Photo by Kaileen Fitzpatrick  on Unsplash

Photo by Kaileen Fitzpatrick on Unsplash

Know Before You Go: Shaka Guide's Sedona Tour


sedona tour map

Ready for your trip to Sedona? This part of Arizona is known for its out-of-this-world scenery and New Age sensibilities. To make the most of your Shaka Guide tour, we have some advice to consider before you even start the car.

Start Planning

  • We recommend an early start. This tour is a big one, and you may not have time to do everything, and that’s okay! We’ve given you plenty of options because Sedona is a popular destination. Parking lots fill up fast and a stop may be too crowded. Getting an early start will help ensure you get the most out of your day. 8:30 am is an ideal time to start the tour. Or even earlier, if you plan to pass the Chapel of the Holy Cross which opens at 9 am.
  • For those starting the tour from the center of town, the tour’s last stop, Oak Creek Vista, closes at 5 pm. You will likely have to pass some stops to make it to the vista before 5 pm.
  • The tour passes many hikes, and you won’t be able to do all of them in one day. Before you start the tour, check out the hikes in the app under Highlights and choose which ones to prioritize.
  • The tour also includes an optional side trip to Jerome. If you’re not interested in hiking, then a trip to this unique historical town just might be for you.
  • The following stops on the tour will require a Red Rock Pass (daily pass ($5), weekly pass ($15), annual pass ($20)) to park your car in the lot. If you have an America the Beautiful Pass, you can place that on your dashboard rather than purchase the pass. Passes are available throughout the Sedona area and at parking lot kiosks.
    • Yavapai Vista
    • Courthouse Vista
    • Courthouse Loop South Trailhead
    • Midgely Bridge Picnic Area
  • The following stops on the tour require a Red Rock Grand Annual Pass, or an $11 fee per vehicle. If you don’t plan to come back to the area within a year, it’s probably more economical to pay the one-time fee.
    • Crescent Moon Picnic Site: $11 per vehicle. Cash and check only.
    • West Fork Oak Creek Trailhead: $11 per vehicle.
  • We have three state parks on this tour! See below under Budgeting for the different fees.
  • Remember that Arizona, and therefore Sedona, doesn't observe Daylight Savings Time.
  • Fees for some of the tour’s stops are cash or credit card only, so bring both!
  • Dining in Sedona is expensive. Budget travelers might want to stock up on picnic supplies at the grocery store.
  • Do some more hiking during your time in Sedona? Check out the Sedona Shuttle park-and-ride system for some of the area’s most popular trailheads.

What to Expect/ FAQ’s

big stone mountains

Scenery in every direction

When you visit Sedona, you’re in for a day of outstanding views in every direction.

Even from within the city, the area’s famed red rocks are clearly visible.

Oak Creek Canyon, the Red Rock Scenic Byway, and Red Rock Loop Rd offer nonstop views.

We dare you to take a bad picture. It can’t be done.

To learn

We won’t leave you hanging during the longer driving intervals.

We’ve prepared some great stories that highlight the area’s indigenous people, film history, and more.

You’ll end the day with some great memories of the scenery and some fun facts to share with your friends.

download sedona


Sedona is a popular destination and an easy day trip from the sprawling Phoenix metro area.

That means this small city of 10,000 sees over 3 million visitors a year!

Don’t be surprised if traffic gets a little slow as cars maneuver through the roundabouts and people search for parking.

But hey, there’s not a bad view in the area, so at least it’s pretty traffic!

Small parking lots at trailheads

You’ll find that some of the most popular trailheads don’t have nearly as many parking spaces as they need to accommodate the number of hikers.

If you’re visiting on a busy day, be prepared to circle the lot waiting for someone to leave, or to move on to the next stop. 

Pricey food

Though Sedona is gorgeous, it’s not typically seen as a budget destination.

Restaurants are expensive, though you’ll find some relief in Cottonwood and Jerome.

We’ve done our best to point out some relatively affordable food options, but sometimes fast food or a picnic is the way to go.

Lots of options

There is so much to see in Sedona. And because crowded parking lots can put a damper on inflexible plans, we’ve given you plenty of options for stops.

This way, there’s always something to choose from and you can prioritize what’s most interesting to you.


man loading on a pink jeep

Our tour includes one national monument, three state parks, and a national forest that requires the Red Rock Pass (unless you have an America the Beautiful Pass).

The admission fees for these parks are either per car or per person. 

  • The Red Rock Pass is required to park your car at several stops on the tour. You can purchase the daily pass ($5), weekly pass ($15), annual pass ($20) or Grand Annual pass ($45). These stops also accept the America the Beautiful Pass from the National Park Service. Display your America the Beautiful card on your dashboard and there’s no need to purchase a Red Rock Pass.
  • Tuzigoot National Monument:
    • $10 for adults ages 16 and up (also gets you admission to nearby Montezuma Castle, which is not on the tour)
  • Slide Rock State Park:
    • A fee is per vehicle 1-4 adults, $5 per additional adult
      • March 1-May 27 $20
      • May 28-Labor Day $20 Mon-Thurs, $30 Fri-Sun, Monday holidays
      • Tuesday after Labor Day-October 31 $20
      • November thru February $10
  • Red Rock State Park: 
    • $7 adults 14+, $4 youth, Free 0-6
  • Jerome State Historic Park: 
    • $7 adults 14+, $4 youth, Free 0-6
  • Crescent Moon Picnic Site: 
    • $12 per vehicle (up to 5 people). $2 for walk-ins or additional passengers. Cash only. Red Rock Grand Annual Pass accepted.
  • West Fork Oak Creek Trailhead: 
    • $12 per vehicle (up to 5 people), $2 for walk-ins or additional passengers. Red Rock Grand Annual Pass accepted. 
  • Parking at Sedona Airport Scenic Lookout: $3
  • Meals: $15-25 per person per meal, unless you go for fast food

Packing List

hiker looking on top

Here’s our packing list to get the most out of your day with us.

  • Car charger for your phone (important)
  • Phone Mount
  • Hiking shoes
  • Hiking attire
  • Layers, including a jacket
  • Swimming attire and flip-flops (for swimming holes!)
  • Refillable water bottle or canteen
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses and/or hat
  • Snacks
  • Cash
  • Credit Card

When you visit a natural beauty like this, you’ll eventually come across the phrase “leave no trace.”

It is important to leave an area exactly as you found it. We can enjoy Sedona because of visitors like you working to preserve its natural beauty—so let’s do our part.

At Shaka Guide, we promote ethical and responsible tourism.

Please, pick up your trash, respect plant and animal life, and keep yourself safe, too.

Leave no trace of your visit behind so future generations can continue to enjoy Mother Nature's gifts.

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We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at aloha@shakaguide.com.

For more detailed information to help you plan, check out our Sedona Itinerary.

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