Mother Earth is so present in Sedona!
Choices of outdoor activities include:
Bell Rock- Some of our favorite trails are Bell Rock / Courthouse Loop. Pack a thermos of coffee, stop by the Desert Flour Bakery and pick up Chocolate croissants and head for Bell Rock. If you take the Bell Rock loop around the base you will end up crossing the creek and there are a lot of great sites to stop and have breakfast. It's an easy starter hike and takes up to 2 hours if you do Bell Rock Loop. It is 4 miles for Courthouse Loop, which is not open to bikes. Park at Little Horse trailhead and allow a few hours to explore Chicken Point. This is also an easy starter trail . It takes about 2 hours. Once you reach Chicken Point and its panoramic views, you can decide whether to go further to Broken Arrow or Devil's Dining Room which is a sink hole . You can continue on to Submarine Rock. This part of the trail is shared with the Pink Jeep Tours so be prepared for company! I like to do this trail early in the morning with breakfast in my backpack.
Cathedral Rock- This trailhead is just off the Back and Beyond round about. This is my most frequented rock formation because of the full moon festivities that happen every month. Starting around 7:00pm drummers, dancers, and locals all take the climb up to the first mesa. The welcoming of full moon is greeted with flutes, drumming and song. There is something very inspiring abaout this ancient ritual. You can also enter the backside of the trail through Red Rock Crossing. Go to the village of Oak Creek on 179 and turn onto Verde Valley School Road. Go 4.6 miles until the pavement ends and start watching for the parking lot on your left. Hike left out of the parking lot, walk 150 yards to find the trailhead on your right. This is my favorite trail on a hot sticky day when hiking in the cool forest and sitting by the stream listening to the conversation of nature is exactly what you need. There is a swimming area called Buddha Beach marked with cairns. Just listen for the echo of swimmers of all ages on a Sunday afternoon. You'll find it.
Brin's Mesa - Beneath the highest structure in Sedona, Wilson Mountain, lies an exquisite trail that takes you up 500 feet to a mesa overlooking Mormon Canyon and Soliders Pass. If you are looking to add to your adventure, then consider going right at the top of the mesa (see “Side Trail” on map) for an additional 1.0 mile and 400 feet elevation or connecting to the Soldiers Pass Trail. For those looking for an even longer adventure then take Brins Mesa Trail out to FR 152 (Vultee Arch Road), connect to Chuck Wagon Trail then over to Devil’s Bridge for a 5.7 mile (one way)/11.4 mile (round trip).
Soldiers Pass Trail - is a moderate trail that offers a back country feel yet is almost located in the middle of town. Sandwiched between Brins Ridge and Capitol Butte (a.k.a. Thunder Mountain), this trail offers everything you would expect from a great trail. The trail rolls through a number of arroyos, past the area’s largest sinkhole (Devils Kitchen), along the “Seven Sacred Pools,” then up 509 feet atop Brins Mesa. The highlight of the trail is the impressive sinkhole which was reported as a major collapse event in the 1880’s (retold by Albert E. Thompson in 1968) and then a secondary event in 1989 increased the size of the sinkhole by 1/3 (large block on the northern wall).
Biking in Sedona- There are several places you can rent bikes for the family or for the trail-hungry explorers. You can find specialized bikes, pivot bikes, and KHS bicycles. You can even attach a "Go Pro Camera" to your bike to record your trip to take home and share with your friends. Local Bike shops are: Over The Edge Sedona Bike shop (928-282-1106), Absolute Bikes
( 928-284-1242)or Bike and Bean(928-284-0210) . Absolute Bikes has women- specific choices and is located close to The Bell Rock trail. There are also Tour bike services you can hire if you are more comfortable with a guide. Water is a key component of your trip. So be wise, be prepared.
Art in Sedona- Galleries abound in Sedona and you could visit a different Gallery every day for a year. Check out The Melting Potint Gallery at 1449 State Route 89A, Suite 1 across from Whole Foods. Check and see if they are doing a tour during your visit. The Hot Shop next door offers an observation room of artist at work and Torch Studio has a schedule of classes for students interested in creating smaller scale glass projects. They are a member of Sedona Visual Arts Coalition. Check their calendar for other ideas. (sedonaartistscoalition.org/events/) The Goldstein Gallery on DryCreek is a also a favorite. I visit often just to see Sherab Khandro's work. If you are lucky enough to meet her, you will go home with visually charged images that never leave your heart.
