is a catch.  Sedona’s exquisite beauty is also housed within such a delicate and fragile environment that, with so much usage, it could easily become irreversibly damaged without constant efforts to promote preservation and sustainable growth – for the sake of all who live and visit here, for future generations, and for the sake of the earth.

With great diligence, Sedona has addressed this issue through the development of many programs and organizations – with a special focus on sustainable, or “eco” tourism.  Since you’re probably curious about what you, as a visitor, can do to help preserve Sedona’s pristine environment, let’s explore that through a sampling of activities that are eco-friendly, along with some tips as to how you can help us keep it that way.


Bird Watching

The Coconino National Forest has over 200 miles of trails within red rock, pine forest, and alpine tundra landscapes. Go fishing at forest lakes, ride horseback, and hike and bike to your heart’s content. This whole valley is a paradise for birding enthusiasts – there is even a special festival in the spring.

Eco-tips: It’s crucial to avoid “bushwhacking” your way through brush and foliage and to stay on all established trails. This helps to protect the fragile ecosystem, including the extremely delicate, black patches of biological soil crust that help maintain it. Just one footstep or tire track can destroy decades of “cryptobiotic” growth; in fact, without these organisms, sand dunes would dominate the Sedona landscape – no kidding!

If you’re taking food along, remember to always “pack it out” and leave no litter – even crumbs!  Though souvenirs may be tempting, “Leave No Trace” also means leaving plants, rocks, pottery shards, etc. where you found them. Take photos!

Water Activities

Besides Coconino Forest lakes and streams, the Verde River, Slide Rock, and Oak Creek are the area’s water playgrounds for great fun, with lots of opportunity for other outdoor activities.

Verde River, the state’s only wild river, offers fishing (trout and other species), boating, including whitewater rafting and canoeing along some stretches, as well as hiking, biking, etc.  There is also the 480-acre Verde River Greenway State Natural Area for fishing and canoeing.

Oak Creek and Slide Rock ParkOak Creek is a great place for fishing and water play, but just a few miles north of Sedona you can wade along the creek and have a blast sliding down Slide Rock’s natural rock water chute. Kids love it!

Eco-tips: If you would like to know how to help Sedona and the Verde Valley preserve their precious water supply, here are some suggestions: take shorter showers, reuse towels and linens rather than having them laundered every day, refrain from pouring chemicals or medicines down the drain, and make sure your lodging has low flow water fixtures and energy efficient fixtures.

In addition, we suggest turning off lights and air conditioning when you’re not using them, using the recycling bins around town, and going to farmers’ markets – in short, as an environmentally minded person, just doing what you do at home!

 Environmental Education/Geology/Archaeology/Culture/History

Sure, there are hiking and biking trails and great opportunities for bird watching, but Red Rock State Park is also an important environmental education facility dedicated to preserving the area’s riparian ecosystem.  Movies, exhibits, a junior ranger program, guided nature, geology, and birding hikes, plus lectures on local geology, archaeology, and Native American culture and history make this an ideal place for understanding the area’s ecology.

V-Bar-V Heritage Site

Verde Valley Archaeology Center is “the” place for learning about regional archaeology through educational exhibits and events. The center works in partnership with other organizations as well as Native Americans and is focused on archaeological sites preservation and the care, use, and management of artifacts.

There are some fascinating Native American sites to explore, such as the Sinagua Indians’ cliff dwellings and rock art at Honanki, Palatki, Montezuma Castle, Walnut Canyon, the pueblos at Tuzigoot, and the Verde Valley’s largest petroglyph site, the V-Bar-V Heritage Site.

Eco-tips:  Archaeological sites provide valuable keys to understanding our past, but are very fragile and require diligent care. After all, they are actually remnants of our past and quite irreplaceable! Here are some tips to follow:

  • Do not climb, sit, or stand on walls – extra weight will hasten deterioration.
  • Do not pick up or move any rocks on the site.
  • Cultural deposits, including the soil, are important for scientific tests used in reconstructing past environments, such as the kind of plants utilized by the inhabitants of long ago. Adding anything (such as offerings, etc.) to a site destroys the dating potential.
  • Absolutely no fires, candles, smudging or smoking allowed.
  • Camping is discouraged at all sites, and forbidden at Honanki or Palatki.
  • No graffiti, scratching, carving, etc. is allowed. The oil from your hands can cause deterioration and even hinder the potential for dating the artifact. Therefore, do not touch the rock art in any way!
  • No bicycles or vehicles allowed past the parking lot.
  • Stay on any trails provided.
  • No pets allowed.
  • Digging, removing artifacts, damage and defacement of archaeological resources on public lands, may result in  felony and/or misdemeanor prosecution with imprisonment up to ten years and fines up to $100,000.
  • Report any vandalism on a 24-hour line at 928-526-0600.

