Hwy 89A is fairly flat with some curves for most of the distance through Oak Creek Canyon. At the north end of the canyon, the highway ascends up and out of the canyon with some curves and switchbacks. Is it scary? I believe there are barriers where there are dropoffs. It's safe, and is really only about 10 minutes if that much. At the top is a vista point with great views.
If you are visiting Sedona, and don't want to drive all the way up and out of Oak Creek Canyon, be sure to take a drive up Hwy 89A, and turn around before the end of the canyon. It's only about an hour total without stops.
The drive is not scary and you will have no problems.
I don't feel it's completely accurate to say the road is not scary. I have been "scared" or nervous on that road and will not drive it myself. I will ride in the car while someone else drives but I cannot drive it. I have a terrible fear of heights and switchbacks are the worst for me. In Europe I have actually sat on the floor of some buses climbing mountains, or almost laid down in the car so as not to see out the window on switchbacks.
I have made myself do things as I believe I am not going to travel that far and miss out on opportunities. We took friends up this road in March and the woman was very apprehensive. So to say it's not scary - is not right for everyone. It all depends on where you are coming from.
I do feel as Bob said that the road is perfectly safe and there are barriers. Drivers do take the road reasonably, but I do get a knot in my stomach every time we go up or down. Would it keep me from riding on it - no.
Some people do get scared on the curves in Oak Creek Canyon from Pumphouse Wash to the overlook. I personally don't think it is any big deal, but I have had some people mention that it scared them.
The total distance of the "scary" part is only about five miles.
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