In addition there is Tlaquepaque , Sedona’s Arts & Crafts Village, nestled beneath the shade of huge sycamores on the banks of the famous Oak Creek. It is a village of over 40 artisan boutiques and galleries. On a hot summer day, this is the soothing environment to chose for the afternoon. There is a great breakfast/lunch spot called “The Secret Garden”. Sit under the sycamores with an iced tea and an amazing salad on the serene patio. Take a stroll after lunch, visit Bear Cloud's gallery to see hit latest native spirit paintings. He focuses on a single painting each year. Stroll across the avenue to Vom Fass and pick up a custom cask-aged vinegar, exquisite oil, select wine, or curated spirits direct from the cask. My favorite oils are tangerine or pistachio. They also ship. There is a microbrewery bistro , Oak Creek Brewery, that offers flights of wine and micro brews for lunch or dinner. There are so many wonderful things in Tlaquepaque for you to discover, I’ll leave the rest to you.
Sedona hosts Art & Crafts shows- On many weekends, there is an artist show at Bell Rock Plaza that features 35-55 local artisians. They show paintings, leather, jewelry, crystals, metal sculpture, wood carvings, and Native American arts and crafts. If you are lucky, there will be some metaphysical artists and jewelers participating. Look for Clay from Tronic Rocks and Jewelry. Their wire wrapped jewelry is amazing and each of his pieces has a story. Check the local calendar when you arrive at : visitarizona.com They list Fairs & Festivals, Music & Theater, Heritage & Culture, Family Events, Culinary Events, Sports, and American Indian Culture.
Star Gazing in Sedona- The most incredible star gazing is available from the backyard. Sedona’s dark sky will fascinate starhoppers, UFO watchers and trekkies. Zentricity's back deck faces due west. The house is equipped with Orion Astronomical binoculars for a closer look at the planets and stars. You can resolve the faint moons of Jupiter and see the constellation of Pleiades. There is planisphere in the house to seasonally help you find your way. If you are game for another level of adventure, Kim Carlsberg offers UFO and orb tours. She offers night vision gear on the tour to fully experience the mind-boggling intensity of the Milky Way. Contact Kim for the unidentified flying objects experience ( 805-815-8989). Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff is a 45-minute drive up Oak Canyon. You can tell we are sky-crazed at the house. The bunk room has 2 laser sky show projectors mounted in the room. We are all children at heart and maybe some of us really are star children.
DINING IN SEDONA
Located at the Arabella, 771 State Route 179, Sedona AZ 86336
Consistently listed as one of the top restaurants in Sedona, Elote Café at the Arabella Hotel Sedona is a favorite local destination five nights a week. The Mexican-inspired menu features traditional Mexican and Southwest fare that have been “upscaled” with locally grown ingredients. Prices are reasonable, but they are closed on Sunday and Monday and don’t accept phone reservations. It is a popular place, so plan to have a leisurely drink on the large outside patio while you wait for a table. Sip a traditional fresh lime margarita, choose a specialty cocktail (ginger rosemary or cucumber lime margaritas), or local beers. For starters, the pork belly tacos, guacamole and fire roasted corn salsa are delicious. The smoked brisket enchiladas, lamb adobo and smoked chicken enchiladas are definite main event favorites at our table. All of the desserts are delicious!
Located at 1060 N Main St, Cottonwood, AZ 86326
Located at the end of the Old Town Cottonwood strip, Bocce offers appetizers, salads, paninis and pizzas. The family-friendly fare is very popular among the locals and visitors, especially on weekends. The late night kitchen (serving until 10pm) and late night bar are very popular with the younger social set. The guacamole, roasted beet salad and just about any pizza you try get rave reviews. Gluten free options are available. Ask for Zach when you arrive....with Zach, you will get great personality, service and food. Bocce is a wonderful spot for lively conversations with family around a wood-fired pizza pie... or to enjoy a drink with friends around the fire pit on the outside patio.
Cafe Paleo Brio Healthy Kitchen
1650 Hwy 89A
This is a great place to chow down on healthy fare after a day of hiking. The menu features a lean menu of organic grass-fed beef, bison,wild salmon, organic chicken, or a great bean burger. Most ingredients are regionally sourced, offering gluten-free, primal meat and vegetarian choices. You can create your own healthy paleo bowl or plate from the numerous choices of protein, veggies and sauces. The Rose lavender ice cream is a must. If you are craving healthy and a casual environment at an affordable price, this is your gluten-free spot.
671 State Rt 179- Hillside Suite D / 928-862-4099 / 11:30am-9pm / Yes, call ahead for a Reservation
This is one of my favorites in Sedona....I love this place for the food, service and spectacular views on the outside deck. This industrial-chic, casual restaurant offers a diverse menu, from chicken wings and sliders to prime ribeyes and filet mignon steaks. Try the Prosciutto, marscapone and black fig bruchetta with a glass of your favorite white wine for a relaxing, unforgettable sunset experience. Then move on to one of their great salads, butternut ravioli pasta, BBQ braised pork tacos or peppercorn New York steaks. The deconstructed banana cream pie and bread pudding are both delicious with a nightcap of your choice. Specialty wines are featured, such as the Page Springs Cellars Barrio Blanca or the Famille Perrin Organic Cotes du Rhone. There is a daily happy hour so the full service bar is always buzzing! Make sure to call ahead for a reservation. Park on the upper level at Hillside for easy access to the restaurant entrance.