 We know that you will love Sedona as much as we do and we very much appreciate your interest in keeping Sedona and its surrounding environs as beautiful as possible.  Every little bit counts, and with your efforts, we will all be enjoying the magnificence of Sedona and its pristine beauty for years to come!


[Trail of November] Sugarloaf Loop and Summit

If you haven’t much time but are anxious to hike a trail for an outdoor fix, there is a quick, easy, “urban” hike (which means you’ll be aware of the city) that is ideal for either solitary meandering or a family outing. For this, plus wonderful red rock views, Sugarloaf is a great choice.

Thunder Mountain in Sedona AZ

Thunder Mountain (Capital Butte)

Since it’s popular locally, there is generally someone always on the trail but, thankfully, it is not at all crowded.  You’ll find neighborhood locals walking their dogs here, so if Fido needs a break, make sure he’s leashed and take one of the “doggie” bags at the entrance for “pickup.”

Sugarloaf also connects with other easy to moderate trails if you’re inspired to extend your hiking time.  Here’s one reason: a 14-acre park with Buddhist stupas – structures rarely seen in the Western world.  Have we piqued your interest? First, though, let’s get to Sugarloaf.

How To Get to Sugarloaf Trailhead

From the “Y” at the juncture of 89A and Hwy. 179 in uptown Sedona, follow the roundabout to head west on 89A to West Sedona and drive about 2 miles to Coffee Pot Drive. Make a right here and go 0.5 miles, then turn left on Sanborn Drive. Continue for about 0.1 miles to Little Elf Drive and turn right.  Go about 0.2 miles and veer right on Buena Vista Drive, where you’ll see the hiking trailhead sign on your left. Turn into the parking lot here.

  • Tip: You will need a Red Rock pass.

 To Sugarloaf Summit:

Take note of the area map at the trailhead for an orientation to the area’s trails.  You may want to take advantage of them.  The trailhead actually starts at Teacup Trail.  It goes over a few slightly rocky patches, but it’s quite easily negotiated terrain. You’ll notice the characteristically Sedona trail markers along the way – the wire barrel cairns filled with red rocks – that will help keep you on course. Generally, though, stay to the right on the trail close to Sugarloaf Hill. The summit is on your right about 250 feet up. But before we get there…

Chimney Rock Sunset in Sedona AZ

Chimney Rock, View from Sugarloaf

Option 1: Thunder Mountain Trail, Chimney Rock Vista

About 0.3 miles in and almost to the Summit trail, you’ll see a signpost for Thunder Mountain that points to your left. It’s an easy, level trail, but be warned – there is no shade at all here! From the signpost, it’s about 1.7 miles to the actual Thunder Mountain trailhead.


Local Lore:

Thunder Mountain” is favored locally over “Capitol Butte” or “Grayback Mountain” and comes from two possible sources: the title of Zane Grey’s novel, made into a movie in Sedona in 1947; or the local opinion that Native Americans called it Thunder Mountain because it seemed to attract a lot of lightning and thunder. Hmmm…

 Option 2: Peace Park

If you opt to take Thunder Mountain trail, look for the sign that says “stupa.”  Take this and you’ll be on a short detour to Amitabha Stupa, Tara Stupa, and a large wooden statue of Buddha on Peace Park’s fourteen pristine acres. According to Buddhist tradition, meditation and prayer are greatly enhanced and expanded at a stupa, which is considered to be the living presence of the Buddha and, as such, represents the Mind of Enlightenment. Imagine this within Sedona’s vortex energy – an amazing combination!

  • Tip: A great place for meditating, no matter what your spiritual/religious preferences.

 If you want to hike to the Thunder Mountain trailhead, there are several loops you can take on your way back to Sugarloaf.

