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Vacation Sedona, Arizona

Tourist Guide

Red Rockin' Arizona
Old West Meets Nouveau Chic

Sedona's famous Cathedral Rock
Sedona's Famous Cathedral Rock


Today, enjoy Sedona in all its scenic glory. Set your alarm to wake you for an early morning hot air balloon or helicopter ride, where you'll see the sights from above. An ancient ruins tour, via helicopter, ventures into canyons unreachable by foot, revealing preserved archaeological sites made of stacked sandstone or carved into elevated caves.

Pink Jeep Tours allow patrons to explore Red Rock Country off-road style
Pink Jeep Tours

With a big day ahead, treat yourself to a hearty breakfast at Coffee Pot Restaurant in West Sedona. Don't be put off if there's a wait at the door; instead, peruse the gift shop, which is filled with unique items from the owners' adventures around the world. From Indonesian carvings and tapestries to Oaxacan dishware and sculptures, international delights are this shop's specialties. Coffee Pot offers your usual breakfast foods, from pecan waffles to bacon and eggs, plus huevos rancheros, and a selection of 101 omelets. Lunch items are available as well, but good luck ignoring the list of tempting omelets.

Good and stuffed, you'll need to burn off that breakfast with a hike or mountain bike ride exploring Sedona's sights from the ground. Mountain Bike Heaven, Absolute Bikes and Sedona Bike & Bean offer mountain bike rentals and trail maps. There are plenty of hikes in Sedona and its surrounding environs — more than one million acres of Coconino National Forest border this town, after all. Our favorite hike is West Fork, located about ten miles north of Sedona in Oak Creek Canyon, but Cathedral Rock and Devil's Bridge are other popular choices.

The West Fork trail starts at an old homestead, where you can check out a long-abandoned chicken coop and the remnants of a home. Continuing on, apple trees lead the way to Oak Creek, which has blessed this trail with plenty of greenery, from butterscotch-scented ponderosa pine trees to yucca, blackberry bushes and fern meadows. This beautiful trail is an easy, flat hike, but be a little careful on its numerous creek-crossings, which may require good balance to skip from rock to rock, lest you end up with a wet shoe. There are plenty of places to take a dip, and if you follow the trail far enough, you'll have to wade to get deep into this slot canyon.

On your way back to town, stop for a snack at Indian Gardens Trading Post, where the deli/general store can quench any thirst or soothe any hunger pangs from the hike. The back patio is shaded by sycamore trees and makes for a wonderful place to rest those tired feet. Next door, Garland's Indian Jewelry may feature the most impressive collection of first-rate Native American jewelry in the country. If you're serious about finding quality, one-of-a-kind works of wearable art, Garland's is a must.

If you opted for a Sedona hike, numerous delis and gourmet take-out locations abound on Hwy 89A in West Sedona, including vegetarian and raw food restaurants. One to try: ChocolaTree Organic Oasis. This beautiful eatery includes a garden sanctuary where it grows its "happy vegetables, fruits, berries and herbs." The restaurant itself features a 100 per cent ganic menu with diverse raw and cooked options that are entirely processed-sugar-free. They also have their own chocolate shop.

A Pink Jeep dwarfed by red rocks
A Pink Jeep Dwarfed by Red Rocks
The adventure continues with Pink Jeep Tours to explore Red Rock Country in off-road style. Many different trail options and price levels are available, but the most popular tours sell out in high season, so make a reservation and hold on to your hats! The Jeep drivers are an entertaining bunch, full of information to answer inevitable questions like “What makes the rocks red?” and “What is a vortex?”

Head back to your hotel to rinse off the dust from the day's activities and regroup. Take a trip to The Art of Wine in The Shops at Hyatt Piñon Pointe to taste a flight of Arizona wines in a chic, polished atmosphere. Some locals admit to developing a taste for wine after meeting some of this wine bar's lovely staff.

The patio at Shugrue's Hillside Grill offers spectacular views
Shugrue's Hillside Grill

If there's time, consider going to the top of Airport Mesa to enjoy the desert sunset — a bird's-eye view of the entire town makes this lookout point a must some time during your stay.

For dinner, enjoy spectacular views and sumptuous cuisine at Shugrue's Hillside Grill, located at Hillside Sedona on Hwy 179. Start with the blackened shrimp saganaki and for the main course try the whiskey barbecued duck or scallops Sedona — colossal sea scallops stuffed with crab and wrapped in bacon. Or delight in a charming evening at the French-country-style Heartline Café, where chef/owner Chuck Cline serves up inventive seasonal dishes for every preference including lemon gremolata topped black cod with lobster mashed potatoes, seared Hudson Valley duck breast potatoes cooked in confit withgrilled lemon and rosemary, and chive papparadelle pasta with roasted butternut squash, garlic brown butter and oyster mushrooms.

For a pleasant end to this long day, relax and appreciate Sedona's dark skies as you stargaze from your hotel and sip on Arizona wines that you purchased earlier. Breathe deep, take in the fresh mountain air and get ready to indulge tomorrow.

Continue to Day 3


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* Cathedral Rock photo from Sedona Chamber of Commerce. Pink Jeep photos from Shugrue's Grill photo from

(Updated: 02/27/12 SG)

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