When? It matters.
The first thing you must do is reserve lodging. 1-2 nightscat Grand Canyon National Park and the remainder at Sedona. Until you do that, nothing else matters. Then book your flights. Then report back to us and we can fine tune your schedule and tell you where to dine and how to spend your days.
When is this trip? Its a trip where you need to make reservations beforehand and not gamble with finding rooms available...particularly at Grand Canyon. GC can also be done as a full day-trip from Sedona.
Are you flying in or driving in? What time do your flights arrive and leave? Those flights or long drives getting here and back home can use up a good chunk of 2 of your 4 or 5 days.
Look at the following to get a general idea of what you can do and where things are located. It includes a day-trip to Grand Canyon if you choose. Sedona is also a dining destination so while there are suggestions below, be sure to look at all your choices or be more specific as to what type of food you enjoy most.
There are 5 basic areas in/near Sedona to visit and you can group things together accordingly by where the hotel you choose is actually located. That way, you avoid a lot of backtracking or multiple trips/delays at the Uptown traffic circles.
On the way up from Phoenix...if you have time or it looks interesting to you, stop at Montezuma's Castle before you take the #179 into Sedona. Its a unique cliff dwelling and a very easy walk up to it and back. https://www.nps.gov/moca/index.htm
If you have an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass or the "real bargain" Senior NP pass, great. If not buy one. The Senior Pass works for a lifetime for over 2,000 federal parks and National Forest areas.
For this trip now, it works for Grand Canyon and all of the National Monuments you may be visiting near Sedona and Grand Canyon. It also works as a Sedona Parking pass. Just not State Parks or independently run areas like Red Rock Crossing and the parking at West Fork.
1...To the south: The Red Rock Byway IS the #179 from the Village of Oak Creek to Sedona Uptown. You will come first to the Ranger Station Visitor's Center just before you reach the Village of Oak Creek. If you skipped Montezuma's Castle...Stop to pick up all kinds of area information and free trail maps. Along the 179 are the exceptionally beautiful Bell Rock area, with its easy pathway and many connecting trails, the architecural wonder of Chapel of the Holy Cross and the Tlaquepaque adobe-style gallery and dining village under the big trees.
Restaurants in/near Village of Oak Creek, Red Rock Cafe, PJ's pub, Cucina Rustica and some fast food.
2...Oak Creek Canyon: The canyon drive from Uptown, past Midgley Bridge, its box canyon trail, all the way to West Fork for its famous canon/creek Hiking...expect to get wet feet. Also along there is Slide Rock State Park for kids (somewhat messy) and Garland's for really nice Native art and jewelry. That is also the route you take when you are going to and coming back from Grand Canyon. Indian Gardens is a favorite for breakfast.
3...The area west of West Sedona:
A....That includes Airport Mesa Drive with its Big Red Knoll, loop trail and overlooks. Best done in the morning and NOT at sunset. Too crowded with selfie taking visitors and limited parking...views also have buildings and homes in the way of the red rocks.
B...The Dry Creek/Boynton Canyon Scenic byway, a right hand turn off of the 89A out along the red rock cliffs to the famous Enchantment Resort. It is an in-and-out drive and not a circle drive. You know how scenic it must be for that resort to be out there. Out there too are the Devil's Bridge (too busy at times and daredevils can ruin the day), Fay, Boynton and Long Canyon hikes plus others. Drinks or a meal at Enchantment would be a treat for views alone...no need to be guests.
C...The Red Rock Loop drive is further out the 89A past the Dry Creek area. Its a left hand turn...enter the loop drive at Lower RR Loop drive...its further west....make the circle for views and photos. https://sedonadrivetours.com/map.htm
D...It is also out there where you will find the renowned Red Rock Crossing/Crescent Moon Park along the Upper RR Loop drive. That is great for the creek-walk, Buddha Beach (rock cairns) and the **classic sunset or daylight views of Cathedral Rock with the creek in the foreground. It also has a nice picnic area and nice restrooms. Expect that to cost $10 as it is not included in the parking pass program. Great place for kids to wade in the creek. The classic view is across the meadow, down by the creek behind the first restroom just after you pass through the entrance gate.
A spectacular option for after sunset...Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill. Or if you want to watch sunset from there on another day, make reservations for the outdoor patio...at least an hour or so before the actual sunset time.
