Sedona and the Sonoran Desert: Your Guide to Your Most Adventurous Girl's Trip Yet.
Updated: Nov 1
Planning a trip to Sedona? Don't miss out on Sonoran Desert and surrounding areas and all the adventures it they have to offer. As frequent travelers to this area, for both family trips and women's group trips, we've perfected the perfect 5 day itinerary, ADVENTURE EDITION. From beautiful views and desert landscapes to never-ending tacos, there is so much adventure to be found. I used this itinerary with w women's group trip with Women's Wilderness Weekends, but it would be great for especially adventurous families too. (Plus don't miss my pro tips at the end!)
Here's my suggested 5 day itinerary:
Day 1- Fly into Phoenix, stay in Scottsdale, AZ. Have dinner at Blue Agave (they have an amazing happy hour!), watch the sunset at Hole in the Rock at Papago Park.
Day 2- Hike Tom's Thumb (pictured at top of page) in the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy (4.4 miles, moderate difficulty). Have lunch at Diego Pops. Head to Sedona and catch the sunset at Airport Mesa.
Day 3- Take a guided canyoneering trip with Epic Adventures. One of my favorite parts of the trip, canyoneering is a guided tour that's a mix of climbing and hiking. You'll rappel down cliff walls and hike through some of the most beautiful canyons in the area. A MUST do while you're visiting. Walk downtown Sedona and eat at one of the many restaurants there. Find a hot tub or a pool.
Day 4- Head to Cathedral Rock for sunrise, you'll watch the sunrise at the large vista at the beginning of the trail and then finish the hike after it rises (1.5 miles, moderate due to some scrambling). Head to the Boynton Canyon trail to see the Boynton Canyon Vortex and the Subway Cave (7 miles, relatively easy except for some scrambling at the subway cave). Have dinner at Oak Creek Brewery and Grill, explore the Tlaquepaque Art Shops.
Day 5- Sunrise hike to the Birthing Cave, from the Mescal Trail (2 miles). Head back to the airport, and plan your next trip.
Ready to go? Here's my pro tips!
Parking can be an issue in Sedona, get there as early as possible.
Many popular Sedona parking lots now have a free shuttle service. You will NOT be able to park at Cathedral rock after 6 am, you must use the shuttle. The Mescal trail also has shuttle service. Check here for most up to date info. https://sedonashuttle.com/
You'll need to purchase a red rocks day pass to park in any Sedona parking lot. You can also use your National Parks pass.
Avoid Devil's Bridge unless you go before sunrise. There will be a line, typically 1+ hours, to get on the bridge.
Cathedral Rock is shut down for maintenance a LOT. Check before you go.
Now get out there!