Sedona, Arizona is one of the most beautiful vacation locations in the USA. It has been revered as a magnificent spiritual haven since prehistoric times. Native Americans have been coming to Sedona for their religious ceremonies, their spiritual awakenings, their rites of passage and their weddings for hundreds of years. The first time you visit this marvelous valley with its awe inspiring beauty, you will understand why it has been venerated for so long.
Red sandstone cliffs rise a thousand feet above the valley floor. Buttes, mesas and pinnacles of rock rise throughout the valley. Everywhere the rocks have been eroded into fantastic shapes resembling giant fortresses, towers, pinnacles and other exotic visages. The village of Sedona is located in the midst of this scenic splendor surrounded by cascading mountain streams, lush green meadows, and forested hillocks all dominated by the imposing red rock formations.
More accessible than the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon, just a 90 minute drive to the north, is similar to Sedona but on a much larger scale. Other geological attractions like Yosemite Valley are equally magnificent. Yet, no other scenic attraction is as accessible as Sedona. You can drive through the valley absorbing the scenic views from your car. You can bike or hike through the canyons and explore the rock formations. You can golf in the shadows of the red rock cliffs or even photograph the exotic formations from your hotel window.
Sedona is located in northern Arizona just a 30 minute drive southwest of Flagstaff and less than 90 minutes from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It is only two hours drive north of Phoenix. You can easily fly to Flagstaff or Phoenix and drive to Sedona. The valley is about 4,500 feet (1.500 meters) above sea level. The climate is semi arid, so it gets little rain or snow, but it has a plentiful supply of water from the nearby mountains. Summers are a bit milder and winters a bit colder than the low altitude deserts near Phoenix.
The location of metaphysical vortexes
Sedona reputedly is the location of several universal vortexes that provide spiritual healing and metaphysical enlightenment. New age advocates come to this beautiful valley seeking spiritual and physical rejuvenation. You can easily visit some of these vortexes and sit on the rocks absorbing the metaphysical energy sources. I personally think a bottle of good wine helps. Shops and boutiques in the village sell power crystals, Indian amulets, copper bracelets and other spiritual appliances. Many of the resorts and spas offer yoga classes and various esoteric spiritual regimens in addition to the usual massages, facials and traditional cures.
A wide selection of accommodations is available in the village of Sedona with some exclusive resorts located in nearby canyons and some tourist cabins and camping along Oak Creek Canyon. There are plenty of restaurants, groceries, gas stations, boutiques and souvenir shops in Sedona. It has a small airfield located atop a mesa overlooking the town. The airport offers some airplane and helicopter tours of the area and a limited number of charter flights to nearby locations.
Driving tours around Sedona
The scenery in and around Sedona is spectacular and most of it is easily seen from the various roads throughout the area. Oak Creek Canyon is the main entry to Sedona from Flagstaff. This road follows Oak Creek through a narrow defile of colorful rock walls as is cascades beneath towering pine trees. In many places, this canyon is only a few hundred feet wide (100 meters) with red, pink, brown and white rock walls rising a thousand feet (350 meters) or more on either side.
Airport road climbs to the top of the mesa overlooking the village of Sedona. The airport parking lot offers a great panoramic view of the town, the valley and many of the spectacular rock formations. Visitors flock here at sunset to watch the red rocks become inflamed in glowing scarlet from the rays of the setting sun. Near the bottom of airport road, a small parking place provides access to a short trail up onto a large rounded rock that is supposedly the location of one of the universal vortexes. New age advocates and bemused tourists often flock to the top of this rock to absorb the metaphysical energies of the vortex.
Bell rock, Cathedral Rock, the Coffeepot, the Soldiers, Chimney rock and numerous other formations are easily visible from many parts of the village. The magnificent Holy Cross Chapel sits atop a rocky spine overlooking the eastern end of town. It provides a magnificent view of the valley and is a spectacular piece of architecture. I do not believe it is available for marriage ceremonies, but there are plenty of other fabulous locations for weddings in Sedona.
If you are adventuresome, you can attempt a drive up Schnebley Road, the original roadway into this isolated valley from Flagstaff. It is paved for only about one mile, but its unpaved portion extends another seven miles up through a spectacular canyon with fantastic views of the valley and many immense red rock formations until it culminates on the rim of the cliffs thousands of feet above the valley. It can be rough driving at certain times of the year. If you prefer, you can sign up for one of the jeep tours that will take you up this scenic route.
Walking, hiking, bicycle touring and horseback riding are some favorite activities for visitors to Sedona. You can rent mountain bikes or riding horses at several locations in and around the town. The rangers at the visitor centers will provide you with free maps indicating all of the trails and will cheerfully offer advice on the best routes.
Less adventuresome activities
You can take airplane rides, helicopter tours, balloon adventures, jeep tours, hummer tours or horseback rides in Sedona. There are numerous tourist adventures available from the many tour operators in Sedona. If you are less inclined to adventurous activities, the many resorts and spas will provide you with plenty of pampered luxury. Some of them have golf courses, swimming pools and tennis courts within the very shadows of the spectacular red rock cliffs.
Shopping and dining are also favored activities in Sedona. It provides plenty of choices in both. Designer shops, boutiques and quality restaurants abound in this little village. Some of them can be rather expensive, but there are plenty of moderately priced alternatives as well.
In the vicinity
The quaint reconstructed mining town of Jerome sits high upon the flanks of a mountain about 30 miles west of Sedona. The Ghost town of Gold Queen is next to it. You can drive there in less than one hour. It makes a nice half-day excursion from Sedona. Flagstaff is less than an hour northeast. It offers shopping malls, cultural activities and all the amenities of city life. Old route 66 once passed through Flagstaff, and you can still find some of the original flavor of the mother road in the nearby town of Williams. Sunset Crater, the great hole caused by a meteor impact is near Flagstaff. You can visit the Grand Canyon by driving two hours north of Sedona to the South Rim Visitors Center. It is an easy day trip, but it is worth spending more than a single day to see that magnificent sight. If you prefer, you can even drive to Williams Arizona on old route 66 and take the Grand Canyon Railway to the South Rim Visitors Center.
Source : http://www.usatourist.com/english/destinations/arizona/sedona/sedona-main.html