2016 Summer Journal

Narrow Streets and Breathtaking Vistas – Welcome to Sedona!

Welcome to Sedona – photo by Al_HikesAZ

For a little over a week now we’ve been hanging out around Sedona, AZ. Sedona is a small town in northern Arizona known for its beautiful red rocks, excellent trails, and funky desert vibes. Many of the places we visit are diamonds in the rough – known for great outdoor activities, but not that popular with mainstream tourists. Even the highly trafficked places like Jackson Hole, WY have local spots outside of the melee of downtown. To our surprise, Sedona has been one of the most touristy places we’ve taken the bus. Driving into Uptown Sedona was like trying to maneuver the bus through Disneyland!

Sedona Afternoon
Photo courtesy of CEdwardbrice.

On top of swarms of people, the streets of Sedona are TIGHT! We like to tell people the the bus is way more maneuverable than it looks and that parking is easier than they’d imagine, but driving the beast around Uptown Sedona was a nightmare. Even trying to park to visit the bike shop or local restaurants takes a few trips around the block – not something we’re used to here in the expansive Southwest.

Luckily, after seeing the tourist trap of Uptown Sedona once, we’ve been able to avoid that part of town altogether. Almost all of the places we have found ourselves spending time in town are in West Sedona, where there’s just a tiiiiiiny bit more space and a few less people.

Uptown, Sedona, AZ 7-30-13r
Photo courtesy of Don Graham.

What Sedona lacks in space and city planning it makes up for in absolutely epic views in every direction. The city is tucked between huge rock features that tower hundreds of feet in the air. Covered in dense vegetation, they look like something out of Jurassic Park. Every twist in the trail gives a different view, and even just driving around feels other-worldly.

Munds Wagon Trail - Sedona Arizona - view to southwest
Photo courtesy of AL Hikes AZ.

Trails

We have never experienced a trail network quite like this one. No matter where you are in Sedona, you are never more than a mile from an epic trailhead. We’ve run and ridden on dozens of trails since our arrival and still have barely scratched the surface!

Community

So far our favorite shops to visit have been Over the Edge Bikes and Sedona Running Company. We stopped by each to ask for trail recommendations and were surprised by how excited they were to share knowledge and get us out on the best of their trails. Both shops took the time to draw in new trail construction and highlight recommended trails on our map for us.

Camping

Town is tight, but the National Forest access is incredible! We’ve spent every night down FS525, a dirt road just a few miles west of town on highway 89A. There’s plenty of room for everybody, and it’s free for 14 days. Best of all, we get great Verizon service right from the campsite so we don’t need to haul in to town to start work every morning. Win, win, win!

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  • I don’t know why, but it really surprised me to hear how crowded Sedona is. When I think of the south west part of the country, I think of empty and expansive. I guess everyone else does too! All those trails sound like fun though – I bet it’s a great escape for the locals. Plenty to explore.

    • We were super surprised! I was expecting something closer to Moab – definitely didn’t anticipate the crowds or Whole Foods! I think it would have felt less crowded if everything wasn’t packed in so tightly.