Joseph Plotz, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Joseph Plotz, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Shaka Guide's Sedona, Arizona Itinerary


When it comes to scenic drives, it’s hard to beat Sedona.

With Oak Creek Canyon, the Red Rock Scenic Byway, and Red Rock Loop Rd, there are so many incredible vistas and spots to explore.

Even if you never leave the car, you’re in for a treat.

Sedona is a top-rated destination, so depending on when you visit, things can get a little busy around here.

Don’t be surprised to find parking lots filled up and cars circling for a parking spot.

Our Shaka Guide tour provides plenty of options in case something doesn’t work out.

We’ve designed the route to help you customize your tour, and, with some luck, escape some of the potential crowds in the middle of the day. 

sedona tour map stops by Shaka Guide

The best thing you can do to ensure a successful road trip is to get an early start.

If you’re starting in town, be ready for the gates to open at the Chapel of the Holy Cross at 9:00. 

You could even head out earlier and catch the nearby Mystic Trail near the entrance, or just get a head start on hiking at Courthouse Vista.

If you’re not planning on doing much hiking, expect to spend about 8-10 hours touring with us.

If you want to sneak in a couple of hikes, this tour could take 10-12 hours. Either way, you’ll have to make some choices–there won’t be time to visit everything!

1. Chapel of the Holy Cross

Approximate Time: 15-30 minutes

cross in the mountainsBernard Spragg. NZ from Christchurch, New Zealand, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Check out this striking mid-century modern chapel with an outstanding view of the red rocks, both from inside and outside.

It’s a popular spot, so expect some crowds. Want a closer look at the red cliffs behind the chapel?

The Chapel Trail is an excellent, fairly easy hike with awesome views of the cliffs the whole time.

Expect to spend a little more time here if you decide to enjoy the trail.

Entry fees/requirements: N/A

2. Yavapai & Courthouse Vistas

Approximate Time: 15-30 minutes

rocky mountains in sedonaShutterstock Image

Two vista points–Yavapai and Courthouse–are near each other on opposite sides of the Red Rock Scenic Byway.

There are hiking trails leading from both, but Courthouse Vista’s trails surrounding Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte are superior.

Visitors looking for a meditative experience will also want to seek out the alleged vortex on Bell Rock, so you may find people doing yoga or enjoying a moment of peace.

Whichever vista point you choose, both offer splendid views of the buttes and the surrounding red rock scenery.

Parking may be slightly easier at Yavapai, for what it’s worth! 

Entry fees/requirements: A Red Rock Pass (or America the Beautiful Pass) is required to park.

3. Courthouse Loop South Trailhead

Approximate Time: Under 15 minutes

desert with two mountainsImage by Matthew Caracciolo

Get another look at Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte from this trailhead and parking lot right off the Red Rock Scenic Byway. 

Entry fees/requirements: A Red Rock Pass (or America the Beautiful Pass) is required to park.

4. Red Rock Ranger District Visitor Center

Approximate Time: Under 15 minutes

in front of a visitor center in sedonaImage by Matthew Caracciolo

Use the restroom, refill your water bottle, and get your National Park Passport stamp at this modern and informative visitor center.

A scenic overlook by the front door provides one more view of the scenic byway’s red rocks.

Exhibits inside interpret the area’s natural and human history.

Entry fees/requirements: N/A

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5. Old Town Cottonwood

Approximate Time: 45 minutes

old town in sedonaImage from Flickr by 

This small historic district is a great place to grab a bite while Sedona’s parking lots fill up.

The cafes, restaurants, and taverns on this strip are generally cheaper than their peers in Sedona too.

Entry fees/requirements: There are paid parking spots along Main St, but there is free parking nearby.

6. Tuzigoot National Monument

Approximate Time: 45 minutes

basement of a houseMarine 69-71, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Sinagua built this 110-room hilltop pueblo over 1,000 years ago.

Check out the museum inside the visitor center displaying artifacts discovered during the pueblo’s excavation.

Then explore the pueblo’s ruins themselves just up a small hill from the visitor center.

No one was sneaking up on them from that view!

Entry fees/requirements: $10 adult (16+)

7. Audrey Headframe Park

Approximate Time: Under 15 minutes

audrey headframe park signboardImage by Matthew Caracciolo

Stare down a 1900-ft mining shaft from the safety and terror-inducing transparency of a glass floor!

This shaft just outside the entrance to Jerome State Historic Park lifted over 3 million pounds of ore from 1919-1938. 

Entry fees/requirements: N/A

8. Jerome State Historic Park

Approximate Time: 30-45 minutes

light brown house with terraceImage by Matthew Caracciolo

The Douglas Mansion was built in 1916. Today, it houses this museum that depicts the history of Jerome and its mines.

Learn about the Douglas family that ran the mines, look at the dioramas of the mine shafts under the town, and enjoy the incredible view of the entire Verde Valley.

Entry fees/requirements: $7 adults (14+), $4 youth, Free 0-6

9. Town of Jerome

Approximate Time: 60 minutes

town with crad parked at the streetsImage by Matthew Caracciolo

This town on a steep hillside was known as much for its loose morals and frequent disasters as it was for its booming mining business.

Almost a ghost town after the mines closed, today Jerome’s crumbling buildings mix with a funky assortment of restaurants, bars, and shops.

This is another cheaper lunch option than Sedona.

Entry fees/requirements: Street and lot parking will cost a couple of bucks in town. You can also park for free at Jerome State Historic Park and take the free shuttle into town.

