About Sedona, Arizona
What we now know as the city of Sedona was originally named after the wife of the postmaster T.C. Schnebly in the early 1900s, “Sedona Schnebly.” This great city began as a quiet agricultural community.
In the early 1940s and 1950s production companies in Hollywood began using Sedona as a movie location, shooting such classics as Apache and Billy the Kid.
In the 1960s and ’70s the beauty of the surroundings, especially the red rocks, the Oak Creek Canyon, and and its meandering Oak Creek, started attracting retirees, artists and tourists in large numbers and the town prolific growth.
Native American tribes have long regarded the area around Sedona as sacred, to be used only for special ceremonies. Around 1980, New Agers began finding vortexes – specially charged areas of energy – giving rise to a new and thriving spiritual industry in the area.
Locations such as Bell Rock, Airport Mesa and Boynton Canyon attract visitors in large numbers throughout the year.
Rapid, poorly controlled growth took the area somewhat by surprise and the strip malls look out of place among the red-rock scenery, notably in West Sedona, yet the Uptown area and Oak Creek Canyon still maintain a more pristine, old West feel.
In recent years the town has made efforts to blend in with its surroundings (the Sedona McDonald’s lacks the famous golden arches; instead, pastel green arcs are painted on a pink stuccoed wall). Tourist development has beengeared toward the high-end curiously blended with the psychic.
Nestled among crimson sandstone formations at the southern end of Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona benefits from one of the most scenic locations in Arizona.
Sedona is the foremost New Age center in the Southwest and one of the most important anywhere. Here you will find a plethora of alternative thinkers along with dozens of conventional churches and places of worship.
Nestled among crimson sandstone formations at the southern end of Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona benefits from one of the most scenic locations in Arizona. Sedona is the foremost New Age center in the Southwest and one of the most recognized worldwide.
In the ’70s, the Sedona Area began attracting artists and tourists in large numbers, but it wasn’t until around 1980, when the New Age community began touting Sedona’s vortexes (points where the earth’s energy is focused) that the New Age community really started coming to Sedona.
Today, Sedona’s New Age Information Center offers lectures, seminars, psychic readings, massage bodywork, and vortex information. Likewise, the Healing Center of Arizona offers anything from an hour in a sauna to several days of holistic healing, reasonably priced vegetarian meals and as much acupressure, massage, yoga, nutrition counseling, herbology, tai chi, meditation and psychic channeling as you can handle.
Various other New Age outfits in town – look for the word ‘crystal’ in their names – distribute free maps showing the vortex sites and sell books, gems and other New Age goods.
The Chapel is reached from Uptown Sedona by taking 179 south and proceeding to Chapel Rd. where you go left and drive to the end of the road. On our visit a guide directed us up the hill to the parking lot. There is a steep climb from the parking area so use caution and wear comfortable shoes.
There is a parking area at the top for the physically challenged. The Chapel is open from 9am to 5pm daily and closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, Good Friday and Easter.
There is a downstairs gift shop that is not to be missed- unique religious articles including a large selection of unusual crosses and rosaries of native stones.
Make sure you wear sturdy shorts over your swimsuit or you may just end up with “rock burn” on your legs or a missing bathing suit. Although the park is often busy, you can easily hike upstream to find peace and seclusion.
There are many spots where you can sit in the water and let it flow around you, or find a nearby rock in one of the natural whirlpool areas and let the water pull all the stress out of your feet. This is great fun for the family or friends of all ages.
You can drive yourself, go north from Phoenix for two hours, and you’ll discover a place of awesome beauty and powerful energy. The strong Arizona sun and the crisp desert air make Sedona’s dramatic red rock formations seem even more spectacular, but the real magic is not perceived by any of the five conventional senses.
If you’ve never been able to feel the force of Nature or sacred places, then Sedona is an excellent place to learn how. Sedona’s peaceful beauty, its rich history and colorful folklore, its unique flora and fauna and fascinating geology are enticing many visitors to spend a few days, explore these lands and take advantage of the many activities offered here.
Sedona has much to offer for all visitors – for the culturally interested, for thrill-seekers and active types, and for those looking to get away from it all and recharge.
If you decide to stay in town and on foot to get a good first look around, Sedona’s uptown with its many shops, galleries, trading posts and restaurants offers a splendid way to pass an afternoon. Make sure you also stop in at the Sedona Heritage Museum on Jordan Road, where you can catch a glimpse of the town’s demeanor 100 years ago. Uptown Sedona is also within walking distance of Tlaquepaque, an idyllic artisan village and shopping plaza modeled after a colonial Mexican town of the same name. Just a few steps further, across the bridge spanning Oak Creek, you can explore some of Sedona’s best art galleries along Highway 179.
Are you more the outdoors type, but not looking for exertion? Journey into the red rocks on a jeep tour or take the bird´s eye approach with a scenic air tour on an airplane or helicopter. Would you like to get up close and personal with Sedona’s majestic landscape, and don´t balk at a bit of exercise? Why not take an amazing Sedona hike, test your skills on a exhilarating Sedona mountain biking trip, or explore these lands the old-fashioned way – on a horseback ride.
Are you interested in learning more about Sedona without breaking into a sweat or venturing into remote desert territory? Hop on board a Sedona Tour and enjoy an entertaining and knowledgeable introduction to this town’s major attractions, its history and stories as well as its unique geology and desert life.
Or are you set on discovering Sedona’s treasures on your own? Take a scenic drive! Just a few miles to the south of Sedona along Highway 179, Bell Rock awaits, one of Sedona’s most famous and well-photographed Sedona red rock formations. Along the way, be sure to stop at the Chapel of the Holy Cross on Chapel Road. This architectural and spiritual milestone is certainly a must-see for Sedona visitors. Top it all off with a visit to Sedona’s Airport Mesa, which features a breathtaking vista point especially popular at sunset. And be sure not to miss a unique Sedona experience at one of Sedona’s most famous vortex spots: feel out the magic energy of our airport vortex, halfway up Airport Road!
Nature lovers may want to explore in the opposite direction, where one of the most scenic drives in the United States awaits: Oak Creek Canyon. Just north of town, 89a winds up this awe-inspiring gorge, below fantastic red rock cliffs and along the clear waters of Oak Creek. Slide Rock State Park, a series of natural water slides and pools located right along this drive, is a fantastic way to spend the afternoon with the whole family on a summer day.
Those who would like to combine their explorations of the breathtaking scenery with an adventure into ancient cultures are advised to take a drive along Dry Creek Road to Sedona’s western canyons, where the ancient ruins of a thousand-year-old cliff-dwelling culture hold archaeological treasures. Upon your return, take advantage of the proximity of Dry Creek Road to Upper Red Rock Loop Road and drive down to Red Rock State Park. Enjoy the creekside beauty of Crescent Moon Recreation area and don’t forget to snap the famous picture of Cathedral Rock at sunset.
If you’re drawn even further out, continue on 89a west and visit Jerome, one of Arizona’s most famous ghost towns, only about a 40-minute drive away. Today, this former mining town is a thriving little artist community full of studios, galleries and curio shops. Perched on the slopes of Mingus mountain, Jerome also offers a spectacular view of the red rocks from afar. While you’re there, hop onboard the Verde Canyon Railroad in Clarkdale at the foot of Mingus Mountain, and enjoy a beautifully scenic ride along the Verde River into the vast desert canyons.
Sounds like there’s enough to do in and around Sedona to fill a few days? There sure is. Sedona has something for almost everyone – and it’s no coincidence that we like to say: You gotta come back! If you need help or advice for your Sedona experience, please click on the following link: