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First time to Sedona - special trip

NH
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First time to Sedona - special trip

My husband and I will be in Sedona the first week of October. We're staying at The Ridge on Sedona Golf Resort. It's our first time there and are looking for some must do activities. Would love any recommendations on horseback riding. I will be finishing up chemotherapy the week before we go and it's also our wedding anniversary while we are there, so many reasons to celebrate! I'd love a nice restaurant recommendation for an anniversary dinner. Thank you in advance!

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Sedona, AZ
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1. Re: First time to Sedona - special trip

Book a reservation at Mariposa for your anniversary. Let them know it’s a special occasion.

Contact M Diamond Ranch for horseback trail rides. Book a Jeep tour. Plan a balloon flight. Do all of your bookings and reservations well in advance. Early October everything will be fully booked.

NH
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2. Re: First time to Sedona - special trip

Thank you so much! Will definitely make reservations ahead of time. Really appreciate it!

Baton Rouge
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3. Re: First time to Sedona - special trip

Congratulations, and I hope you have a great trip. RedRox gave you some good advice on things to look into and to book in advance. Don't think that you have to schedule every minute (or day) of your stay, though. One of the charms of Sedona is the rather laid-back vibe, and you can do many things without having scheduled them in advance, like hikes or drives around to see the scenery, depending on your mood and physical ability, a trip to Chapel of the Holy Cross, visits to some nearby wineries, star-gazing either from the property where you're staying or one of the overlook spots, wandering around some of the shops at Tlaquepaque, etc.

Connecticut
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4. Re: First time to Sedona - special trip

Go to Garland's and purchase a nice pendant or bracelet to commemorate the end of chemo! Sending you many well wishes :)

Kalispell, Montana
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5. Re: First time to Sedona - special trip

You have chosen both a great time to visit Sedona and a great area to stay in. You will be home-based down in the Village of Oak Creek, a nice quieter neighborhood with great views and nearby, easy walking trails. I will assume that you are flying into and out of Phoenix?

Look at the following to get a general idea of what you can do and where things are located. So soon after chemo, I would advise you to think twice about any off-road Jeep tour but would take one of the other on-pavement tours early in your visit. You will have to decide if those are for you. Off-road is 2 or 3 hours of swaying, rocking, up and down, side to side movement.

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There are 5 basic areas in/near Sedona to visit and you can group things together accordingly to 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 intend to go horseback riding at the M Diamond Ranch, you can combine that with Montezuma's Castle in the same day...but not on arrival day. https://sedonahorsebackrides.com/location/

If you have an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass great, If not buy one. The Pass works for over 2,000 federal parks and National Forest areas in any state for a full year. 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. But it does not get you into State Parks or independently run areas like Red Rock Crossing and the parking at West Fork.

Before you come, or even as you plan this trip...stop into any AAA and pick up a Flagstaff/Prescott/Sedona map. Its free for members and about 6$ for others. It is so handy to see where you are going. If your local AAA does not stock it, they will order it in for for no extra cost.

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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 where your hotel is located. If you skipped Montezuma's Castle...Stop to pick up all kinds of area information and free trail maps. As you leave VoC heading north along the 179, you first come to the exceptionally beautiful Bell Rock area, with its easy pathway and many connecting trails. Next along the road, a right hand turn is the architecural wonder of Chapel of the Holy Cross and just a bit further, the Tlaquepaque adobe-style gallery and dining village under the big trees. That will be a left turn heading north.

https://www.tlaq.com

Restaurants in/near Village of Oak Creek, Red Rock Cafe, PJ's pub, Cucina Rustica and some fast food.

The Hudson and Elote are two other nice choices for the area along the #179. There are several restaurant choices including Rene and a local Brewery cafe in Tlaquepaque.

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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. Let us know if you plan a day trip up there...I can add a nice itinerary to look at.

Indian Gardens out there is popular for breakfast.

