World Facts Index > United States > Sedona

Sedona is a community of diverse cultures and interests. Recently named by American Styles Magazine as one of five top art destinations by polled readers, Sedona has evolved from a small agricultural community into an artists sanctuary and tourists dream. Four major regions offer significant contributions to Greater Sedona. You'll find lovely accommodations and year-round comfort with more than 40 galleries, unique shops and countless attractions. Four visitors centers are offered at each gateway which feature maps and local information.

The Village of Oak Creek

Located on the Southernmost end of Sedona is the Village of Oak Creek, which offers premier galleries, shops and a superb shopping experience at the charming Tlaquepaque , a recreated Mexican Village. Galleries and shops nearby offer alternative browsing and spiritual enlightenment. Find the Sedona Golf Resort with fine dining at the Grill at Shadow Rock. This area is also called the Chapel area, due to the proximity to the ascetic Chapel of the Holy Cross, designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. The Village area offers upscale dining, golf, tennis, shopping and accommodations including the Poco Diablo Resort, the suites at DoubleTree and Wildflower Inn.

The fiery-hued rock formations you'll find in this area include the famous Bell Rock, with its energy vortex, the wonderful Courthouse Butte and adjacent to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, the stately Two Nuns formation.

Drink in fresh air and experience elevating surroundings while you continue up Highway 179 toward Sedona proper. Look all around you, at the fabulous colors, shapes and forms of the Submarine Rock, Elephant Rock and the easily identifiable reclining Snoopy Rock. At the "Y" junction of highways 179 and 89A, you'll find fuel for the vehicle, a stoplight and a Visitor Center nearby.

Uptown Sedona

Turn right onto Highway 89A, and you're headed to Uptown Sedona. There are shops located in a major retail plaza along the highway that are convenient and within easy walking distance. Native American arts, jewelry and accessories are featured, as well as top-notch Southwestern clothing.

Rich in culture, the Uptown area offers the Sedona Arts Center, which includes a school and gallery, with juried works exhibited by various artists. Theatrical productions are also produced here, home to the professional Oak Creek Theatre Company. Next, pay a visit to the Sedona Heritage Museum, the original farmstead of one of Sedonas founding families, the Jordans. Exhibits include written narratives, vintage orchard equipment and photographs, which depict the areas early history.

Outstanding accommodations in hotels and intimate bed & breakfasts are offered in Uptown. These include the European-style L'Auberge de Sedona. Rattlesnake sausage and a Pink Lizard to wash it down is featured at the nearby Cowboy Club.

Oak Creek Canyon

Follow Highway 89A North through one of the most beautiful scenic drives in America, as noted by Rand-McNally. The tree-lined canyon offers quiet austerity and invokes self-reflection as you meander through it. Particularly beautiful after a rain, tiny waterfalls race down canyon walls enveloped in mist.

Many secluded spots here offer sanctuary and quiet rooms, with space to relieve your mind of daily stresses and anxiety. Creekside is a wonderful and romantic honeymooning space to revel in love and dream of the future. Find charming accommodations at locations like the Junipine Resort, with its rustic yet appealing Junipine Cafe.

Hiking and fishing are two favorite pastimes at Oak Creek. Bring your fishing license during the warm months when the creek is well stocked. Take a seat on the sun-warmed rocks and contemplate in the satisfying natural world.

Dappled sunlight reflects on the water at natures playground at Slide Rock State Park. Bring your camera as children at play frolic down the 30-foot natural rock slide. Easy hiking surrounds the area; wear comfortable shoes with plenty of traction because the path is often slippery.

Camping is also offered in the Canyon, on a first-come basis. Single fee units in six areas are highly popular during the summer because many Phoenix residents arrive to escape the scorching heat.

If you follow Highway 89A north, you'll eventually see Steamboat Rock and arrive in Flagstaff, which features the largest Ponderosa Pine forest in the world. Just a few miles West of Flagstaff, off I-40, you'll find skiing and the original Route 66 running through the charming town of Williams. This is also the town where you catch the train to see the Grand Canyon National Park for a scenic day trip.

West Sedona

Wind your way back down Highway 89A through the switchbacks and Canyon to the "Y" junction at Highway 179 in downtown Sedona. Travel straight through this intersection to enjoy the many faces of Sedonas West side. You'll find interesting shops, fine dining including Fournos Restaurant, grocery stores and quaint bed & breakfasts like the Lantern Light Inn.