4...Uptown...for some more touristy, yet fun shops, the Cowboy Club and other restaurants and the Pink Jeep Broken Arrow off-road tours, Ancient Ruins tour or its newly listed On-Pavement tour. Or Red Rock Western tours, the Magic Red on-pavement Trolley tours.
5...For a day trip west of West Sedona, you can include some or all of the following. The Verde Canyon railroad tour, seasonally, the Verde Valley wine trail, Toozigoot National Monument, Blazin'M Western Cookout and village, Out of Africa Wildlife Park, Cottonwood for antiquing, wine tasting and the quaint town of Jerome, now an arts and restored mining town up on a hillside. *Its easy to combine Toozigoot, Cottonwood and Jerome with sunset later at Red Rock Crossing.
To get you started, I would go to the following website and have them send you the free Visitor's Guide magazine...its a great help for people who are unfamiliar with the area.
Sedona Arizona Free Visitors Guide visitsedona.com/visitors-guide
There are nice on-line maps on this site. With quadrants where you will be hiking...for example the Bell Rock Area, The Oak Creek Canyon Area, the Dry Creek/Boynton Canyon area, the Airport Mesa and Red Rock Crossing areas. Within each quadrant map there are clickable maps for the many named trails in the area. Its a great resource.
We make the Grand Canyon loop drive nearly every time we come to the area. It will take all day or better yet, an overnight. Using your car gives you great freedom to stop when and where you want.
1...Leave Sedona fairly early after breakfast via the 89A to Flagstaff.
2...Take the 89 north from Flagstaff, but also take the Sunset Crater and Wupatki Ruins National Monument loop drive along the way. It is a very interesting drive and both have easy access to walks to the lava field and to two or three stunning ruins at Wupatki. Both are nothing at all similar to what you will see at GC. Great photo ops from easy walks to the ruins.http://www.arizona-leisure.com/wupatki-ruins.html
3...After the loop, take the 89 again and stop at the Historic Cameron Trading Post for lunch and a look about. The stone gallery north of the parking lot is all certified Native-made art of all kinds. https://www.camerontradingpost.com
4...Enter the park using the east gate via the #64...the Desert Rim Drive. Begin with the Watchtower/Desert View. You will be making all right hand turns to the overlooks, so no waiting for traffic. If you are enjoying an overlook, stay and enjoy it. Don't feel obligated to rush to the next one or to every single one...they are all actually quite similar. Grandview, Lipan Point and the area around the Village and the El Tovar Hotel are musts. There is the visitor's center, museum and trading post there that are fun to visit. The Trading Post and some of the other stone buildings are historic. https:/…desert-view-drive.htm A meal at the Historic El Tovar might be nice. https:/…
5...You do not have to take the shuttles west to Hermit's Rest...it can take forever sitting in the shuttles and then standing in line again to catch the shuttles back. The overlooks are much the same and more geared for the really serious hikers who want to hike down into the depths of the canyon.
If you are making a day trip, skip that and begin the drive back to Sedona so that you arrive before dark. Use the 64 south from the Village to Williams. Williams is a very well preserved Rte 66 town and if that is of interest to you...worth a walk about. https://experiencewilliams.com/route-66/
If you ARE overnighting...then watch sunset, have a picnic during the sunset, or dinner after that at El Tovar. Then sunrise and do take the shuttles west, hiking where you choose. You can also rent bikes to ride the west rim drive area. https:/…hermit-red-route.htm http://bikegrandcanyon.com
6...Finally from Williams take the I-40 back to Flagstaff and down the Oak Creek Canyon drive (89A) again to Sedona. Plan to complete the Oak Creek Canyon drive before darkness.Edited: 06 August 2018, 08:15
We enjoyed our stay @ Amara, it is a Kimpton Hotel with many nice amenities. I loved their infinity pool with poolside food and beverage service. 🌵
Thank you so much!
We are travelling in April 2019.
Book 1 night at Grand Canyon National Park and the rest in Sedona. Bookings are open for August 2019 at the gcnp. right now. You should have your full range of Park hotels available. Make a selection and confirm it. You can change or cancel it up until 48 hours before your arrival date. Your credit card will be charged for the one night stay. Fully refundable.
thank you for the information