The 7 Leave No Trace Principles of Sedona, AZ | Visit Sedona

The Leave No Trace principles

Mother Nature would like a word

There is nothing quite like a hike in nature to invigorate our senses, calm our spirits and feed our souls, whether you’re experiencing it as a hiker, mountain biker, camper or adventurer. Nature is the primary draw for the more than 3 million visitors to Sedona every year – a staggering number for a small mountain town.

That makes this a sobering fact: according to our partners at Leave No Trace – a global non-profit coalition of land management organizations, conservation organizations and the public –  9 out of 10 people don’t have enough education to practice all seven of the Leave No Trace principles in the outdoors. 

“Hold up,” you might be thinking. “That doesn’t apply to me, I practically live outdoors.” Or, “I don’t smoke, I pack out what I pack in, no way I’m one of the 90%.” Kudos to you if you’re right. But research has actually proven that most people overestimate their knowledge of how to leave no trace in nature. And that means even nature lovers run the risk of loving places like Sedona to death. 

Mother Nature is giving us not-so-subtle signs that we can all do more. In fact, it’s pretty clear she’d like a word with us – especially those of us passionate enough to do something to help. So even if you think this is a quiz you’d ace without studying, we’d like to invite you to read through the Leave No Trace principles and see if you don’t pick up a new idea or two. Ideas we hope you’ll embrace and share – whether you’re in Red Rock Country or your own back yard. 

 

The Sedona Leave No Trace 7 Principles

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare 

  • Visitors travel from near and far to explore Sedona’s unique landscape. Parking can fill up fast. Avoid the crowds and prevent further impacts by visiting during off times (summer and winter). 
  • Use the Sedona Shuttle to ease the stress on yourself and the environment by leaving your vehicle behind.
  • Once on the trails, carry a map or GPS and know how to use them. 
  • Keep your group safe by selecting an outing that matches your group’s abilities. 
  • Weather in Sedona can change quickly. Always be prepared and have a plan in case of emergency. 

2. Stick to Trails

  • Walk and ride on existing trails or durable surfaces to protect trailside plants. Durable surfaces include maintained trails, designated campsites, rock, gravel, sand or snow. 
  • Camp 200 feet from water sources to allow wildlife access to these areas. 
  • Camping is not allowed within Sedona’s city limits.

3. Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Carry bags to pack out all your trash including food scraps. Even items such as apple cores and orange peels can take up to two years to decompose and are an unhealthy food for wildlife. 
  • Proper disposal of human waste helps prevent water pollution and the transmission of disease, as well as any unpleasantness other campers may experience who find your refuse. In most locations, burying human waste in a cathole, 6-8 inches deep, is the most effective method to meet these criteria. In some areas, such as narrow river canyons, human waste must be packed out. 

4. Check Campfire Restrictions

  • Always check fire restrictions before having a fire. 
  • Consider lightweight camping stoves for cooking. They are safer, require no wood and are a lot faster. 
  • If fires are allowed, use an existing fire ring, keep fires small. 
  • When you are finished, dowse your fire with water until it is completely out.

5. Leave What You Find

  • Please don't mark trails or create cairns (rock stacks). In Sedona, cairns help keep visitors on the trail and building your own could cause other visitors to become lost. 
  • Do not disturb historic or prehistoric structures and artifacts. 
  • Leave natural objects such as antlers, bones or interesting rocks for others to enjoy. Antlers and bones also provide nutrient sources for rodents and other critters. 
  • Do not cut or carve into live plants and trees, which can expose them to disease. 

6. Respect Wildlife

  • Observe wild animals from a distance. Do not touch, approach or follow them. 
  • Never feed wildlife as this damages their health and alters their natural behaviors. 
  • Leash your pets or leave them at home.

7. Share the Outdoors

  • When you are hiking, please yield to other hikers coming uphill. 
  • Bikers should yield to all hikers. 
  • All users yield to equestrians. 
  • Allow others moving at a quicker pace to pass by moving to the side. Smile and say hello! Respect other visitors and be mindful of their experience.