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10. Red Rock State Park

red rock state park signboard on the desertImage by Matthew Caracciolo

Approximate Time: 60 minutes

One of the highlights of Red Rock Loop Rd, this state park’s hiking trails take in the surrounding red rock mesas and buttes.

Most trails are easy to moderate in difficulty and go through a mix of brush and low forest.

Oak Creek running through the middle of the park is an important watering hole for desert wildlife.

Entry fees/requirements: $7 for adults 14+, $4 for youth, Free 0-6


11. Crescent Moon Picnic Site

Approximate Time: 30-60 minutes

people in the picnic siteCoconino National Forest, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Even if you left your picnic basket at home, check out the incredible views of Cathedral Rock from this park close to its base.

Keep walking along Oak Creek until you find the perfect photo spot, which is what many people come to this picnic area to do.

Entry fees/requirements: $11 per vehicle (up to 5 people). $2 for walk-ins/additional passengers. Cash and check only. Red Rock Grand Annual Pass accepted.

12. Secret Slickrock Trailhead

Approximate Time: 15-30 minutes

desert valleyImage by Matthew Caracciolo

Is Crescent Moon too busy? Even if it’s not, you’ll want to explore this easy hike for a higher, unobstructed view of Cathedral Rock from a wide open ledge.

Entry fees/requirements: N/A

13. Lover’s Knoll

Approximate Time: Under 15 minutes

desert overviewImage by Matthew Caracciolo

This unmarked pull-off on the side of Red Rock Loop Rd is great for getting a more panoramic view of the surrounding red rock scenery.

Park the car, walk up a small hill through desert plant life, and take in the 360-degree view.

Entry fees/requirements: N/A

14. Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park

Approximate Time: 15-30 minutes

buddha statue in the desertImage by Matthew Caracciolo

Tibetan prayer flags flap in the wind and people come from all walks of life for prayer, meditation, or reflection in this peaceful desert sanctuary.

The giant stupa, or Buddhist monument filled with sacred relics, is the focal point of the park, with sweeping views of the red rock mesas in every direction.

Entry fees/requirements: N/A

15. Sedona Airport Scenic Lookout

Approximate Time: 15-30 minutes

airport overview in sedona with lots of peopleImage by Matthew Caracciolo

A view not to be missed! Airport Mesa is in the middle of the city, with this scenic lookout facing the northern and western red rock formations.

This is one of the best sunset views in Sedona, so time your visit accordingly!

Halfway up the mesa is a small parking lot, where another incredible sunset view and a vortex await explorers.

Entry fees/requirements: $3 to park at the lookout

16. Midgley Bridge Picnic Area

Approximate Time: Under 15 minutes

metal bridge for trainsJim Twitchell/Redacted from Chelmsford, MA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The entry into Oak Creek Canyon passes some really cool red rock formations.

Park at this small lot to snap your pictures and take a look at the Midgley Bridge and the canyon below.

From here, the canyon only gets bigger and more impressive.

Entry fees/requirements: A Red Rock Pass (or America the Beautiful Pass) is required to park.

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17. Native American Crafts Market

Approximate Time: Under 15 minutes

Support local artists from Arizona’s native tribes and shop for souvenir crafts, art, and jewelry.

Approved vendors have direct relationships with the artists.

Entry fees/requirements: N/A

18. Slide Rock State Park

Approximate Time: 45-60 minutes

river in the desertImage by Matthew Caracciolo

Pack your swimming trunks. Most of this park protects the former Pendley Homestead and its apple orchard, but the highlight is a natural water play area along Oak Creek, including a water slide!

The red rocks surrounding the creek are also fun to climb around. This could be the highlight of the day for youngsters. 

Entry fees/requirements: $7 for adults 14+, $4 for youth, Free 0-6

19. West Fork Oak Creek Trailhead

Approximate Time: 45-180 minutes

Oak Creek, and the canyon, fork to the west at this beautiful spot.

It’s an easy, but long trail through a forested gorge that requires creek crossings on logs and stepping stones.

Don’t want to do the whole trail? Go as far as you’d like, and enjoy the ruins of the Mayhew Lodge not far from the parking lot.

A stunning stop whether you’re a hiker or not!

Entry fees/requirements: $11 per vehicle (up to 5 people), $2 for walk-ins/additional passengers. Red Rock Grand Annual Pass accepted. 

20. Oak Creek Vista

Approximate Time: 15-30 minutes

pine valleyCoconino National Forest, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The grand finale of your Sedona tour. Get a bird’s eye view of Oak Creek Canyon from this overlook.

A Native American Craft Market sets up shop on the walkway between the parking lot and the overlook, so don’t forget to shop for a souvenir from a local artist. 

Entry fees/requirements: N/A

Sedona is an amazing place, and we can't wait to take you there! This tour is flexible, and you can choose whichever you decide to stop at. However you decide to take this tour, you'll have a wonderful time. Enjoy Sedona!

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sedona itinerary

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Ready to embark on Shaka Guide's Sedona Tour?

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.

Be sure to check out our Know Before you Go in Sedona and our Things To Do in Sedona articles!


Hiking Devil's Bridge in Sedona: Everything You Need To Know

Airport for Sedona, AZ

Driving to Sedona from Phoenix

Driving Between the Grand Canyon and Sedona, Arizona

Sedona in December

The Ultimate Sedona, Arizona Travel Guide

14 Amazing Hikes in Sedona

Know Before You Go: Shaka Guide's Sedona Tour

15 Things To Do in Sedona



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