Take a break from the routine of city life and get outdoors to enjoy some much-needed nature therapy. Known for monolithic red canyons, unpolluted skies and easy access to trails, the city is a haven for those looking to spend their days outdoors where you have room to roam.
Treat yourself to this stunning landscape that stops many in their tracks to admire the natural wonder surrounding them. There are multiple ways to spend your days outdoors in this incredible land. Hiking is an obvious must, but you can easily explore by biking, climbing the rocks, fishing, horseback riding, golfing and more. Outdoor lovers must adhere to the Leave No Trace rules to protect the wellbeing of Sedona.
Picnic at a Park With a View
While Sedona has plenty of fabulous restaurants with sweeping views of the canyons, it’s advised to take your meals to the great outdoors, as long as you pack out your trash. Consider one of the seven top picnic spots to unwind and enjoy a meal with an incredible view in front of you. One of the most jaw-dropping spots to have a picnic is Red Rock State Park, a 286-acre land with majestic red rocks jagging upward from the ground, giving the park a Mars-like atmosphere. You can venture out on a hike before or after your meal. Tailgating and propane barbeques are allowed. You may spot wildlife on your hike such as javelinas, mule deer, coyote, lizards and hundreds of species of birds.
Jordan Historical Park is a 4.8 acre-wide haven for nature enthusiasts and history lovers. The park is open daily from dawn until dusk with no admission fee. It features interpretive nature trails, picnic tables and a large fruit orchard. The park is the site of the former homestead of Walter and Ruth Jordan. The park honors the earliest settlers in the 1870s through the heyday of western film making in the 1950s.
If you’re bringing young children, Sunset Park can easily accommodate your family with a picnic on the large grassy field. The park also has two tennis courts and a frisbee field. Leashed dogs are welcomed in this park. After your meal, go for a scenic hike on the Lollipop Trail that’s accessible at Sunset Park to explore the wonders of the Coconino National Forest.
Or go for a panoramic view of the red rocks at Posse Grounds Pavillion, where you and the family can also enjoy a picnic and quality time. There’s something for everyone at this park including, a skate park, dog park, and two tennis courts.
If you’re a seasoned hiker, pack some lunches into your backpack and hike the Brins Mesa Trailhead in the heart of the Coconino National Forest. There are multiple locations along the trail to rest up for a picnic, including on top of some of the red rocks to get a bird’s-eye view of the land. Be sure to bring along a map so you can keep on the lookout for popular rock formations such as Coffee Pot Rock, Chimney Rock, Wilson Mountain and more during your hike. Deeper into the Coconino National Forest is Crescent Moon Ranch at Red Rock Crossing. Groups can enjoy their meals with a full-scale view of the world-famous Cathedral Rock at one of its picnic tables. Another spot if you’re an avid hiker is the Girdner Trailhead that’s 9.8 miles long and takes you through a rich wilderness and a river. Camping overnight is permitted, and hikers should plan accordingly to the weather for safe exploring.
Food That Fuels
Sedona makes it easy for you to find snacks and meals to pack for your hikes/picnic. One place is Secret Gardens Cafe centrally located, where visitors can get a healthy sandwich or a salad bowl to go. Whole Foods, Safeway and Bashas Markets have pre-made meals ready for you to grab. Don’t forget to stock up on trail mix, health bars or fresh fruit to sustain your energy. For vegans, ChocolaTree can easily wrap up some meals and desserts for you to take.
Taking Care of Sedona
To learn more about the area and where to discover hikes, purchase Nine Easy Hikes. This is a popular hiking book that reveals hidden locations with spectacular views. It is $8.00 and all proceeds go to preserving Sedona’s wilderness. With the help of this guidebook, visitors can navigate through less-than-strenuous hiking routes while learning about the geology, flora and fauna of the region.
Locals take the preservation and upkeep of their land seriously. Before visiting the area, it’s encouraged to read the Sedona Cares Pledge, an unofficial set of golden rules with helpful tips like staying on the trail, leaving no trash behind and staying silent to respect the wildlife. You can do more to get involved than taking the pledge. You can become a Sedona Trail Keeper. If it’s within your budget, a trail keeper’s business will donate $1,000 annually toward a cause to maintain the trails in the Coconino National Forest. Multiple businesses contribute as a trail keeper including R.E.I Co-op, Courtyard by Marriott, and smaller establishments like a pizzeria and a law firm. Maintaining a healthy trail is not cheap and costs up to $400,000 annually. Without the generous donations of committed trail keepers, we wouldn’t know Sedona as the outdoors utopia it is today.