Red Rock Scenic Byway

#4 in Best Things To Do in Sedona
Red Rock Scenic Byway picture
Natalie Ruffing/Getty Images

Key Info

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Sightseeing, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.5

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 2.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

The 7.5-mile Red Rock Scenic Byway, which starts after you take exit 298 off Interstate 17, has plenty to see and do. In fact, it's often referred to as a "museum without walls." Highlights include sightseeing, hiking, biking and even golfing. There are also two vortexes to check out, Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock in the Village of Oak Creek (also called Big Park). The village also offers restaurants, galleries and other shops to visit. Coconino National Forest is another popular place to stop, with many scenic overlooks.

You can stop off at the Red Rock Ranger District Visitor Center to pick up maps and get advice on trails and other activities in the region. Recent byway visitors gush about how beautiful the scenery is and can't recommend it enough. Others warn that you may get distracted by the gorgeous scenery, so plan to make use of the many lookout points to safely admire the byway.

The center is one mile south of the Village of Oak Creek (Big Park). The center is open year-round from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Drinking water and restroom facilities are available on-site. Though the byway is free to access, some areas may require a $5 day-use fee. It only takes about 20 mintues to drive the route, but many reviewers suggested setting aside several hours to enjoy all of the attractions along the way. More information can be found on the forest service website.

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Hiking Trails1 of 12
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Type
Time to Spend
#1 Hiking Trails

The region boasts more than 100 different trails, each offering its own unique experience. Most lead into the red rocks, offering intrepid explorers plenty of postcard-worthy photo ops. Travelers are enthralled with many of Sedona's trails, but one of the most popular is the Cathedral Rock Trail, which starts about 4 miles south of the "Y" intersection. Though it isn't the easiest trek, the trail does offer great views of one of Sedona's most notable red rock formations. Recent visitors said the effort is definitely worth the views. For a less strenuous journey that still promises Cathedral Rock panoramas, try the Airport Mesa Loop, an easy path located near the Sedona Airport. Other popular hiking trails include the Bell Rock Pathway, the Devil's Bridge Trail, Boynton Canyon and Palatki Ruins, which features several ancient Native American ruins and cave paintings.

When making your way to a trailhead, consider stopping at The Hike House, where recent visitors rave about the helpful and knowledgeable staff. This facility – located across the street from Tlaquepaque – is devoted to preparing Sedona hikers. Using their unique Trail Finder database, the staff members at The Hike House can help determine which trail is right for you based on your time frame and skill level. This facility also houses a shop specializing in hiking gear and a cafe chock-full of healthy treats. After stopping here, you'll be well dressed and energized to hit the trails. The Hike House also offers guided hikes; reservations can be made on the center's website.

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