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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. Boynton Canyon and Fay Canyon are our favorites out there. 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 west of West Sedona 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 is the classic scene you so often see in many of the in Sedona brochures and magazine articles. 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. Its a great place 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. https:/…svvc18a27d436f9dbf47

A spectacular option for after sunset or for a very special occasion...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. https://www.facebook.com/mariposagrill/

Coffee Pot is nice for breakfast. West Sedona is a service town with many restaurants, hotels, little strip malls, grocery stores like Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and Basha's. Also clinics, banks, gas stations and drug stores.

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4...Uptown...for some more touristy, yet fun shops. The Cowboy Club and other nice restaurants like Cress at L'Auberge, and the great Sedona Memories Bakery Cafe are located there. The exciting Pink Jeep Broken Arrow or other off-road tours, an Ancient Ruins tour or its newly listed On-Pavement tour begin there. So do the Red Rock Western tours, or the Magic Red on-pavement Trolley tours. Look for Snoopy Rock from there.

Pink Jeep Sedona https:/… http://www.redrockjeep.com http://www.redrockmagictrolley.com

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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 (nice in the Fall), 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.

https://verdecanyonrr.com

http://vvwinetrail.com

https://www.nps.gov/tuzi/index.htm

https://www.blazinm.com

https://outofafricapark.com

http://azjerome.com/jerome/

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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. https:/…

Their are nice on line maps on this site. With quadrants where you may 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.

sedonaredrocktrails.org/SedonaTrailMaps.html

www.greatsedonahikes.com/easyhikes.html

Edited: 08 August 2018, 04:17
NH
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6. Re: First time to Sedona - special trip

Thank you for all that info! We are planning on going to do the M Diamond Ranch. Still debating on the Jeep tour. We are definitely doing a day trip to the Grand Canyon so any pointers on that would be much appreciated!

Kalispell, Montana
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7. Re: First time to Sedona - special trip

We make the Grand Canyon loop drive nearly every time we come to the area. It will take all day, but you will be seeing a lot! 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 View 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://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/desert-view-drive.htm A meal at the Historic El Tovar might be nice.

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/

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.

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Sunrise/Sunset the first week of October will be around 6:24 am & 6:05 pm Its 114 miles and about 3.5 hours from the GC Village. Its 61 miles and about 1 hour 40 minutes from Williams back to Sedona. Try to make that drive to arrive back before sunset...you will see why on the drive up.

Sedona, AZ
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8. Re: First time to Sedona - special trip

If I had to choose between M Diamond and Pink Jeep, the Jeep tour wins every time.

Sedona
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9. Re: First time to Sedona - special trip

Congratulations on finishing chemo and on your wedding anniversary! The others have given you many good suggestions. I like the idea of ordering the visitor book and going through it to see what appeals to you.

If you plan things be flexible in case something more interesting comes up.Your concierge will have many suggestions, and you're staying at a resort where you can enjoy the spa!

In the Village area where you are staying you will see many of the red rock formations like Bell Rock , and you can hike there if you are interested.

Sedona Golf Resort's Junipine Restaurant has an excellent view, and you may enjoy breakfast there.

Between the Village and Sedona is the Chapel of the Holy Cross. (Turn right at the Lutheran Church.) The building itself is beautiful, and the panoramic view is amazing. Heading back toward town you will see Tlaquepaque on the left. It has many shops, and it's fun to walk through.

Normally I'd have you go right at the traffic circle and head through Oak Creek Canyon, but you will do that on on your way to GCNP. (I suggest returning from there on I17 to 179 because it is faster.)

If you have time you could go through W. Sedona (left at traffic circle we call the Y) and go to Crescent Moon Ranch.

Jerome is interesting, but not on the weekend! I like the Gold King Mine and lunch at Grapes or the Flat Iron Grill.

Things are crowded here on weekends, so try to get an early start on whatever you are doing.

Enjoy the celebration!

Birmingham, Alabama
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10. Re: First time to Sedona - special trip

Following for future trip

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