 

Why the 7 Leave No Trace principles?

It’s not just an idea. It’s a movement.

The 7 Leave No Trace principles are about a spirit of personal engagement with wildlife and wild places that recognize and respect how we are all connected. No one ever intends to love something to death (we’re looking at you, plant over-waterers). If we didn’t all love nature, we wouldn’t travel hundreds if not thousands of miles or cross oceans to visit places like Sedona.  

Imagine a natural world where everyone understood and embraced principles like these. Imagine how nature would respond. We’re out to do more than imagine it. We’re out to lead it. Want to join us?  Add your name to the Sedona Cares Campaign. It’s a great way to show your love for Red Rock Country and feel good about being a bigger part of it. On that page, you’ll also find some explanations behind a few of these principles that may have surprised you (like, why no stacking stones?). 

 

 

Do you love Oak Creek?

Join us this winter and become an Oak Creek Caretaker!


With increased tourism and visitation, Oak Creek's unique ecosystem is being challenged like never before. The Sedona Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the Oak Creek Watershed Council and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to continue promoting the ways that Leave No Trace makes a difference when we spend time outside.

Get involved today!

 

Related Partners

Sedona-Oak Creek Airport Authority

Aviation fuel sales and aircraft services.

Ascend CBD Hemp Oil Factory Outlet

Ascend CBD Hemp Oil, activated in Sedona AZ, with Sound and Crystal Energy for Superior Results

Village Gallery of Local Artists

Local artists! Designer Fashions, Jewelry, Mosaics, Gourds, Batik, Ceramics, Fine Art. 10am-6pm

Good Juju Lifestyle Boutique

A hidden gem at HOZHO! An eclectic mix of fashion-forward clothing & unique accessories for women.

Free Soul Mind/Body Education

Scientific Vortex Information by MIT Honors Graduate, Pete Sanders. 90 min. LIVE event EVERY Mon. & Sat. ($15). Smartphone & Computer…

Verde Canyon Railroad

This very popular attraction is a southwestern train experience offering dramatic views of wildly-wonderful, red-rock canyon, only accessible…

Casa Sedona Inn

Peaceful, quiet location in West Sedona, panoramic red rock views, relaxed & inviting atmosphere, lush gardens, outdoor hot tub, hiking…

Enchantment Resort

Award-winning resort offering unparalleled experiences set within Sedona's Boynton Canyon. From world-class mountain biking and hiking at…

Chapel of the Holy Cross

A contemporary, Catholic chapel built into the buttes of Sedona. The Chapel has long been declaring the Glory of God through art to honor the…

Crystal Magic

Your trusted source for Crystals, Gemstone Jewelry, Incense, Gifts, complete with a Psychic Center

Humane Society of Sedona

Provides shelter and care for homeless and abandoned dogs and cats.

Roy Grimm - ReMax of Sedona

As the leading Buyer’s Broker of Arizona’s premier brokerage, with the global reach of Re-Max International Realty, I have an unmatched…

Arizona Weddings in Sedona

Since 1994, Sedona's premier professional wedding planning/consulting company. Traditional or unorthodox, two to two hundred, we'll help you…

The Arabella Sedona

The Arabella Hotel Sedona is an independent boutique hotel, centrally located in the heart of Red Rock Country walking distance from hiking…

Sky Rock Sedona

Perched on a hilltop amid breathtaking red rocks, Sky Rock, offers an immersive stay set against striking, panoramic views of vibrant desert…

Alma de Sedona Inn

Enhance your visit with a stay at this secluded bed & breakfast nestled in the heart of Sedona with incredible views of many of our famous…

Javelina Cantina

Where you get the wonderful taste of Mexico and the beautiful view of Sedona. Open at 11:00am daily.

