John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sedona in December


Sedona is one of the most popular destinations in Arizona. That means busy seasons can see slow traffic, full parking lots, and crowded restaurants. Not to mention the high prices for accommodations. So you may be wondering - is December, traditionally an off-season month, a good time to visit Sedona? 

Well we’ve got news for you. December is a great month to visit Sedona. One of the best, in fact.

While there’s no true slow season in Sedona, December does see far fewer visitors, which means less competition in parking lots, easier reservations at restaurants (or no reservations required), and deals on accommodations and car rentals. Can’t complain about that! Let’s dive deeper into December in Sedona.

Weather in Sedona in December

John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

December is the coldest month in Sedona. Of course, cold is a relative term. Sedona’s average high in December is a very comfortable 57 degrees fahrenheit. That means you can still enjoy all the trails and outdoor recreational activities Sedona has to offer. And 57 degrees is a lot more comfortable on the desert trail than July’s average high, which is 97 degrees fahrenheit. And. like much of the rest of the year, December is largely dry and sunny.

The one source of weather-related discomfort is the low temperatures in the evenings, nights, and mornings. The average low in December is 32 degrees fahrenheit. Those chilly temperatures mean you should still bring your winter coat, even if you won’t need it by the afternoon. They also mean you might find a light dusting of snow on the desert’s red rock scenery, which only adds to the allure of the landscape. Not to worry, though. Sedona only sees an average of about one inch of snow in all of December, so it’s unlikely that winter weather will affect roads from a safety perspective.

RELATED: One-Day Itinerary: Sedona, AZ

Things to Do in Sedona in December

Ray Redstone, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Because the temperatures don’t drop too low and snow is minimal, the list of things to do in Sedona in December is mostly the same as it is the rest of the year. About the only thing December is not ideal for is swimming, unless you can find an indoor pool!

  1. Explore Sedona’s 200 trails, totalling over 400 miles criss-crossing the desert. And if you’re lucky, there will be a magical dusting of snow. Here are 14 of our favorites!
  2. Rent a 4x4 vehicle and explore the area’s backcountry roads, or take a jeep tour.
  3. Enjoy a mountain biking trail through red rock country.
  4. Camp in nearby Coconino National Forest.
  5. Eat your way through Sedona’s culinary scene, or visit the city’s many shops.
  6. Golf at any of Sedona’s clubs.
  7. And of course, you can take Shaka Guide’s Sedona driving tour.

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RELATED: 15 Things To Do in Sedona

Annual Events in Sedona in December


Of course, there are some things you can only do in December in Sedona. Like anywhere else, Sedona hosts its own holiday displays and seasonal activities.

  • The Tlaquepaque Arts and Shopping Village puts on a Festival of Lights, with 6,000 luminarias lighting the mall.
  • Join Santa Claus on the Verde Canyon Railroad’s Magical Christmas Journey in nearby Cottonwood.

What to Pack For a December Trip to Sedona

With comfortable midday temperatures but chilly mornings, evenings, and nights, what do you pack for your December vacation to Sedona? Layers!

You’ll probably start the day wearing your winter coat and whatever long pants you brought. As it warms up, remove layers as your comfort level warrants. You probably want to bring some hoodies or long-sleeved shirts for those transitional hours. By the afternoon, you might even want to keep a pair of shorts handy in your car as the Arizona sun warms the winter sky. And then by evening time, you’ll probably be putting layers back on.

Don’t like the cooler temperatures fool you. The sun is still strong and you’ll want to bring sun protection like a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. 

And of course, don’t forget your water - this is the desert after all. 

RELATED: Know Before You Go: Shaka Guide's Sedona Tour

Ready to Book Your December Vacation to Sedona?

Janet Ward, NOAA., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

If you can deal with chilly starts and finishes to your day, then December can be one of the best times of the year to visit Sedona. The city doesn’t skip a beat with activities, and the desert is just as accessible as any other time of year to explore. Plus, you might save some money, and deal with fewer people while doing it. So what do you have to lose?

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Rearing to begin your Sedona adventure?

Be sure to take Shaka Guide with you, using our Sedona, Arizona Tour!

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