7000 State Route 179 in Village of Oak Creek / 928-284-3010
This is one of my favorites in Sedona....I love this place for the food, service and spectacular views on the outside deck. This industrial-chic, casual restaurant offers a diverse menu, from chicken wings and sliders to prime ribeyes and filet mignon steaks. Try the Prosciutto, marscapone and black fig bruchetta with a glass of your favorite white wine for a relaxing, unforgettable sunset experience. Then move on to one of their great salads, butternut ravioli pasta, BBQ braised pork tacos or peppercorn New York steaks. The deconstructed banana cream pie and bread pudding are both delicious with a nightcap of your choice. Specialty wines are featured, such as the Page Springs Cellars Barrio Blanca or the Famille Perrin Organic Cotes du Rhone. There is a daily happy hour so the full service bar is always buzzing! Make sure to call ahead for a reservation. Park on the upOne of four upscale restaurants owned by local food diva, Lisa Dahl. Outstanding ambiance and fine-dining experience with an Italian flair. This little slice of Italy is very popular on the weekends, so definitely call for a reservation. They offer homemade fresh pasta dishes, vegetarian, organic and seafood selections. The restaurant sells Lisa’s cook book, the Elixir of Life which is outstanding. You won’t be disappointed.per level at Hillside for easy access to the restaurant entrance.
Desert Flour Bakery & Bistro
6446 State Route 179 in Village of Oak Creek / 928-284-4633
A great place for home-made breakfasts, pastries, and breads. Their signature, fresh chocolate croissants have a cult following.... be there before 8am, or the croissants will be gone! They serve Starbucks coffee too.
525 Boynton Canyon Road / 888-250-1699
Features five different restaurants in a spectacular canyon setting. Choose from tapas, casual dining, wine bar, very fine dining or clubhouse atmospheres. Better bring a credit card, because it is pricey!
Indian's Garden Cafe
3951 N Route 89A in in Oak Creek Canyon / 928-282-7702 / Open 7:30 am to 5:00 pm.
An historic trading post converted to a restaurant. Order inside, then retreat to the outdoor garden to dine. Towering sycamore trees provide much needed cooling shade for hot Sedona afternoons. Breakfast and lunch fare with a twist. Try the toasted melted brie, peppered bacon, and fig sandwich or the massaged kale and squash salad with maple mustard dressing.
Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill
700 West State Route 89A / 928-862-4444
The latest of Lisa Dahl’s culinary gifts, this is an amazing new upscale restaurant. People swear this restaurant has the best steak they have ever eaten in their life! As you turn into the restaurant driveway, the path to the restaurant is flanked with vortex torch lighting. The front door is a work of art and the bar is cozy and inviting. You will definitely need a reservation, and ask for JB. Tell him that the “Carolina Girls” sent you. The wine list is the best in Sedona and the service is impeccable.
New York Bakery & Deli
1350 Highway 89A, West Sedona / 928-204-1242
Definitely the best bagels in town. Delicious lox with cream cheese, capers, red onion and tomato piled high on a toasted bagel. Really reminds me of New York. They have fresh pastries, almond horns, pizza, salads and dog treats! A great place to get breakfast before your morning hike.
Nick's on the West Side
2920 Hwy 89A (next to Giant Gas) / 928-204-2088
Local bar with basic burgers, Mexican food, and breakfast all day. Nick
personally makes all of the cinnamon rolls and homemade desserts.
Nic's Italian Steak and Crab House
925 Main Street, Cottonwood AZ. / 926-634-9626
A beautiful 18 mile drive thru Big Sky country....both the drive and the food are definitely worth it! Features Italian dishes, steaks and seafood.
Oak Creek Bakery
336 Rte. 179 Sedona AZ / 928- 282-3300
Located inside Tlaquepaque Village, this restaurant provides craft beers and great food. There is terrace seating or indoor seating. I like the wood-fired flat bread pizzas, tower of French fries with 3 sauces, all of their salads are good. And the salmon is delicious....the best salmon I’ve had in such a land-locked place!
Picazzo's Healthy Italian Kitchen
1855 W. Highway 89A, Sedona / 928-282-4140
Local chain focused on providing a clean dining experience, including organic, vegan and gluten-free fare. They have the best pizza and salads in Sedona.
2245 W Hwy 89A, Sedona, AZ 86336 / 928-282-5472
Another venture by restauranteur Lisa Dahl. They have an amazing Caesar salad that is meant for two, but I had no problem eating it all myself! The chicken breast is hit or miss...it can be great one day and dry the next. Pizza’s are delicious! It is a great place to take the family...plus you can get quality gelato or cannoli’s for dessert!
671 HWY 179- Second Floor-D Sedona, AZ
It's a great place to catch the sunset with a local Martini. Sit out on the deck, relax and soak in those last golden rays of the day.