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4 Reasons Why Everyone Should Go Hiking in Sedona

Sedona, Arizona
Sedona, Arizona

Story & photos by Jeffrey Ryan

I recently returned home after my first visit to Sedona, Arizona. I was (and still am) enthralled by this enchanted place. The beauty alone would be enough to draw any traveler in, but if you enjoy exploring the world on foot, Sedona offers some of the finest day hiking terrain in the world. Here’s why:

Trails for everyone. Whether your idea of a great hike is a 20-minute stroll or a day long adventure, Sedona has a trail for you. And it’s hard to beat the quality of vistas you gain as your reward for relatively little effort. You can hike into canyons with very little climbing at all or you can find trails that will give you a fair workout. My favorite short hike is Doe Mountain, where a zig-zagging (switchbacked) trail leads you gently up to a flat summit offering astounding views.

Mother nature left the iron on. Sedona’s stunning canyons and buttes are comprised of iron oxide (rust) infused sandstone. Everywhere you roam, the terra-cotta landscape offers jaw-dropping views. Even amateur photographers will want to factor in more time for their hikes, particularly when the morning and afternoon sun is lighting up the scene.


Hiker friendly atmosphere. I have been to many great hiking areas where the nearby towns were loaded with tourists, yet hardly anyone was on the trails. In Sedona, it’s different. Most people come here to live or visit because they want to be in the outdoors. As a result, there’s an energy around hiking that’s hard to find anywhere else. People love to share their favorite hikes and chat them up over evening meals, for example, which creates a greater sense of community.

The Sedona vortexes. Legend has is that the Sedona area has places called “vortexes” where you can feel multiple dimensions of energy surging through you. These vortexes are believed to facilitate meditation and healing. Did I feel the energy of a vortex? I can’t say for certain. What I do know is that stopping to simply enjoy the sublime beauty around me gave me an infusion of gratitude for the world around me that I look forward to capturing again.
If you go

Trail recommendations and gear – I recommend the book Sedona’s Top 10 Hikes by Dennis Andres, which includes driving directions to trailheads and great trail descriptions. You can buy the book online in advance or at The Hike House in Sedona, where they also carry everything you need for hiking (they also offer guided hikes).

Food and Water – Even if you’re planning just a short hike, always bring water with you. Sedona hiking is desert hiking and dependable water sources are scarce.

Bring your credit card – The National Park Service has installed kiosks at most trailheads surrounding Sedona. You’ll need to purchase a $5 day pass and leave it on your dashboard.

jeff-ryan-981xJeff Ryan, a Maine-based author, speaker and photographer, has a contagious passion for exploring the outdoors, particularly on foot. Jeff has hiked thousands of miles including his first “trip of a lifetime”, a 6 1/2 month hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. In 1985, Jeff began “section hiking” the Appalachian Trail with a childhood friend (a journey that would take 28 years to complete and culminated in his first book, Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year Hike on America’s Trail ).


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