  • One is 1.4 miles that starts at the trailhead and uses the trail’s southern portion with Lower Chimney Rock trail. From the loop, a short but steep climb up Summit Trail to Chimney Rock Vista will reward you with a great panoramic view.
  • A moderate 2.6-mile loop can be made using the Chimney Rock Pass Trail and more of the Thunder Mountain Trail.
  • A moderate “figure 8” of three miles can be hiked using the same trails.

 Now wend your way back north, pass Chimney Rock, and the trail will go east past Thunder Mountain until, 1.7 miles later, you’ll intersect Teacup Trail again.

Okay, back to Sugarloaf Summit.

At the Thunder Mountain sign, go straight on the trail for a short distance and you’ll see a cairn with a wooden post. Turn right here to climb 250 feet up to fabulous 360-degree views of Morning Glory Spire, Thunder Mountain, Coffee Pot Rock, and Chimney Rock. In the distance, you’ll see Munds Mountain, Wilson Mountain and, to the far west, Mingus Mountain.

 Now go back down and turn left to go back to the trailhead or turn right to complete Sugarloaf loop (see below). The total time from the Sugarloaf trailhead to the summit and back (plus whatever time you spend at the summit) is about one-half hour (1.2 miles).


  • Sugarloaf Summit is a great place for meditation, especially in the morning or at sunset. The summit is seldom crowded – in fact, there is hardly anyone there most of the time.
  • If you go around sunset, have a flashlight handy. (Yes, people have forgotten this.)

 Sugarloaf Loop:

Coffeepot Rock in Sedona AZ

Coffee Pot Rock, View from Sugarloaf

At the bottom of Sugarloaf summit, turn right and continue on. Keep your sights on Coffee Pot Rock and, as you make one of the turns on the trail, you’ll see, several rocks to the left of Coffee Pot and a little ways in the distance, the formation known as “Teacup” that looks more like a teapot.

 Options: The Cliff, Soldiers Pass

Keep going and you’ll come to a fork in the road.  A great view envelops you. This juncture is a cliff area. Go ahead and walk down it a little (don’t worry, there’s plenty of room here and you won’t fall off) and you’ll find flat rocks that are perfect for sitting and enjoying the great red rock view spread out before you. From this vantage point, you will be able to see the large sinkhole at Soldiers Pass, called Devil’s Kitchen, to your left a bit (about “11:00”) and in the distance.

  •  Tip:  The cliff area is a great spot for meditating and you’ll seldom hear anything but the occasional passerby on the trail above you.

 The trail to the left will take you on a trail through the bottom of the huge rock formations and on your way to Soldiers Pass. The trail to your right finishes Sugarloaf Loop.

 Sugarloaf Loop FAQs:

  • Open year round. Since there is not much shade, October to May is ideal.
  • Rating: Easy
  • Facilities: None
  • Dogs must be on leash. Be sure to use the doggie bags.
  • Elevation gain: 350 feet.
  • Activity usage per U.S. Forest Service: hiking, horseback riding, and biking.
  • Length: about 2.2 miles round trip.

 Special Tips

  • A great hike in the early morning and especially peaceful and beautiful at sunset.
  • Take enough water for a liter per person per hour.
  • Bring your camera.
  • The parking lot is small, so if it’s full, park on Little Elf and walk in.
  • Stay clear of the sharp points of agave plants and do not touch cacti – those fluffy looking green outshoots will quickly attach to your skin. If so, remove very carefully.


Sedona Message from The Call of Sedona Book

Every human heart holds a question. Sedona helps unlock the answer for you through the message sung by its beautiful red rocks, flowing waters, amazing canyons, and unique formations. What is that message? Only you can determine this by listening for yourself with an open heart.

This video clip combines beautiful Sedona landscape images with the “Sedona Message” poem in The Call of Sedona: Journey of the Heart by Ilchi Lee. It holds the message Ilchi Lee heard in his ramblings and meditations throughout Sedona. Local voice talent Shondra Jepperson and videographer Neal Margolin contributed to making this video.

[Time-Lapse Video] Sedona Night Sky

Sedona is known for majestic red rock beauty, though when the sun goes down, another natural marvel takes center stage: Sedona’s starry nights.

A truly dark and starry sky has become increasingly rare worldwide, as the artificial lights drown out the limpid night sky. Fortunately, Sedona keeps its sky free of much light pollution. Combined with a haze-free, low-humidity, and high elevation atmosphere, Sedona and the Verde Valley is a paradise for stargazers.

