Situated in the center of Arizona approximately two hours north of Phoenix, SEDONA is a breathtaking town surrounded by 1.8 million acres of forest and being home to the world-famous red rocks towering high above the quiet desert landscape. Not only being known for it's stunning landscape, Sedona is also considered by Native Americans to be a sacred place to renew or heal your spirit through the multiple vortex energy centers scattered throughout the city. Whether you're looking to explore the desert or forest, both are possible within a few minutes drive from downtown Sedona. If you're planning to drive from Los Angeles, it's a hefty one clocking in at around 7.5 hours, without traffic, or a quick flight to Phoenix. However you decide to get to Sedona, in the end, you'll be glad you experienced this incredible place situated in the historical American southwest.
CAMPING in Sedona comes with ample options ranging from dispersed camping (also known as primitive camping) to fully established campgrounds within the Coconino National Forest. If you're looking to camp with a view and some privacy, dispersed camping is the way to go. You should note, primitive camping does not include running water or restrooms like established campgrounds and the other perk is there are no fees to pay since you're staying on public land.
Having said that, during this trip we decided to skip the established campgrounds and opted for dispersed camping. After reviewing the official Dispersed Camping Guidelines published by the USDA for Coconino National Forest, we to headed west of Sedona to a remote campsite located off Fire Road 525. The campsite we discovered had a beautiful view looking northeast towards the Honanki Heritage Site, which dates back to 2000 BC and was inhabited by the Southern Sinagua culture. Along with the rich history located a short distance away, the mornings offered incredible views of hot air balloons scattered across the horizon.
When dispersed camping, there's a decent chance the roads won't be paved so it's always a good idea to be prepared with a vehicle with high ground clearance. Luckily, for this trip, we were given the 2018 Chevy Silverado High Country from General Motors to use. We gladly put it to the test over some rugged terrain while OFF-ROADING to our beautiful campsite. Between the smooth ride, excellent features and ample room for gear storage, the Silverado was definitely a useful asset to have throughout this trip.
Be sure to check out the Campfire Adventure Co. gear in the shop. 20% of the proceeds goes directly towards helping protect our public land, which includes land just like this in Sedona.
In the cooler the months of the year, the southwest offers a great refuge for camping. You're able to fall asleep under the light of a thousand stars usually without the worry of snow suddenly appearing. Over Thanksgiving, Sedona's temperatures were warm during day and quite chilly at night, but still comfortable enough to sleep without the rainfly covering the tent. The other perks with Sedona, and especially our campsite, are the INCREDIBLE SUNSETS we were able to witness each evening. While preparing our dinner and drinking wine, the technicolor sunsets and the burst of warm colors from the red rocks off in the distance were spectacular.
PRO-TIP: When dispersed camping, consider bringing your patio furniture (e.g. bistro table set) to make yourself more comfortable since you're literally camping out in the middle of no where. It only helps make the experience more relaxing and enjoyable. Plus, don't forget blankets... they're always a good idea.
HIKING in Sedona is a must and the list of possible hikes are endless. We decided to take a more relaxing hike to Scheurman Mountain which offers panoramic views of Sedona and showcases the incredible rock formations surrounding the city. It's a lightly trafficked, out-and-back hike pushing close to four miles round trip. Plan to bring all the items you'd pack for a half-day hike for this trail.
After returning to Los Angeles from the trip, I was alerted about another incredible looking spot called Devil's Bridge located in Slide Rock State Park. Unfortunately, it wasn't able to be seen during this visit, but the next adventure to Sedona will definitely include this gorgeous arch on the itinerary.
Also, if you're looking for a TRANQUIL ESCAPE from the sun, downtown Sedona is a stone's throw away from Oak Creek which is a drastic contrast to the rest of the landscape surrounding the city. After our hike, we grabbed a spot right along the river and relaxed in our Eno Hammocks while reading and enjoying a few snacks. Visiting in November gave us the perfect autumn colors I've missed seeing in Los Angeles, so Thanksgiving this year was quite the successful adventure.
Have you been to Sedona? If so, share your tips and/or suggestions below in the comments section.
Till the next adventure.
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Always pack out what you pack in and leave absolutely no trace of your stay when you leave any campsite.
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