Sedonas airport is located on the West side, offering activities like barnstorming the canyon at the Red Rock Biplane Tours, or rise to meet the red monoliths in an aircraft from AeroVista. Another powerful vortex is located near the airport.

Growing by leaps and bounds, this area has acquired a beautiful new Cultural Park and Visitor Center, which opened in the Summer of 2000. Featured at the hub of the parks 50 acres is the new Georgia Frontiere Performing Arts Pavilion. Home to the annual Jazz on the Rocks concert in September, and the Sedona Ecofest benefit event in October, this ampitheatre features unique openwork architecture.

From this vantage point, enjoy panoramic Northern views of the Cockscomb, Chimney Rock, and the majestic Coffee Pot Rock. Superior photo ops are not to be missed, so drag out that camera again and be ready! Nearby interpretive signs along paths and hiking trails are available to nature lovers, as well as picnic tables and ramadas. Loads of information on the red rock region is waiting inside the Visitor Center facility. Further up to Boynton Canyon, find the exquisite accommodation at the Enchantment Resort.

Drive a little further west, then head south down the Upper Red Rock Loop Road for a satisfying journey into the Red Rock State Park. If you'd prefer a nice paved road, take the Lower Red Rock Loop Road which is located a little further west and doubles back. Red Rock Parks fee area offers a picnic retreat at Red Rock Crossing, but there are no overnight camping facilities. A popular bed & breakfast is not far away, at the Cathedral Rock B & B. Enjoy the beautiful view of the Cathedral Rock and feel the energy which flows from another vortex.

Continue westward on Highway 89A toward Clarkdale, this area offers opportunities to study ancient rock art at several sites. Pueblo ruins at Palatki and Honanki are closest to Sedona, and a little further out you'll discover Tuzigoot National Monument in Clarkdale.

If you have some leisure time, be sure and hop on the wilderness train at Clarkdale for an enjoyable journey by rail through red-laced canyons. Jerome, which offers more ruins at Tuzigoot National Monument and Cottonwood, which offers an historic area. Originally mining towns, these towns are now a hub for artists and tourists. Jerome offers unusual charm, with shops and homes built on the sharp incline of a slowly sliding mountain slope.

South of Sedona off I-17 you'll find Rimrock and Lake Montezuma. Attractions include the Yavapai-Apaches Cliff Castle Casino as well as ancient cliff dwellings nearby at Montezumas Castle and Well. There is a visitors center at Montezumas Castle with visual exhibits and interpretive trails. Play a relaxing round of golf and a bite to eat at the Beaver Creek Golf Resort in Rimrock.

History of Sedona

This heavenly location is a tourist haven, offering spacious panoramic views like no other. At an elevation of 4,500 feet, the average year-round temperature is about 74 degrees, avoiding the extremes of neighboring cities Flagstaff and Phoenix. Appealing to visitors from all over the world, this is the second most popular attraction in Arizona, right behind the Grand Canyon National Park.

Sedonas earliest history was written upon the face of the land with tremendous earthly upheavals, intense heat and incredible elemental force. The entire Verde Valley was once covered by seas, and the withdrawal of these waters created dynamic earthly changes. Erosion and time have designed fanciful rock formations in memorable hues of red and orange which erupt in vivid color at days end.

The earliest human remnants were left by ancient peoples referred to as the Desert Culture, from which sprang the Anasazi and Hohokam groups among others. Anasazi is a Navajo name, which when translated means "the ancient ones who are not us." Some researchers believe that the Hopi tribe, which currently reside on mesas farther north and east, are direct descendants of this culture. Research suggests that the Hopi may, in fact, have originated from the Anasazi group.

The Sinagua, whose Spanish name means "without water", were a hardy agrarian society who dry farmed and traded extensively in the area from about 1100-1400 AD. Commerce was not limited to nearby tribes, but flourished as a hub, trading with groups from the Pacific coastal regions as well as from South America. Salt and copper were major exported items, while imported products included exotic bird feathers from South America and shells from the West Coast. There are indications that point to many tribes putting aside differences for celebrations and religious ceremonies which took place in this region.

