Happy Tuesday! I've been on somewhat of a hiatus lately (haven't posted in over 3 weeks-- eek!) If you're new around here, I'm currently in the middle of a 6 week, coast-to-coast road-trip across the US. I've been going non-stop for over a month now and am finally just getting time to sit down and play catch up on sharing some of my travels. So today, let's talk Sedona.
Sedona is someplace I've wanted to visit for years now. Known for it's positive energy, abundance of hiking and breathtaking scenery, this Arizona town is someplace everyone can appreciate. It's proximity to Phoenix, Scottsdale, Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon makes it easy to take some day trips during your stay (although once you arrive you may not want to leave). Given my calendar and the allotted time I had with a friend who was visiting, we divided our 5 day trip between Scottsdale and Sedona (2 days in each and one day trip in between for the Grand Canyon). I honestly wish we had more time in all of these places because each exceeded my expectations significantly.
But even given my 2 short days in Sedona, I fell in love with so much about this place. So as you you plan a trip of your own, here's what I recommend including:
THINGS TO DO
Nestled in Red Rock Country, Sedona certainly has no shortage of beautiful hiking. Renowned for its mildness, Sedona weather means you can hike pretty much any time of the year that you visit. While rain prevented us from seeing as much of the trails as I'd hoped, you definitely need to pencil some time in your itinerary to check out as many of the trails as you can. Some of the top ones I'd recommend include:
- DIFFICULTY: Easy/short.
- DISTANCE: Up to 4 MI. roundtrip (1-2 hours)
- DESCRIPTION: A no-brainer, gentle hike around Sedona's famous formation.
- DIFFICULTY: Easy/short.
- DISTANCE: Up to 1.5 miles (30-40 minutes)
- DESCRIPTION: A magnificent view (considered the most photographed image in AZ besides the Grand Canyon).
- DIFFICULTY: Easy/longer.
- DISTANCE: Up to 6.4 miles roundtrip (Up to 3 hours, 30 minutes)
- DESCRIPTION: Awesome cliffs are nestled along the stream to create an oasis of tranquility + a sense of magic.
- DIFFICULTY: Easy/longer.
- DISTANCE: Up to 6.3 miles roundtrip (3 hours, 30 min).
- DESCRIPTION: Stunning and varied. Popular (and can be crowded) but has ample parking and bathroom facilities.
- DIFFICULTY: Moderate/short.
- DISTANCE: 4 or 2 miles roundtrip (2.5/ 3 or 1.5 hours).
- DESCRIPTION: A short but hearty uphill hike boasting spectacular scenery.
Right when we got into town, we went to M Diamond Ranch for some horseback riding. This 100 year old family-run cattle ranch is located just outside of Sedona and offers an unforgettable experience whilst visiting Arizona. While they offer several trail rides (everything from 1-3 hours) we opted for the sunset option (which included a cowboy cookout on the ranch after dusk). No matter if you've ever been on a horse or not, the staff is great about walking you through the basics to ensure a safe ride, while still letting you enjoy the experience for yourself. The scenery on the trail was gorgeous, the authentic western experience was so fun to embrace and I would highly recommend it to everyone visiting.
WHERE TO STAY
Our Sedona experience wouldn't have been nearly as enjoyable without Hilton Sedona at Bell Rock. Nestled among the iconic Red Rock scenery in the shadow of Bell Rock, this property boasts way more than just a place to lay your head at night. With a full-functioning spa (which I took full advantage of), a heated outdoor lap pool, fitness center, and an 18-hole championship golf course you'll have no shortage of entertainment before you even leave the hotel. And if the amenities alone aren't enough to sell you, check out these room views.
We had breakfast at the hotel both mornings in Sedona: once to enjoy the atmosphere at The Grille at Shadow Rock and once to take advantage of room service (because why would you not seize the opportunity to eat red velvet pancakes in bed?
All in all, I can't say enough great things about our experience at Hilton Sedona. If you're looking for a property that's conveniently located and luxurious while still being relaxed and down to earth, this is the spot for you.
WHERE TO EAT
Perched on a bluff in Sedona, you'll find Mariposa: a gorgeous + sophisticated restaurant that offers panoramic views of some of the most beautiful red-rock pinnacles in the area. Chef Lisa Dahl started the eatery as a place to reflect her passion for cooking, as well as show her appreciation for Sedona's stunning scenery. It certainly does a beautiful job of both.
We went for lunch so that we could properly appreciate the views (although if you visit in the summer season, you'll be able to marvel in the early dinner hours as well). The menu was brimming with so many delicious options, we had a hard time narrowing it down. For starters, we couldn't turn down their triple queso truffle mac and cheese. Quick backstory: one of my favorite metaphors I've ever coined in regards to relationships is Easy Mac vs. mac + cheese from scratch. Some people want a quick fix and don't want to deal with the hard work required for the quality stuff, so they settle for "Easy Mac". Some of us are still rolling out the pasta from scratch while others are already eating (which can be frustrating at times). But when it's finally time to sit down and enjoy our mac and cheese, it'll be the incredibly delicious kind-- not the mediocre stuff. So now, this Mariposa triple queso truffle mac and cheese is now the kind I describe that I want in my metaphor. It's the best kind you could possibly imagine.
The menu boasts loads of other tasty treats (of which I don't have any metaphors for- but they're still just as delicious). We loved their unique selection of specialty cocktails (we tried a few and they were all delicious). For our mains, we went the light, healthy route with the Atun Ceviche and Green Goddess salad (both were delicious). And for dessert? The Coconut Maple Flan will rock your world. No matter what you order, you're sure to fall in love with this latin-inspired cuisine that showcases quality ingredients (like organic, Arizona-grown vegetables).
WHAT TO PACK
Effortless is the name of the game in Red Rock Country. Since so many people come here to be outdoors, the style most certainly reflects that. Save your fancy clothes for another destination and embrace your comfy, casual basics.
So there you have it! Hopefully this all helps you plan your own Sedona adventure. Have a Sedona recommendation I didn't include? Let me know in the comments below!
As always, thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for lots more U.S. travel guides that will be making their way to the blog soon. In the meantime, shop my feed from my latest adventures and favorite travel gear!