Sometimes we travel to places that very few visitors have discovered. Other times, we travel to places that are famous around the world. Sedona, Arizona fits the second category. But just because the secret’s out doesn’t mean there aren’t still hidden gems to be discovered! Below, we combine Sedona’s Secret 7 with a dose of sustainability to inspire your trip. Because knowledge about how to avoid crowds and be a responsible traveler is a super power we can’t pass up!
This story was created in partnership with Visit Sedona.
Take in Sweeping Views while Practicing Leaving No Trace
Sedona’s many vistas can be enjoyed any time of year, at any time of day. And while there is no right way to soak in the beauty of Sedona, one of the best ways is with a picnic! Combine the two by packing a special meal to one of the many trailheads around town. You might opt for the beautiful and winding Aerie Trail, where you can pack in a basket (or backpack) with your favorite snacks and select your own vantage point. Or, journey to Posse Grounds Park—aptly named for where once upon a time, the Sedona Sheriff would round up his posse. Here you’ll find a number of shaded ramadas with picnic tables.
Really want to enjoy the view all to yourself? Consider making it a picnic dinner. You’ll enjoy a quiet sunset while everyone else has gone to town to add their names to a waitlist.
While you’re picnicking around Sedona, practice Leave No Trace principles to ensure that all future visitors get to enjoy these same views—not trash. Check here for more Leave No Trace inspiration and guidance.
Mountain Bike and Hike, Responsibly
Two favorite ways for visitors to immerse themselves in Sedona’s beauty are on their own two feet and by mountain bike. Leave the pavement behind—miles of singletrack await! Take one of the paths less traveled. You might enjoy searching for wildflowers on Woods Canyon Trail, or exploring the basaltic lava of an extinct volcano on Schuerman Mountain Trail.
For those seeking quiet mountain bike opportunities, try the lesser known Llama Trail. Another option is the fast and flowy Outer Limits Trail, or the exciting Mescal Trail. Sedona has endless options for hiking and biking, so find the trail that’s right for you!
While you’re out and about, be sure to recreate responsibly. There are a few ground rules for courteous singletrack use: hikers and bikers always yield to horses, and bikers yield to everyone. Be sure to carry enough water and a trail map, whether on your phone or from the ranger station. Lastly, remember to always pack out whatever you packed in.
Sample Local Culture and Take the Sedona Cares Pledge
Looking for even more ways to experience Sedona like a local? You might try out something on the spiritual side of life, like having your aura read or visiting one of Sedona’s many vortexes. The architecturally awesome Chapel of the Holy Cross offers a more traditional option. Thanks to its location perched into the landscape, it’s another can’t-miss photography destination in town. (Just aim to go first thing in the morning, before it gets too busy.)
Arts and Culture
For those who can’t resist a little retail therapy, Sedona delivers. Authentic Native American jewelry and art abounds, and unsurprisingly, there are a number of incredible artists in town whose work is on display at several galleries. We also recommend pairing your shopping with a stop at one of Sedona’s museums, like Verde Valley Archeological Center.
You might even top it all off with an evening spent under the stars. An International Dark Sky Community since 2014, Sedona is one of the best places to stay up late. Enjoy watching the stars play on a silhouette of red rocks at a number of places in town, or get an unobstructed view at Beaverhead Flat Scenic Overlook. No matter where you go, you’re sure to have it almost all to yourself once the sun goes down.
For all your activities in Sedona, please take the Sedona Cares Pledge. This agreement encompasses everything from Leave No Trace principles to remembering to be a courteous driver. It’s the best way to foster a sense of reciprocity and neighborliness while adventuring in Sedona. And trust us, after discovering the Secret 7, you’re going to want to be welcomed back again and again to Sedona!