Sedona: An Oasis in Arizona’s High Desert

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[ See photos in Flickr Slideshow > ]

During the heat of the summer this past July, we took a 1700 mile driving trip around the SW from Phoenix to Santa Fe to Mexican Hat, UT to the Grand Canyon, with a pit stop in Sedona before flying back to Boston from Phoenix. It was wonderful and tremendous trip with many roads driven, trails hiked, and photos taken. We sweated our asses off, but it was all worth it. We were there the first week of July when the heat was a sweltering 115 degrees on the hottest of days and when a haboob swept through Phoenix. See summer trip photos here.

After seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time, which made me feel like a splat of color in a Jackson Pollock painting, we arrived in Sedona as our last stop before heading home. Just coming from the Canyon, which is breath-taking and amazing, Sedona’s colors are even brighter with more intimate hikes. I know this may sound goofy, but you are part of the landscape when hiking in Sedona instead of looking into an amazing 360 degree painting. Of course both has it’s perks.

Many of the Sedonians that we met professed that Sedona has a way of pulling you in where you’ll keep coming back. And they were right.

I love to travel and if you do too, I know you’ve also said to yourself while in some foreign place, ‘I have to come back. There’s just so much more to see.’ For once, we followed through on our wish and we ventured back. With the help of pre-Christmas rates and a free airline companion ticket, we returned to Sedona for a week and used it as a spring board to explore surrounding areas.

The following is our rough 10 day itinerary for the trip with some select photos for those pondering a visit to Sedona:

12/15, Thursday Night

  • Flew Delta from Boston to Phoenix on at 5:30pm flight with a stopover in Cincinnati. Flying Jet Blue is preferred as they offer non-stop flights with reasonable prices, but the free companion ticket with Delta with one stopover was a steal.
  • Stayed overnight in Phoenix: DoubleTree Hotel booked via Hotwire. It’s a very nice, desert style hotel for a quick night stay. I give it 3.5 stars out of 5.

12/16, Friday

  • Brunch at the Daily Dose in Scottsdale, AZ— Great find on Yelp. Delicious SW style food!! I had the BEST homemade veggie burger in recent memory.
  • Visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in Scottsdale. Took the 90 minute tour of the campus. Well worth the $32.
  • Meander to Sedona in the late afternoon.
  • Check in at our B&B for the week, The Canyon Wren Cabins and chilled out. The breakfasts are simple and delicious. Mike and Melina were gracious hosts and helped with tips on where to go and supplied us with Red Rock Canyon and National Park passes to use for the week. There is no TV, phone, or internet access here, so it’s a great way to be off the grid to recharge. The cabins are cozy with a wood fireplace and kitchen. I highly recommend it as a place to stay while in Sedona. We loved it and would definitely stay there again! See their Facebook page.

12/17, Saturday

  • Hiked the West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon off of 89A in Sedona. Beautiful snow covered trail that was about 5 miles round trip. We counted 7 creek crossings along the way.
  • Grilled dinner on the gas grill at our cabin.

12/18, Sunday

  • Raining day in Sedona.
  • Paid for day use of gym/spa: Los Abrigados. After a work out, swam in the outdoor heated salt water pool and jacuzzi.
  • Chilled out at Stakes and Sticks and watched the Pats and Denver game. We were only 1 of 2 tables that rooted for the Pats. Pats won 41-23!!

12/19, Monday

  • Spent the day at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We stayed here for 3 nights on the last trip where Hermit Road was closed off to cars. During this week, Hermit Road was open to cars so we drove out to Hermit Rest and hiked the Rim Trail to Pima Point.

12/20, Tuesday

  • Explored Route 66 East of Flagstaff towards Winslow (see map).
  • Visited: Sunset CraterWalnut CanyonTwo Guns (site of an old zoo, now a ghost town), abandoned Twin Arrows Rest Stop.
  • Ate at Salsa Brava off of historic Route 66 in Flagstaff per recommendations from Mike and Milena. Winner.
  • Walked around Flagstaff at night before stores and restaurants closed up. Cute small scale town/city with nice restaurants and shops in historic downtown. Snowbowl Ski Resort is only a 20 minute drive from here!!!!

12/21, Wednesday

  • Drive and explore Route 66 West (see map):
    • Bellemont
    • Williams
    • Ash Fork, AZ
    • Seligman (A must see for historic, kitschy Route 66.)
    • Peach Springs
  • Our intent was to drive all the way on Route 66 to the California border and also see Oatman, AZ, but night fall came fast and we decided to turn back at Peach Springs. Next time, we’re planning to drive this route from Las Vegas to Flagstaff, so the adventures will have to wait until then.

12/22, Thursday

  • Hiked Doe Mountain in West Sedona off of Desert Road (map). Highly recommend this hike. Once on top, you can walk around for a 360 view of Sedona Red Rock country.
  • Spent our last Sedona evening relaxing with a must try dinner at Elote (local favorite). Make sure you call for a reservation.

12/23, Friday (See map)

  • Check out of Canyon Wren Cabins.
  • Explored Jerome, Cottonwood, and Prescott before arriving in Phoenix for the night.
    • In Jerome, walk around the town center for the stores and wine tastings. It’s an old mining town with a history of booze, women, and the wild west.
    • Stop by the Antique and Things shop in Cottonwood. If you like old signs and gadgets, you’ll find it here.
  • Stay near Scottsdale also booked on Hotwire: Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center. The golf/tennis resort was much more than we needed, but it was very comfortable with a bar where we were able to grab a late night snack.
  • Bartender was very knowledgeable as a Sommelier. We tried an Arizona Stronghold red that was fantastic. He made us an absinthe and rye whisky drink at the end of the night called Sazerac that was a perfect end of the evening cocktail.

12/24, Saturday

  • Homebound in time for Christmas!!! Fly out of Phoenix back to Boston to arrive at 10pm with a stopover in Detroit.
  • As an aside, I woke up sick as a dog and couldn’t hold my food down. I feared not being able to survive the flight home without holding it together. The good news… I held it all in and together : ).


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