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 aren’t educated about the principles of Leave No Trace in the outdoors.

Whether or not you believe you are practicing most of the Leave No Trace principles, research has 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 evident that she’d like a word with us.

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. Perhaps you will pick up a new idea or two.

 

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?). 

 

 

Please help support the following businesses below who have signed up to become Leave No Trace Proud Supporters! 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Anthropologist, Margaret Mead

Related Partners

A Spa for You Sedona Day Spa

Granted TripAdvisor’s Travelers' Choice Award for 13 years, Sedona’s Premiere Boutique Day Spa offers individually customized Signature…

Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village

A Sedona landmark since 1970, Tlaquepaque treats visitors to an excellent collection of over 40 galleries and shops bordered by 4 superb…

Trail Running Escapes

Trail Running Races and Camps in the Red Rocks. Visit trailrunningescapes.com for dates & details.

Zach Rohe Photography

Sedona portrait, landscape, wedding, & night photographer who will travel anywhere to photograph your special moments and capture more award…

Hampton Inn Sedona

Located in the heart of Sedona, our newly renovated property offers breakfast daily, smoothies and flavored waffles. Enjoy stay packages that…

Pink Jeep Tours

Since 1960, the most talked about off-road adventures in the Southwest. Our excursions are known as the premier “must-do” tours in…

Fiddler On The Rock

The Sound of Sedona: a transcendent violin concert experience & more. Visit www.fiddlerontherock.com

Sedona Chamber Ballet

Performances, study with masters, awareness of dance locally and develop a professional dance.

True West Hats

Custom design and made quality cowboy hats with Sedona's handmade hatmaker located in Uptown.

Sedona Symphony

Presenting live concerts at the Sedona Performing Art Center. Buy tickets at SedonaSymphony.org

A Light Grows Brighter, LLC

Sharmaine Jackson, PhD/JD, is a Spiritual Warrior specializing in healing trauma and ancestral karma using spiritual tools to heal wounds of…

Best of Sedona Productions

Best Productions provides state-of-the-art video productions with PBS producer & creative experts. Travel Channel, E!, The Learning Channel &…

Kevin Floerke Photography LLC

Professional photographer, drone pilot, and guide. Commercial, Portrait and Fine Art Photography.

Sedona Wanderlust

Boutique Sedona vacation home rentals. Woman owned Coop

Sedona Visual Artists’ Coalition

February 2022. Sedona Visual Artists' Coalition Annual Exhibition @ Sedona Arts Center showcases local members art from the Verde Valley.

Arizona Safari Jeep Tours

From Wildlife Safari to Diamond Back Gulch to Seven Canyons, Safari Jeep Tours offers a variety of tours for every member of the family.…

Molé Sedona

Taste the authentic flavors of Mexico while enjoying Sedona’s beautiful scenery at Molé. Nestled at the Arabella Hotel. We offer creative…

Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce and…

Grand Canyon National Park at the South Rim Open 7 days per week. Fees are required and can be purchased on-line prior to arrival or at Grand…

Sedona Jeep Tours

Since 1949, Sedona’s oldest continually owned family jeep tour business also offers Horseback Rides.

Red Rock Magic Trolley

Enjoy a guided tour to visit the famous Chapel of the Holy Cross & the wilderness of Boynton Canyon.

Shorebird

Coastal eatery that proudly presents a modern take on classic Americana flavors with influences from traditional seafood & steakhouses.…

StageCoach Sedona

Handcut steaks, craft cocktails, Arizona BBQ and Country Music is what we are serving! With recipes made from scratch, our menus are filled…

Alcantara Vineyards

Largest producer of estate wines on the Verde River. Handcrafted wines. Daily tastings & tours 11am-5pm

Sedona.org

We are the leading property manager in Sedona. With 20+ years experience in short term rentals, we offer the best experience to our guests…

The Sedona Dream Maker Bed & Breakfast

Entire "Dream Maker BnB" Red Rock Rental for your group up to 10 adults! You will have the whole place to Yourself...3 Luxury rooms with…

Dreamcatcher Inn of Sedona

This new boutique hotel with Thunder Mountain views in Sedona offers comfortable rooms with views at affordable rates. Short drive from…

GreenTree Inn Sedona

Located off hwy 89A, minutes from downtown, rooms with views, a daily continental breakfast & Wi-Fi, Guests love spending time in our newly…

Southwest Inn at Sedona

Voted "Best" by Sedona Spectrum. Rooms have fireplaces, refrigerators, coffee makers, pillow-top mattresses, great Southwest decor, decks…

Appaloosa Trading Company

Offering a beautiful array of belts, handbags, and accessories. Enjoy our Leather Goods, beautiful Turquoise Native Jewelry & our collection…

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…

Sedonuts & Coffee

Locally owned donut and coffee shop in the heart of Sedona. Donuts hand crafted and made fresh daily. Serving locally roasted hot coffee and…

Arroyo Pinion Sedona Hotel LLC

Enjoy our proximity to some of nature’s most beautiful creations, including Red Rock Crossing & Thunder Mountain. Free continental…

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation

Mortgage company focusing on your individual needs.

The Art of Wine

Uptown's Premier Wine Bar and Tasting Room. Over 40 wines available for tasting, and we carry over 350 different bottles of wine from around…

Arizona Natural History Association

Arizona Natural History Association is a non-profit organization assisting the forest service with interpretation and educational activities…

Sedona-Oak Creek Airport Authority

The Sedona Airport sits perched on Tabletop Mesa 500’ above the City of Sedona. The Sedona-Oak Creek Airport Authority manages day-to-day…

Good Juju Lifestyle Boutique

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

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…

Humane Society of Sedona

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

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

The Amitabha Stupa is a spiritual destination for people of all faiths. Dozens of local residents, visitors and groups come to this outdoor…

Sedona Soul Adventures

Life-changing 3-4 day retreats 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.…

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

Join us on Saturday, February 1, 2025 for the RunSedona Event 5K/10K and Half Marathon. The courses take participants through scenic Red…

Whispering Creek Bed & Breakfast

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

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

Stay above it all at SedonaVacationVillas.com. Our Hillside Villa features 3 spacious guest suites, rooftop deck, two outdoor adventure…

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!!

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

March 14–17, 2024. 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 teacher, offering Private & Group Retreats at the Oasis in Sedona, Outdoor…

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.

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.

Meaningful Things of Sedona

June Arballo is a dual citizen of Mexico and the U.S. She offers unique Mediumship/Psychic readings, Hand readings, Tarot readings, Blessing…

Sedonya Conscious Living Center

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

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.…

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 during your private customized Sedona Self-Love Retreat - awarded Best Sedona Retreat Center 2023 & 2022!…

Peace Place Gifts & Reiki Center

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

Sedona Crystal Vortex is your premier source for quality crystals, exclusive jewelry, aura photos, and psychic readings in Arizona. The…

Bennali’s on Main

Men's and women's casual boutique with fabulous apparel, shoes, hats, handbags, jewelry & accessories. The amazing apparel is from leading…

Isn’t She Lovely - Boutique

Shop our curated collection of women's clothing, jewelry, handbags & shoes for women of all ages! Every single piece of clothing in our…

Down Dog Sedona

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

Dahling It’s You - Boutique

Consistently voted Sedona’s Best Boutique! On trend apparel, jewelry & more for women of all ages.