El Portal Sedona Hotel

El Portal Sedona Hotel is an award-winning boutique hotel providing an extraordinary stay for guests & their pets in unpretentious luxury.…

Amitabha Stupa & Peace Park

On 14 pristine acres and surrounded by Sedona’s famous red rock formations, the Amitabha Stupa is a spiritual destination for people of all…

Sedona Soul Adventures

Life-changing 3-4 day retreats with for individuals and couples custom-designed for what YOU want. Call us to custom-design your retreat with…

Sedona Metaphysical Spiritual Association

We connect you with Sedona's finest spiritual, metaphysical practitioners and businesses, experts who can assist you with your life journey.…

Sedona Mystical Tours

We offer a completely customizable experience for every individual and group. Our Guides not only lead you to some of the highest…

Wine Tours of Sedona

We PERSONALIZE each tour to your palate, and we offer complete FLEXIBILITY throughout your tour experience. Read Our Reviews & Customer…

The Hike House

Sedona's Premiere Hiking Store that captures the total Hiking Experience. 'Sedona Trail Finder', Sedona's only interactive trail finder;…

Cobalt Escapes

From Food Tours to Cooking Class and Dinners in the Sedona area, our events are uniquely local culinary experiences suitable for all ages.…

RunSedona

February 4, 2023. If the hills do not take your breath away, the scenery will! Registration will open on September 1 for this in person…

Oak Creek Watershed Council

The Oak Creek Watershed Council is a non-profit dedicated to preserving the integrity of Oak Creek and its tributaries. They have spearheaded…

Whispering Creek Bed & Breakfast

The Whispering Creek Bed & Breakfast welcomes you to experience where adventure & relaxation meet in the same location. Spend the day…

Diva Hillside

Diva offers the latest in fashion with sizes S-2X and a memorable selection of gifts for the home.

Sedona Artist Market

The Sedona Artist Market Gallery is an exciting art destination in West Sedona with over 8,000 square feet and 150+ artists. We feature…

A Sedona Vacation Villa

Sedona's #1 Vacation Rentals. Our Oak Creek Canyon Villa features 3 spacious guest suites, each on its own floor. Our 2-bedroom Uptown Villa…

Zeus M Tours

Private, customized tours: Sedona, Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Secret Canyon, Jerome, wineries, Page Springs, Cottonwood, step on tours,…

Sedona Mountain Bike Academy

SMBA offers exceptional instruction for youth & adults by local, passionate, certified instructors

Trail Lovers Excursions

Join us for the most epic, unique, and sacred customized private hiking tours in Red Rock Country!!

Stan Rose Images

Fine art photography of Southwest U.S. landscapes, presented with a variety of display options.

Verde Ranch RV Resort

16 fully furnished, studio, one- or two-bedroom cabins conveniently located near resort amenities including a pool, clubhouse, pet park,…

Sedona Yoga Festival

April 27–30, 2023. SYF creates brave transformational space for the deep seeker of yoga annually. Plan your journey now to enjoy…

Sedona Meditation Experiences

Learn and practice meditation and mindfulness outdoors in the powerful healing energy of Sedona.

Element by Westin

Element Sedona Hotel by Westin is steps away from Red Rock views, restaurants and premium shopping.

SpiritFlow Sedona

Master Energy Consciousness with Melina, an experienced workshop leader and teacher, offering Courses, Training & Retreats on Chakra & Aura…

Jaliza Sedona Luxury Spa | Beauty Lounge

Highly trained licensed estheticians using top of the line products in our services.

Sedona Philosophy

Walk along Oak Creek, see ancient petroglyphs and spectacular views, then go deeper into Sedona.

Sip Sedona

Offering 100% customized, private, and guided tours of the Verde Valley Winery & Brewery trail.

Science Vortex of the Verde Valley

Children's STEM+ Art museum with hands-on exhibits designed for family fun and learning.

Eagle Rider Sedona

Renting Harley-Davidson Motorcycles and offering Tours for both Licensed and not licensed riders!

OAC Tours

We are the premiere river kayaking company providing tours, rentals & more in the Verde Valley.