This time-lapse video presents the nighttime sky from the Sedona Mago Retreat Center. The Dahngun Shrine and Mission Place, where the time-lapses were taken, are significant places that mark the history of the retreat center. We appreciate EJ Lim, Neal Margolin, and Edwin Kim for their contribution of this breathtaking video.

Sedona’s Plants and Their Native American Usage

The Native Americans’ everyday interaction with the earth very likely served not only as a foundation for their harmonious relationship with the land but also the spiritual reverence that pervaded their everyday life.

On a practical level, the Native Americans’ profound understanding of the land was demonstrated by their knowledge of the medicinal, nutritional, and material usage of plants.

Here is a sampling of easily recognizable plants that were prized by this area’s indigenous peoples.

Agave or Century Plant

Agave was an important plant to Southwest Indians and virtually every part was used.

Century Plant

Century Plant

  • Food: Agave was a sweet, nutritious treat after being baked in a deep pit – one of which you can view at the Palatki ruins. The leaves were eaten like artichokes and boiled to make a syrup (sound familiar?), the stalks were baked and pounded into cakes, the young flower stalks were made into a heady drink, the boiled flowers were eaten fresh or dried, and the seeds were pounded into flour.
  • Fiber:  Agave leaf fibers provided rope, thread, nets, etc., and the sharp spine at leaf’s end attached to the long fibers was perfect for
    sewing. Dried, baked leaves and their fluffy internal fibers were used as hairbrushes for both themselves and their horses.
  • Miscellaneous: After the fire, agave juices formed a hard layer called mescal. These hard layers could be pounded and formed into armor for Yavapai warriors. It also provided a brownish paint for cosmetics, face paint, and other ornamental uses.
  • Medicinal:  Roasted and pressed agave leaves provided a bitter juice that helped cure scurvy; infections were treated with wet leaf compresses; wounds were treated with juice of the plant’s root; and bleeding, even after childbirth, was helped by a cloth soaked in mescal wine.

Yucca (including Banana Yucca)

  • Food:  The fleshy fruits were a delicacy and eaten every which way possible: raw, boiled, baked, dried, and even ground.  Their skin and seeds and pulp were crushed and the paste sundried and made into cakes for later use.  The blossoms, seeds, and baked flower stalks were all consumed.


  • Fiber: The yucca was a superb source for strong fibers and perfect for baskets, mats, sandals, etc.
  • Medicinal:  Yucca fibers were used for rheumatism and colds by having the person chew on the fibers while in a sweat lodge and expelling toxins through vomiting. Boiling the root concentrated the steroidal saponins for a tea that reduced inflammations, such as arthritis and joint pain, and useful for blood purification and kidney and liver cleansing.
  • Spiritual: Yucca was important because its roots, when soaked and pounded in water, produced rich, soapy suds that were used for ritual cleansing in ceremonies, including: washing a mother and her newborn child; for the bath and shampoo in a girl’s puberty rites; and for purification by Yavapai warriors after returning from battle. Baked yucca fruit pulp was dried on yucca leaves and decorated with sunflower blossoms by the Apache. This was symbolic of the sun’s importance to plants and was intended as a prayer to the sun for its continued blessings upon the land.

Mormon Tea (Ephedra viridis)

This medium sized, stiff shrub with slender, jointed needles looks like a stunted pine and is easily found in Sedona.

  • Mormon Tea

    Mormon Tea

    Food: Its green or dried stems make a pleasant tea. For long trips, the raw stems induced salivation to help relieve thirst.  The plant’s seeds were roasted and ground into flour or mush for a bitter bread.

  • Medicinal:  One of its most important uses was a cure for syphilis.  It was also a remedy for kidney pain and fever, canker sores, ulcers, cold symptoms, and stomach disorders. Its dried root powder was sometimes used to relieve sores and made into a paste for burns. Some Indians boiled the entire plant into a tea to stop bleeding.

One-Seed Juniper

Almost everywhere you look in Sedona, you’ll see a one-seed juniper.  There are other varieties, but you’ll recognize this one by its small, bluish-green berry with a thin, whitish coating.

