So you’ve made it to the one and only, Sedona, and you want to squeeze every bit of magic you can out of the trip - insert desert sunsets! As if Sedona isn't magical enough, when you combine the show-stopping red rock formations with golden hour colors, it's a core memory in the making. Here are the top sunset spots in Sedona you simply cannot miss.
Before we get started there are a few things to note for all sunset hiking options in Sedona:
Be sure to take a jacket in the shoulder and winter months. After the sun sets, the desert cools off at an alarming rate.
As with any hike, bring water.
Pack a headlamp (or flashlight) to ensure you are able to safely make your way back to your vehicle. I recommend a headlamp for the more technical hikes as you may use your hands to stabilize yourself coming down the rocks.
Arrive earlier than you think, especially on weekends. Sedona is growing in popularity and you surely will not be the only sunset-chaser out there.
The Airport Mesa Vortex is arguably the most popular sunset location in Sedona, and for good reason. Sitting nearly center of the red rock vistas with surrounding views of the towering mountains, bluffs, buttes, and rock formations there is endless beauty to take in as the sun sets. There are two options for parking and hiking. If you are lucky enough to snag a parking spot at the small parking area on the way up, your hike is short and sweet with a small amount of vertical gain. If the smaller parking area is full, continue on and park at the municipal airport and enjoy a gradual hike down to the mesa. While the walk up to the sunset lookout isn't long or strenuous, I do recommend wearing shoes with a little bit of tread so you can navigate the rocks/gravel without worry.
The Bell Rock trail has amazing 360 degree views from all levels, even at the bottom for those wanting to take this sunset hike easy. This option is kind of a “choose your own level” adventure. As stated before, sunsets from the base of Bell Rock are incredible. As you start to ascend the Bell Rock climb you will see cairns, however, those will become few and far between as you have to route-find your way up. It is very important that you wear shoes with good traction for this hike and know your physical limits. Some choose to climb up the rock face a few levels and sit to watch the sunset, while others take on the challenge of completing the hike and viewing the show from atop the spire. Whichever level of adventure you choose, Bell Rock is a wonderful option for an evening hike.
Cathedral Rock - a true icon in Sedona. This sunset destination is a more strenuous and technical option, but if you are up for the challenge, it is a breathtaking and iconic location for a desert sunset. The hike itself is short, but the vertical gain will get the legs and heart pumping. Again, it is important to wear shoes with good tread on this trail. Cairns show the way as you ascend Cathedral Rock. There are a few portions of the trail where you can decide the route you take, however, the more technical parts of the climb are marked well and oftentimes will have fellow hikers leading the way up or down. Once you reach the top you can find a spot to watch the show, or you can explore around the area if you have time.
*TRAVEL WELLNESS TIP*
As a Holistic Health Coach + Trainer, I can't help but tie in my love for wellness with my love for travel, adventure and hiking. So here's a quick, easy tip for staying healthy on your trip to Sedona!
Pay attention to your mineral consumption! Replenishing minerals matters how our bodies function every day, but especially when sweating more than normal, engaging in exercise (hiking) or when under more stress than normal. Look for ways to add magnesium, sodium and potassium every day, but definitely while on an adventurous trip! For more wellness, metabolism, and hiking fitness tips, HEAD HERE next!
Sedona is an absolutely incredible place and I hope these simplified three options can help you make the most out of your trip! As always, safe travels and happy hiking!!