Written by: David Shimazaki and Julian Fenn
10/17/2012 3:37 PM
In the heart of Arizona lies the Red Rock Country. Huge awe inspiring sandstone monuments with dramatic reds and oranges make it a popular travel destination that people come from all around the world to see. This natural wonder was formed several million years ago when the uplifting of the Colorado Plateau that created the Grand Canyon also forced water to carve and sculpt out these red rocks. The landscape of the Red Rock Country has incredible features that can't be seen anywhere else, such as Sedona's energy vortexes of psychic energy, Cathedral Rock, Airport Mesa and Bell Rock. Red Rock Country also homes Oak Creek Canyon a breathtaking chasm that cuts 2,000 feet deep into the earth and runs 12 miles long. There is even the lush forest of ponderosas in the neighboring Coconino National Forest. This place has it all and is entirely bucket list worthy.
The main activities are sightseeing, hiking, and photography, but mountain biking, and horseback riding are also very popular.
When to Go
You can go year round. Summer months are hot, crowded and busy so try to avoid going then. We find it best to visit in the fall. It will cool down a little, it will be less crowded, and you'll get to see the cottonwoods turn yellow.
How to Get There
The closest commercial airport to the Red Rocks of Sedona is the Flagstaff Pulliam Airport - 25.3 miles away or 40 minutes.
The closest major international airport is the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport - About 120 miles or approximately 2 hours' drive.
Starting Oak Creek Canyon Drive from the North:From Flagstaff: Take Interstate 17S from Flagstaff and exit at US Highway 89A (Exit 337).From Phoenix: Take Interstate 17N, and exit at US Highway 89A (Exit 337).
How Long Should the Trip Be?
A trip to Red Rock Country can be made in one full day, but we recommend a two or three day trip in order to get the full experience of this very memorable area.
What to See and Do
One-Day Visit - Flagstaff to Sedona - 35 miles plus side trips.
Two-Day Visit - Flagstaff to Clarkdale - 55 miles plus side trips.
Complete stop points 1) to 5) as set out in the One-Day Visit above. Then check out Sedona for the evening. If you want a bit of r & r there are lots of great spas to choose from and a range of restaurant options. There are many campgrounds in and around Sedona to stay at.
Three-Day Visit - Flagstaff to Jerome - 60 miles plus side trips
Follow the itinerary for the first two days as set out in the Two-Day Visit.
A Daily Red Rock Pass ($5) or Weekly ($15) can be purchased at any of the visitor centers at the State Parks. These passes allow you to park at any of the designated pullouts to take a hike or have a picnic. A permit is not needed if you only wish to temporarily pullover for pictures. The pass is not for entry at the state parks which have their own fees. Slide Rock State Park costs $15-$20 fee per car depending on the season.
Bring plenty of drinking water, sunscreen and a hat. The temperature can be extreme and sometimes you will have little to no shade, so you can sunburn and dehydrate more easily.
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