  • One Seed Juniper Tree

    One Seed Juniper Tree

    Food:  Its bitter berries (watch out for the internal hard seed) were a food source. Juniper leaf ashes, an excellent source of calcium, iron, and magnesium, were added to many of the Navajos’ foods, including tea.           

  • Medicinal:  A tea or infusion from the leaves was used for constipation, coughs, colds, and stomach aches. Pregnant women used it to help relax muscles before childbirth. Chewed bark was helpful for healing spider bites and greatly relieves burns. Tea from the cones was used to treat dysentery and stomach ills. Juniper resin, or gum, helped relieve dental cavities. Juniper berries are an effective remedy for allergies to the plant – they can be eaten or boiled for a tea – and are also a strong diuretic.
  •  Spiritual: This juniper is highly important because its leaves are used by the medicine men of many tribes in traditional ceremonies and blessings. When they are burned, their fragrant smoke is used in a sacred way to purify the air around the event and, specifically, around the bodies of participants in order to clear their energetic field.

Creosote Bush (Chaparral)

This very common plant was used extensively by Southwest tribes and provides so many remedies it’s surprising it isn’t nicknamed the “medicine bush.”

  • Creosote Bush

    Creosote Bush

    Medicinal: It has been used for fever, colds, gas, gout, arthritis, sinusitis, fungal infections, and even anemia. It is an effective antimicrobial remedy:  a dry powder from its leaves acts as an antibacterial for cuts and burns. Some other uses include autoimmunity diseases, menstrual cramps, and as an analgesic, antidiarrheal, diuretic, and emetic remedy.  In salve form, it was used for skin problems. As a tea, it was used for tuberculosis, respiratory infections, constipation, and even venereal diseases.

Other Plants Used for Spiritual Purposes:

  • Sacred Datura

    Sacred Datura

    Sacred Datura (Jimson Weed, Angel Trumpet, etc.): This herbaceous perennial has white, trumpet-shaped flowers and is used almost exclusively for spiritual purposes, such as vision quests.  It is an extremely powerful and dangerous hallucinogen used all over the world since ancient times. After ceremony in which questions are posed, some will still use parts of this plant placed between their pillow and the pillow covering to get questions answered by Creator. Medicine men have extensive knowledge on its harvest and preparation for spiritual quests. Otherwise, ingesting any part of this plant can be lethal – and even touching it can cause irritation.  Keep this one out of your garden!

  • Bitterroot


    Osha: Used to cleanse any negativity in one’s psyche.

  • Bitterroot: If one chewed this and it was sweet to them, it was quietly accepted that they were possessed and others would try to help them.
  • Corn pollen: Used in ceremony for prayer, protection, and for blessings and abundance for all.
  • Sage – Extensively used for ceremony in this region, sage is dried and then burned; its fragrant smoke is considered to clear any spiritual negativity.

You would probably agree that just what these few plants offer is impressive, but there are so many more – hundreds more – that possess extensive healing qualities. Everything we would ever need for our health – or our spirit – is right here at our feet, courtesy of Mother Earth!

Acknowledgements: Indian Uses of Desert Plants, by James W. Cornett; American Indian Food and Lore, by Carolyn Niethammer.

Best Sunrise/Sunset Spots in Sedona

Among all of the unique pleasures of Sedona, two of the simplest and most gratifying are its stunning sunsets and inspiring sunrises. It is nature at its best, and Sedona is one place where connecting with nature seems to go with the territory.

 Between the elements of cloud formations, which include everything imaginable in the “you have to see it to believe it” category, and the quality of light that filters through the sky and clouds to create a living, breathing impressionist painting, or maybe one of exquisitely intense colors that flame and flicker in the sky, your visit cannot be complete without including a sunrise or sunset watch on your itinerary.

 There are so many great spots that we can not even begin to list them all here, but these will certainly get you started (although we can’t guarantee a spectacular sunset every time).  Besides, part of the fun is wandering around the red rocks and finding your very own special place!  TIP: take your camera.

 Airport Mesa                                                            

Probably the most popular for both sunrise and sunset viewing is Airport mesa, where panoramic views of Sedona and spectacular long distance views of Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, and Courthouse Butte never fail to elicit “oohs” and “ahhs” from awestruck visitors.

 Sunset is generally crowded, so get there early for parking and a viewing spot.  Sunrise is much quieter and easier – you will most likely be alone or among only a few people, and it’s an ideal time for meditation.

