Visiting Sedona in the Winter. What to Expect and Why it's Our Favorite Time to Visit.
We all know Sedona is beautiful, but it puts on a totally different show in the winter. Seeing those red rocks with a dusting of snow is an amazing experience. The temperatures are milder PLUS you'll see far fewer crowds than the rest of the year.
WHEN to go.
Late December through early April is your best chance to see snow but also have milder weather. You might see snow in the morning but be in a T-shirt by the afternoon.
WHERE to stay.
While you CAN camp in Sedona in the winter, it can get pretty cold. Temperatures were in the teens when we visited in December. We suggest RV/campervan camping, a hotel, or an Airbnb to make the most of a winter trip.
Rancho Sedona RV Park. Nicely appointed sites with full hookups, WIFI, and cable. We loved that it was right on the edge of town and we could walk to many shops and restaurants. Reservations suggested, but they did have a couple of open sites available for walk ins.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park. A bit of a drive from Sedona, but well worth it in for a quiet campground to come home to. Reservations available but there were plenty of available walk in sites in the winter. Visit the Tuzigoot National Monument nearby.
Verde Valley RV Resort. A large and resort like RV park with mini-golf, horseshoes, a pool and hot tub. Older or run down RVs are not allowed. They requested to "see our RV" before letting us book, to ensure it was nice enough to be allowed in the park.
Oak Creek Mobilodge. A beautiful but small RV park located right on Oak Creek. Make reservations beforehand as spots are limited.
Off Grid Camping. While there are lots of BLM options for free camping, many are located on dirt roads and not suggested for larger RVs or campervans with low clearance.
WHAT to do.
There is so much to do in Sedona but the biggest draw is definitely the natural red rock formations, hiking trails, and outdoor adventures. Here are our favorites.
Cathedral Rock (pictured above)- a must see in Sedona, this 1.2 mile is short but somewhat technical hike with some fun rock scrambling to get to the top.
Boynton Canyon Vortex (photo 1 below)- moderate 1.1 miles, with the option to add more, and the opportunity to visit one of Sedona's famed "vortexes", a supposed area of concentrated energy from the Earth.
Birthing Cave (photo 2 below)- moderate 2 miles, relatively easy until you get to the actual birthing cave. It doesn't look like much from the trail but once you get inside the "cave", with some moderate scrambling, you'll be awarded with a very different view of Sedona.
Airport Mesa Vortex (photo 3 below)- another short hike with an amazing payoff. Park at the airport mesa parking lot (parking will cost $3 per car or $6 per RV), although there is a slight chance of finding free parking in the small lot located on Airport Rd. This is a GREAT place to watch the sunset.
Subway Cave (photo 4 below) - One of the coolest caves in Sedona, and a favorite for photos. This 6 mile trail will start at the Boynton Canyon Trail, and you'll turn at an unmarked trail 2 miles in on your right. The climb up into the cave is steep but it's well worth the views.
Looking for extra adventure in Sedona? There are so many options for both beginner and expert alike.
Canyoneering. Call it an extreme version of hiking, canyoneering uses ropes to help you explore the many canyons of Sedona and surrounding areas. You'll rappel down rock faces and scramble and climb your way through the rock formations. You'll need a guide, who will provide you with all the gear you need. There are many options of difficulty for canyoneering, beginners welcome, but you should be moderately fit to try it out.
WHY you should visit Sedona in the winter.
Less crowds and more time doing what you love, finding adventure.