Sedona, AZ, is often called "Red Rocks Country"; the geologic backdrop of this stunning city inspires many to get out and explore the great outdoors. Surrounded on 3 sides by breathtaking red-rock formations named Coffeepot, Cathedral and Thunder Mountain, with Oak Creek Canyon to the city's north, Sedona is a year-round playground. Lace up, put on the SPF and grab your water bottle, these are our favorite Sedona outdoor activities.
An exhilarating open-air tour of Sedona's desert countryside is the perfect start to your adventurous Arizona vacation. Operating since 1949, A Day in the West is Sedona's oldest continually owned family tour business. The outfitter offers a wide variety of tours, knowledgeable guides and modified Jeeps that allow exploration of canyons and high desert peaks -- a day spent with these cowboys is one you won't soon forget. Choose from their Jeep and Winery package that includes a tasting at Oak Creek Vineyards or the extreme Diamondback tour, an adrenaline-packed ride through some serious canyons.
Other companies offering unique 4-wheeled romps through Sedona's backcountry are Pink Jeep Tours and Arizona Safari Jeep Tours. Buckle up with Pink Jeep and ride into the Grand Canyon or take the mysterious Rock Art Expedition. Arizona Safari Tours allow adventurous passengers to get up-close and personal with Sedona wildlife.
Exploring Sedona on foot can be a fulfilling experience, but you definitely don't have to go it alone. Take advantage of one of the many guided hikes by companies like Sedona Hiking Adventures. Tours are specifically geared to your interests and capabilities and include options for day hikes or multiday backpacking and camping adventures. Sedona Hiking Adventures even provide soulful moonlit tours of Sedona's red-rock country, an experience not to be missed.
For those looking for a more spiritual retreat, combination packages including yoga, hiking, meditation and camping are offered by outfits like Sedona Spirit Yoga and Hiking. Sign up for a 3-hour hike and yoga session or a 3-day retreat for exploration of the mind and spirit as well as the red rocks.
Find some green among the oranges, reds and browns of the Sedona desert. Arrange a tee time at the Sedona Golf Resort, a thrilling 6,646-yard, par-71 course that continuously receives a 4-star rating from "Golf Digest." The Oak Creek Country Club is another excellent green featuring tree-lined doglegs and slight elevations surrounded by large, swirling bunkers. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Jr., the course is one of the best in the American West.
Hot Air Ballooning
Take to the sky for some of the best views possible of Sedona's landscape. Most rides last between an hour to an hour and a half and some offer a picnic lunch upon landing. Sky High Balloon Adventures offer what they call "splash'n' dash" -- lowering the balloon momentarily so that it skims the surface of water winding its way through the red rocks. For early birds, this is a fantastic activity as most rides take off before dawn, allowing you to watch the sun rise over the rocks and canyons below.
If this scenery has you daydreaming about gun-slinging cowboys, saddle up for a day of exploration on horseback. Foothills Ranch located just outside Sedona will outfit you for rides lasting anywhere between 1 hour to a full day on the trails. Wander through remnants of pioneering towns, old mines and tall pines with your knowledgeable guides. Note that for the full day's ride, you need to have some experience on a horse.
Those who want to experience nearby Grand Canyon on horseback can choose from any number of companies taking daily trips into the Canyon. Canyon Trail Rides, and Equitours are 2 that will guide beginners through the wilderness surrounding the Grand Canyon and also provide a guided mule tour of the Canyon itself.