 There are two specific spots, one of which is perfect for those who don’t want to hike at all. From the juncture of Highway 179 and State Route 89A uptown, go west toward West Sedona for about one mile and turn left on Airport Road. About halfway up, you will see a very small parking area on your left. If you park here, you will hike up to a small knoll or stop anywhere along the way for great views.  Another option is to go straight up the road to the top (before you reach the airport), where you will see a flat area to your right (there will be people there already) and a parking area to your left. Just park and walk over!

Red Rock Crossing & Cathedral Rock 

Pack supplies for the day, take Upper Red Rock Loop Road off 89A, and you’ll find fantastic vistas along the way. Continue on to Crescent Moon Ranch (follow the signs) for sunrise and meander along the creek and explore, and then stay on for sunset. It’s that beautiful of an area. You will very likely find a few photographers already setting up their equipment along the creek an hour before sunset.

 Schnebly Hill Vista 

This journey is easier with a four-wheel drive and/or a vehicle with higher clearance, but many have made it (very carefully) with a compact car. At the roundabout junction of Highway 179 and 89A, go toward Highway 179 to the next roundabout and take it round to the left directly to Schnebly Hill Road.  At the end of the paved road, there are parking and picnic tables where you can take a gander at the views. From then on, the road is extremely bumpy, but the rewards are great as you climb up towards the vista (there is a sign), which is about five more miles.  Go back, and less than a mile down, on your right, will be Merry-Go-Round rock. Get out here and perch yourself on a rock with fabulous views of Bear Wallow and the sunset.

Doe Mountain 

Hike up Doe Mountain for a great sunrise or sunset opportunity. It’s just .7miles long with a 450-foot elevation and 360-degree views that include higher mountains to the north, downtown Sedona, Capitol Butte, and the Verde Valley.  Great for meditation, too.

Chapel of the Holy Cross 

This is a popular and famed visitor destination on the way to the Village of Oak Creek and also a great place for sunset views in the winter, since it closes at 5:00 p.m. From uptown Sedona, take 179 south toward the Village of Oak Creek, turn left on Chapel Road, and take it to the end.

Dry Creek Road 

Drive several miles from uptown on Highway 89A, take a right at Dry Creek Road, and follow it for some of the most spectacular views around.  It’s especially beautiful here at sunset, where you can stop along the way, either toward Enchantment Resort or Long Canyon, and enjoy the views in solitude.

Sugarloaf Trail 

From uptown, take 89A to Coffee Pot Road, turn right, then left on Sanborn, and right on Little Elf. Follow that up to the little parking lot that requires no pass. This trail is generally not crowded and delightful for sunset or sunrise. The latter is even more peaceful if you choose to meditate.  Not long into the trail you will see a detour to the right and up a hill that offers views in every direction.  Return to the main trail and not much farther is cliff overlook from which you can see the Devil’s Kitchen sinkhole at Soldiers Pass.


  • HYATT PINON POINTE: At the roundabout uptown, take the curve into this enclave of shops and restaurants. Next to Starbucks and Cold Stone Creamery are two wonderful little outdoor sitting areas with some of the best views in town that include some fancifully sculpted red rocks. It’s great for sunrise and you’ll most likely be alone to enjoy a little time for quiet meditation.
  • CANYON BREEZE: Have a hot toddy or a refreshing drink on this uptown restaurant’s patio for terrific sunset views.
  • THE HIDEAWAY and KEN’S CREEKSIDE: About 200 yards from the uptown roundabout, both restaurants are on your left as you go south on Hwy. 179. The former is first, and just a stone’s throw down the road is the latter.  Great sunsets!
  • HUNDRED ROX AT AMARA RESORT: wonderful sunsets right uptown.
  • SHUGRUE’S HILLSIDE: Located in Hillside Plaza on Hwy. 179; very easy to find on your left as you travel out of Sedona toward the Village of Oak Creek. Large windows provide great sunset views.
  • ENCHANTMENT RESORT: Take Dry Creek Road and follow the signs to this beautiful resort for a drink or dinner and lovely sunset views. Dinner requires reservations

Hot Air Balloon & Helicopter Rides 

If you want it all right away, take one of these at sunrise or sunset for unimpeded views and more than a little excitement!