Holiday Inn Express Sedona - Oak Creek

Large air-conditioned rooms have: Flat screen TV, hairdryer, iron/board, Keurig coffee maker, Free wireless internet. Hot America Pancake,…

Sacred Sound of the Soul, Inc.

Home to over hundreds of hand selected Crystal Tones alchemy bowls. Come in to see the beautiful collection of crystal bowls and take a piece…

Sacred Spirit Gallery

Enjoy local artists sculptures, jewelry, crystals, original & Giclee paintings and spiritual gifts.

Desert Haven Home Management, LLC

Desert Haven exemplifies a superior standard of care with 20+ years of knowledge in multiple fields related to home management, care and…

Illuminate Film Festival

ILLUMINATE is the world's premier film festival for conscious cinema. Our mission is to elevate human consciousness and inspire lasting…

Meaningful Things of Sedona

Meaningful Things of Sedona is hosted by June Rettinger de Arballo, offering Mediumship/Psychic Readings, Hand Readings, Tarot Readings,…

Sedonya Conscious Living Center

At Sedonya we offer customized retreats that include land journeys, spiritual counseling, self-healing, transformative events and workshops.…

Sun Moon Studio Sedona

Home to a variety of dance, yoga, sound healing & various ceremonies including youth dance & karate.

Sacred Rememberings

Honor yourself with a sacred experience. Bathe in the beautiful vibes with a sound bath. Connect with the love and healing of essential oils.…

BEST WESTERN PLUS Arroyo Roble Hotel…

IN UPTOWN SEDONA-ON OAK CREEK! Steps from restaurants, shops, and galleries. As the tallest building in Sedona, the 5-floor hotel offers…

Las Posadas of Sedona

A perfect home base in Red Rock Country with direct access to hiking & bike trails, wineries, restaurants, and golf. All accommodations…

Sedona Real Inn & Suites

The Sedona Real Inn & Suites offers an opportunity for new discoveries where thoughtful touches and tailored experiences encourage…

Adventure and Vow

Providing couples with the time and resources to plan a perfect adventure elopement day.

Emerald Waves Healing/Soulutions &…

Emerald Waves specializes in many forms of alternative health at affordable prices such as massage, Reiki, Needleless Acupuncture, Kansa wand…

Sacred Earth Walks

A Sacred Concierge who helps you discover your truth. See our website for additional information.

Sedona Wellness Cafe

Located in Uptown Sedona on the corner of Jordan Road and Apple Road. This unique wellness cafe offers organic coffee, kombucha on tap, and…

Blazin’ M Ranch Western Dinner Theater

Join us for an evening of western activities, a delicious Baby Back Rib & BBQ Chicken dinner and an unforgettable show featuring the…

Sedona Air Tours

Since 1994 family owned air tour company, the most-trusted & well known in Sedona. We take you in the world's safest jet-powered helicopter…

Sedona Self-Love Retreats

Heal your heart & rejuvenate with a private customized Sedona Self-Love Retreat! Focus on healing, wellness, spiritual development -…

Peace Place Magnificent Crystals

Peace Place Gifts is a unique gem & mineral store that holds the intention to promote peace, health for all beings & peace for our planet for…

Sedona Crystal Vortex

Our staff of Psychic Readers is genuine, caring and ethical. All of our highly experienced readers are trained in several modalities. A…

Bennali’s on Main

Men's & women's casual boutique with fabulous apparel, shoes, hats, handbags, jewelry & accessories.

Isn’t She Lovely - Boutique

Shop in a dream closet for unique gifts, handmade jewelry & fun clothes with a lovely team to help!

Radical Rebounding, LLC

Radical Rebounding: A workout that is high intensity with low impact, all done on a mini trampoline.

Down Dog Sedona

Offering yoga, Ayurveda Consultations, Reiki, Sedona Yoga Retreats, and Yoga Teacher Training

Dahling It’s You - Boutique

Sedona’s #1 Women’s Boutique, is known for it’s amazing staff for all ages, styles, & sizes.