I tend to research my travels thoroughly which means, I am still awed but usually not surprised. At Sedona, I wasn’t expecting much more than towering red rocks, and yet, despite all my research, this place took me by surprise. The rocks are only one part of Sedona’s multidimensional experience. A visit here is a continuously exhilarating discovery.
Rock Formations: This is the obvious part. They are red, grand and seem to take on familiar shapes – like sleeping snoopy, coffee pot, chimney etc. My favorites ones are the majestic Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock Rock. There are more rock formations along Dry Creek Road and Red Rock Loop, both off highway 89.
Seeing the rocks from the vista point gives only a limited perspective. Even a small, easy hike adds new appreciation for Sedona. We did couple easy ones which our 3-year-old son walked and enjoyed. The Bell Rock vista hike is easy and scenic .
Off-Roading: This is the adventurous part. As enjoyable as hiking is, off-roading on a 4X4 adds another level of excitement. We did the Broken Arrow trail with the Pink Jeep tours. They did an amazing job at giving us thrills on 20% grade slopes along with education on Sedona’s geology. They even provided a car seat for my son. On the tour, a place called Chicken Point was the most amazing. The panoramic view was fantastic and a perfectly placed rock was an ideal seat to enjoy it.
We got such an up-close and personal experience with the amazing rocks and Sedona’s valley, that after the tour, seeing the rocks from vista points just didn’t cut it…it was downright boring. We just left the Red Rock loop half-way thru. The tour was the second best thing we did in Sedona. The best is described next.
Oak Creek Valley: This is the wet part. If you ever thought you don’t need swimming gear in Sedona, think again! The Oak Creek valley, carved out by a river of the same name is so beautiful, I had to write another blog for it. Read it here. Time spent here was the highlight of the trip.
Night Sky: This is the ‘after-dark’ part. Living in Los Angeles, I can count the star at night. Thankfully, places like Sedona exist to remind me of the contrary. We signed up for night-sky viewing with an astronomy group called ‘Evening Sky’. Even if they hadn’t shown Andromeda galaxy, the constellations and dying stars through their telescope, just enjoying a bright milky way stretched across the sky, the meteors raining down on Earth and the man-made satellites zooming by, was well-worth it! To put things in perspective, I’d rate the night sky at Sedona second only to Yellowstone.
We paid $60 a person for the tour but one can get the same experience by driving down Valley Verde Road for 4 miles. At the point where the unpaved road begins, where Valley Verde School is, turn off your headlights and look up. You don’t have to go late night either; our tour started at 830pm.