Oak Creek Canyon
One of the West's famous and, at the southern end, colorful canyons provides the setting for a drive designated by Rand McNally as among the USA's six most scenic. The drive begins at the northeast corner of Sedona. Enjoy Oak Creek Canyon on the way to and from any point north, e.g., the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Monument Valley, Lake Powell, and the Four Corners.
110 miles. Need we say more? A circle tour from Flagstaff features the San Francisco Peaks (one of which, Mt. Humphreys Peak, is Arizona's highest mountain at 12,633 feet), Sunset Crater National Monument with black lava flows, and Wupatki National Monument, site of extensive Indian ruins. The Grand Canyon portion of the journey takes you to Desert View, Hopi Point, The Watchtower, Grand Canyon Village, and Hermits Rest.
In and around Flagstaff visit the Lowell Observatory, Northern Arizona University, the Museum of Northern Arizona, and The Arizona Snowbowl with its sweeping views and picturesque skiing.
Walnut Canyon National Monument
On the eastern edge of Flagstaff. Take the short pathway down the otherwise inaccessible sheer rock walls of this dramatic canyon to see its numerous ancient cliff dwellings.
Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments
North of Flagstaff on Loop Road 545. At Sunset Crater take the easy one-mile Lava Flow Trail to get out into these jagged formations. Wupatki, the largest and most spectacular of the many pueblo ruins in Northern Arizona, includes North America’s northernmost ball-court. While traveling between these two monuments stop at the Painted Desert Vista for its primo view.
Roden Crater project
New York Times art critic Michael Kimmelman feels that James Turrell's project, one of the world's biggest pieces of art, "will almost certainly turn out to be the first great, enduring work of the new century." A New Yorker Profile (Jan. 13, 2003) describes Turrell’s great work as “not about light, or a record of light; it is light–the physical presence of light made manifest in sensory form.”
The Petrified Forest National Park
Further east on opposite sides of highway 40 outside of Holbrook. Prioritize Petrified Forest viewpoints as follows: Blue Mesa, Crystal Forest, Giant Logs, and Puerco Pueblo. Hikers will thoroughly enjoy the one-mile Blue Mesa loop trail. Include the Painted Desert portion of the park and Kachina Point's colorful panorama.
Ever been in four states simultaneously? Not unless you've been to four corners. Mesa Verde National Park is one hour further on.
See why this valley was John Ford's favorite Western location, and why it, along with Sedona, is where the West was filmed.
Take advantage of the unique opportunity to boat past desert cliffs and through desert canyons in the surreal beauty of this man-made lake. Visit Horseshoe Bend and either Upper or Lower Antelope (slot) Canyon, especially toward midday when the sunlight penetration is the greatest. You may want to take a seven or eight hour boat ride through Lake Powell to Rainbow Bridge, the largest natural bridge in North America, but if so remember that the three hour return trip can seem long.
East of Flagstaff visit the 570 feet deep, one mile across crater blasted 49,000 years ago by a meteor 80 feet in diameter traveling 133,000 miles per hour.
Native American Areas
The Yavapai-Apache Camp Verde Tribal Communities are in nearby Camp Verde while all or part of the Havasupi, Kaibab, Navajo, and Hopi Indian Reservations are spread across Northern Arizona.
Sedona is surrounded by no less than four National Monuments. In addition to those mentioned above are two more with dwellings whose ruins date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, making them among the oldest ruins in North America. Each is located 20 miles from Sedona: Tuzigoot to the west and Montezuma's Castle to the south.
Jerome (30 miles)
A former ghost town hanging precariously on the side of Mingus mountain, Jerome is now a thriving arts and crafts center with an interesting mining museum.
This experimental utopian desert community embodies visionary architect Paolo Soleri's synthesis of architecture and ecology (arcology).
Scenic Circular Trips (for those with appropriate vehicles):
The Penrose Five Star Bed and Breakfast