I can’t believe I’ve had this blog for nearly 2 years now and haven’t told you guys about one of my favourite places in all my road trippin’ around North America. Cra–zy! I think it’s about time I rectified this.
So, why don’t we hop in the car and head to the American southwest, shall we?
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and predict that you’re probably not too surprised to learn that one of my favourite spots on this continent is in the Wild West. Because even if you’re new here (hello, and welcome!), you’ve probably figured that out already 😀
After a few days of traipsing around Utah and the Grand Canyon, my road trip buddy Al and I arrived in Sedona, a small town in Northern Arizona (just south of the Grand Canyon).
This is the view that graced our windshield as we drove into Sedona:
I’d finally arrived in the Wild West! (Yee haw). But even if you’re not the wannabe cowgirl I am, don’t worry…you will still love this place. If anything, for the scenery–which looks straight out of an old Western.
As soon as we got here I completely understood why this ‘desert-meets-the-forest’ town is considered by many to be one of ‘America’s Most Beautiful Destinations’. The vibrant colours of the rocks looming imperiously against an endless blue sky are just breathtaking.
Sedona sits right beside a Ponderosa Pine forest (to the north) and is also completely surrounded by a geological wonderland that is filled with incredible red rock formations that ranges from buttes, canyon walls, pinnacles and hoodoos. Some of them are almost 7,000 ft high!
It’s one of the most striking places I’ve seen in all my travels across America.
You can’t help but feel like you’ve just been transported to another planet. I half-expected to (**Trekkie alert**) run into Captain Kirk wandering around searching for Gorn (no luck…dang!)
The magnificent red and orange sandstone that comprises the area around Sedona is known as ‘The Schnebly Hill formation’, which is only found in this area. So, the fact that it’s very unique makes this place even more special.
As bit of a
geology freak, I was in my glory here.
Just when I thought this town couldn’t be any more picturesque, the sun started to set. Then the rocks slowly started to glow in a gazillion different shades of reds and oranges, heavily saturated by the early evening sun. It certainly was a sight to behold.
I suspect that even if I wasn’t a photo nut, I’d still be inspired to take a million photos here. In fact, I don’t think we ran into anyone who didn’t have their cameras out at all times (more like their iPhones these days, of course, but this was a dozen years ago).
We decided to sign up for a Jeep Tour as we heard many of the areas are restricted to the public without a guide. A couple of our fellow travelers recommended Pink Jeep Tours so that’s the company we decided on. I’m glad we did though because our tour was fantastic (post coming soon!). It’s a wee bit pricey–ranging from $50-100 depending on the type/length of tour, but it’s so worth it.
If you do the jeep tour on your visit here, be sure to choose the evening tour so you can catch sunset on the rocks. I recommend booking ahead though, as this is the most popular time-slot…for good reason.
Words can’t describe the beauty of this area at sunset, especially as we got closer to the rocks.
So, I’ll just show you some of the pretty photos I took from the jeep:
After we headed toward the rock formations, the tour guide stopped the jeep and let us out to walk around. I must have taken 800 pictures just on this tour. (maybe more…).
I didn’t realize until later that night that there was a thumbprint on my camera lens, which also resulted in a blurry spot in many of my photos from this tour. I figured I must have accidentally touched my lens during the bumpy jeep ride. Oops! (you can see the blurry spot in the picture of “Al the Sasquatch’–haha— above) EEEK! Curses. Grrr….
At least some of the pictures worked out. It helps if you take a few hundred pictures of the same thing 😀
This incredible scenery also draws a huge New Age crowd here to Sedona. Native Americans have long considered this place to have spiritual Vortexes–concentrations of electromagnetic energy within the rocks. Apparently (as I didn’t notice it myself, but I wasn’t here too long–if that makes a difference), the energy helps facilitate mediation and healing.
In 1987, the Harmonic Convergence (a global meditation event) took place here in Sedona which resulted in hordes of believers flocking to the area in hopes for an awakening of love and harmony (and possibly a few UFO sightings– right, Mulder?). Eventually word got out and folks started making the pilgrimage to Sedona. It also attracted several alternative medicine doctors, psychics and tour companies to set up shop here.
This is one attraction in Sedona you don’t want to miss: The Chapel of the Holy Cross. Yep, it’s a church built right into one of the Buttes!
Not something you see everyday. How cool is this?
But even if you’re not a New Age enthusiast (or a UFO-seeker), there is still tons to see and do in Sedona including hiking, swimming, biking, jeep tours and shopping.
Downtown Sedona is your typical small town… but with way better scenery. It also has an eclectic collection of funky new age shops, craft stores and restaurants on the main drag. And a few cool sculptures, too.
Being a popular tourist town, it’s a wee bit expensive here in Sedona. We got fairly luck though, as we were here in the middle of summer (low-season) so the hotel rates weren’t actually that bad. You know it’s pretty hot though when all the locals had fled town in search of higher elevation (and thus, cooler temperatures).
I actually loved the heat here. But that’s mostly because ‘it’s a dry heat’. Yes it’s a cliché, most definitely, but I much prefer it to the awful humidity we get back home (Great Lakes area) or, more so, in the Deep South. My first visit to Memphis was during the month of August which was almost unbearable. Needless to say, the next time I ventured that far south, it was early Spring.
Both Al and I were getting pretty hungry so we decided to find a spot for a coffee and some lunch. We found a nice little cafe that had a gigantic deck with plenty of tables. It was perfect!
You can’t beat this view whilst relaxing in the sun over a cuppa java. Not too shabby at all.
My local Starbucks doesn’t have nearly as nice of a view as this (or any view, really). No wonder everyone who comes to Sedona wants to suddenly move here. Until they see the real estate prices (HOLY COW!!).
After relaxing, caffeine-ing it up and soaking in the scenery, we hopped back on the road and headed to Red Rock State Park– just outside Sedona–for a short hike. We were only here for two days, unfortunately, so we had to try to cram in as much as we could in a short amount of time.
After a fairly extensive hike, we were a little tired and slightly sunburned (luckily we brought tons of water—a must ’round these parts) so we decided to head back to town for a refreshing swim at the hotel.
For dinner that evening, we decided to check out the local brew pub. Oak Creek Brewery is located in historic Tlaquepaque, an Arts and Crafts Village in Sedona with several unique shops, native crafts and a few restaurants. It’s definitely a great spot to check out if you’re visiting Sedona.
The pub was relatively quiet, too (low season does come in handy!) so we didn’t have to wait long for a table. And we got to sit on the patio, too, which was wonderful. The food was your fairly standard pub food–not bad, but not amazing either, but the beers were delicious!
This is what happens when you give Al a beer. He certainly had fun though…just in case you couldn’t tell. (plus, he thinks he’s number 1!!)
Even though I’m an avid sun-worshiper, I’ll admit that I was quite happy to see the sun go down finally (man, I never thought I’d utter those words). While sitting on the patio at the brewpub after sunset, we could see why star-gazing is pretty popular here. The brilliant night sky was just incredible. You know it’s pretty spectacular when they host ‘Star Parties’ around these parts regularly (and I don’t mean ‘celebrity sightings’, either)
Stay tuned for upcoming posts on our Oak Creek Hike AND the Jeep Tour.
Thanks for reading guys, especially if you made it this far. I hope I’ve inspired you to check out Sedona. If you’ve been to Sedona, I’d love to know what you thought of this town. We can compare notes 🙂
Hope you’re all doing great!
Cheers, Dana xo