Taking a tour of the Southwest this year and I'm starting in Sedona. I'm a big, big nature lover so I'm planning on spending a lot of time outdoors while I'm there. Would love to know the best outdoors places to see.
Ahhh...Red Rock country! Sedona is arguably the most beautiful place on earth and certainly one of my personal favorite places. If you're looking to hike, I recommend picking up a Sedona trails map. I used and liked this one: http://www.emmittbarks.com/maps.htm .
There are countless hikes of red rock buttes, pinnacles, mesas, and sandstone cliffs. All of the large "rocks" are named, presumably based on the their shape, ie. Bell Rock Trail, Courthouse Butte Trail, Chimney Rock. One of my personal favorite hikes was the 1.4 mile Cathedral Rock Trail. It's a moderately strenuous hike with a a small amount of easy rock climbing. This view will be your reward for reaching the top: http://s959.photobucket.com/user/datsun70/media/gorgeous-sedona-arizona-sunset.jpg.html#/user/datsun70/media/gorgeous-sedona-arizona-sunset.jpg.html?&_suid=137453225318205079120482717934 .
A website that I found helpful in planning some of my hikes can be found here: http://www.visionsofheaven.com/_journeys/sedona/sedona_index.html#hikes .There isn't a "bad" hike anywhere and we were able to get in 2-4 good hikes in a day depending on their distance and intensity. Each hike offered up incredible views and unique experiences. If you just want to take a nice drive, head up Highway 89A to Slide Rock State Park (This highway was voted "Top 10 Driver's Drives" by National Geographic). If you want to go biking, the Lime Kiln Trailconnecting Dead Horse Ranch State Park and Red Rock State Park has won a Critic's Choice Award for Best Bike Ride for 6 years in a row: http://azstateparks.com/Parks/RERO/facilities.html#lime.
If you want to check out some ancient Indian ruins, the Palatki Ruins offers guided tours: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coconino/recreation/ohv/recarea/?recid=55368&actid=119 . I'm excited for you and am sure that you'll find that one trip to Sedona won't be enough to do and see all the things that it offers. I know I keep going back for more!
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There were few other people and many great photo spots.
Devils Bridge was pretty impressive, too. It's actually more interesting looking from the bottom than the top. At the top, my boyfriend had the courage to walk across it. Not me.