During the winter in Sedona, the crowds are fewer, the hotel rates are lower, but the variety of things to do is at its peak. This is when the gorgeous Red Rocks are often snow-capped, and the sunny blue skies and crisp weather are perfect for daytime hiking. Winter in Sedona means fun events, cozy evening fires and romantic dinner dates. Here are the top reasons to visit Sedona in the winter.
1. It’s a gorgeous time to be outside.
For some people, 80 degrees and sunny is the perfect weather forecast. But for others—especially those who like to be outside and get the heart rate up while hiking or running—a crisp 60 degrees is ideal. That’s what you get in Sedona during the winter. Most of the local outdoor recreation providers operate year-round here. During the winter in Sedona, you can go on a jeep tour (a very popular activity), where a certified driver will take you on some of the most scenic routes of the desert. You can also take a hot air balloon or a helicopter ride over the canyons, where you’ll get a spectacular bird’s-eye view of the area.
2. It’s also a great time to cozy up by the fire.
During the winter in Sedona, the daytime temperatures are perfect, and the evenings can get a little chilly. That means after a day of being outdoors, visitors love to retreat , cozy up by the fire and drink hot cocoa. Sedona is home to a variety of accommodation types, from resorts to cabins to bed-and-breakfast inns. Some have outdoor fire pits, where guests are welcome to make after-dinner s’mores and for wine lovers, a glass of local vino is the perfect recipe to end the night by the fire.
3. It’s slow season. Winter in Sedona is technically slow season, which means you’re more likely to find great hotel rates and availability. Without busier crowds, Sedona is more accessible—restaurants aren’t as full and guided tours have convenient vacancies.
4. It’s the perfect romantic getaway.
If you and your significant other are long overdue for a romantic getaway, visit Sedona in the winter. Travel + Leisure magazine named Sedona one of America’s most romantic winter destinations—ranking on par next to Hawaii, New York City and Charleston. “This spiritual desert oasis looks especially alluring in winter, when the rusty-red mountaintops are dusted white,” reads the T+L story. “With mild days and the crowds thinned out, solitude-seeking couples have Sedona’s spectacular hiking trails practically to themselves. Meandering drives through majestic canyons, sunrise hot-air balloon rides, and spa treatments all heighten the romance factor.” Sedona is a big-time spa destination, with many hotels and spas offering sessions for couples (winter discounts may apply at some). Couples are pampered with wine, soothing massages and aromatherapy. Dining out in Sedona is another popular thing to do during a winter retreat. Some local restaurants have stunning views of the snowy spires and many have seasonal delicacies to please your palate.
5. The events calendar is full. While Sedona is busy with fun festivals during warmer seasons, it’s teeming with lively events during the winter, too. Celebrating the holidays is a big deal in Sedona. Visitors may want to check out some of the many holiday-themed events: Sedona Northern Lights 3D Lightshow projected on Camelhead Rock; Blazin’ M Ranch Holiday Shows, Canyon Christmas Train at Verde Canyon Railroad and many more. During this time, visitors enjoy thousands of holiday lights and scheduled events like singing carolers and surprise visits from Santa Claus.
And it doesn’t end there; post-Christmas events include the Sedona Yoga Festival, where hundreds are invited to do exercises and meditate outside in the desert, the latest Sedona Vegfest weekend, and the world-famous RunSedona each February where runners enjoy an incredible red rock view, a challenging course, and perfect weather. Lovers of the arts may want to plan around the upcoming Sedona International Film Festival and Workshop in February for nine days viewing of over 160 films.