Traces of these ancient civilizations can be found hidden in the remains of the great pueblos which once housed them. The Palatki ruin, constructed by the Sinagua and located between Sedona and Clarkdale, offers glimpses of the past depicted through charcoal rock drawings of snakes and Kokopelli. Researchers believe that some of these pictographs were actually the identifying symbols of a particular family or clan. It is believed that as many as 50 people may have once resided in these two pueblos. Honanki, another nearby Sinaguan ruin, held as many as 60 rooms and the structure quality is considered "world-class."

Southeast of Sedona you'll find Montezumas Castle and nearby Montezumas Well, fabulous examples of cliff dwellings which were also built by the Sinagua people in the same time period. The area was originally occupied by the Hohokam, who farmed the bottomland using a unique irrigation system, which extended for more than a mile from the fresh springs of Montezumas Well.

When the volcanic ash remains from an eruption farther north drew the Hohokam to more fertile lands, the Sinagua people settled in. Many changes took place for the people at this point; some theorize that they borrowed masonry techniques from the Anasazi to the north, building above ground dwellings for the first time. The Sinagua also began using the irrigation techniques of the Hohokam. Early in the 15th century, these people vanished from the area for reasons that remain a mystery.

These early cultures left traces etched and painted on the surfaces of immoveable rocks. These renderings are referred to as "rock art" and consist of petroglyphs, which are designs etched or scratched into the rock, as well as pictographs, where symbols are painted or drawn on. Canyon walls are also decorated with the artistic creations of these people. One Anasazi figure believed to represent fertility repeats throughout Pueblo Indian ruins in the four corners region and is called "Kokopelli." This image appears as a humpbacked flute player and is a common figure found on local pottery and jewelry. Native American stories describe him as a traveling musician and scoundrel, who carried blankets, babies and seeds in his back with which he used to seduce maidens.

Unfortunately, many of these images have become damaged by visitors who do not realize how fragile and important they are. Oils from the skin will attract dirt and actually damage the pigments on the rock, so its vital to look, but don't touch. Some visitors have inscribed walls with their own initials, permanently defacing the remains. Local forestry service workers are responsible for the protection of these remains, and anyone who damages these ruins may pay a fee of up to $100,000. Please leave any visited areas the way you found them so that others may also discover and enjoy them.

Europeans first arrived in this region in 1583, with a group of Spanish explorers, in search of legendary native mines in the 16th century.

By the early 20th century there were about 20 families squatting here, and one of these first settlers was T.C. Schnebly and his wife. Schnebly recognized the need for mail service and petitioned the first post office, recommending several names. After his suggested names were rejected by the Postmaster General due to their length, Schneblys brother suggested that he use his wifes first name, at which point the area officially became Sedona.

Abundant apples and peaches were Sedonas first industry, soon to be surpassed by tourism as awareness of the areas breathtaking panorama increased. Artists, including Max Ernst and others, started moving into the area by the middle of the 20th century, drawn like magnets by the regions dramatic scenery and incomparable views.

Dramatic colors, scenery and open spaces scream to be captured and recorded on film. More than 70 movies were filmed in this area over the years. More than 40 of these were filmed at A Territorial House, a local bed and breakfast. Red Rock Crossings film history includes many titles like the 1950s Broken Arrow, starring James Stewart and Johnny Guitar with Joan Crawford.

Most recently, tourism accounts largely for the local economic base. The U.S. Forestry service has estimated that about four million visitors enjoy the red rocks region annually. Fine dining, artwork and incomparable views attract discerning travelers.

Major visitor attractions here include four Energy Vortexes which are purported to have spiritual healing properties. Visitors the world over come to experience the power which emanates from the red earth in four specific areas. These points include Bell Rock, Boynton Canyon, Table-top Mountain and the mystical Cathedral Rock. Local psychics and healers offer guidance and support while you climb the ladder of spiritual growth and centering.

Choose to listen to the quiet whisperings of the past as you gaze at ancient ruins, or raise your awareness in the throes of spiritual energies at the vortexes. Certainly you'll be altered forever by the quiet unfolding drama of the canyon and creek below, and from ebullient colors which shout and echo from the rocks above.

The Weather

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. High 56 60 64 72 82 94 96 94 87 77 64 56
Avg. Low 28 31 34 40 47 56 64 62 56 47 36 28
Mean 44 46 50 57 65 75 80 78 72 62 51 44
Avg. Precip. 1.7 in 1.8 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 0.6 in 0.4 in 1.8 in 2.1 in 2.0 in 1.5 in 1.6 in 1.8 in


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