Complete Guide to Airport Mesa Vortex Sedona (Maps Included)

May 2, 2022

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Airport Mesa Vortex in Sedona, AZ, is one of the area’s most accessible vortexes AND just so happens to be an amazing place to watch the sunset in Sedona. When you get there, you’ll be embraced with a giant hug of vortex energy and have a view of epic rock formations like Thunder Mountain and Chimney Rock.

Sounds nice, right?

Lucky for you, Airport Mesa is easy to get to, which is another reason why it’s loved by thousands of visitors every year. But unfortunately, this Sedona gem is so popular that parking can be next to impossible.

Don’t worry! There are many different ways to enjoy the Airport Mesa Vortex, and we will cover them in this blog!

If one option doesn’t pan out, you can go to plan B and have just as much fun.

Everything I’m going to tell you is based on my experience as a local.

Let’s begin!

When you’re done with this post, read my other Sedona blogs:

view from airport mesa vortex sedona arizona

Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links which means I earn a small percentage of every purchase at no additional cost to you.

First, What is a Vortex?

A vortex is a large sum of energy that spews out from the universe. You can’t see the energy, but folks claim you can feel it.

Some Sedona visitors say that vortex energy is cleansing or feels like a rush of good vibes, depending on who you talk to. Others say it’s life-changing!

These claims helped put Sedona on the map.

In fact, there are several vortexes in Sedona. Some of the more popular ones include:

Regardless of whether or not YOU believe in the power of vortex energy, remember that people have the right to enjoy a location as much as you do.

Be respectful đŸ™‚

Now that you have an idea of what we’re talking about when we say “vortex,” let’s go into planning your trip to Airport Mesa.

When to Go

Airport Mesa Vortex Sedona is best enjoyed at sunset! But, of course, you can enjoy a sunrise here. 

However, there are some better places to go for a good Sedona sunrise hike like:

Because of the limited parking, get there early (30 to 40 minutes) if you want to visit Airport Mesa for sunset! But, again, if you can’t find parking in one area, you can probably choose a different route to get there.

Let’s cover the routes now!

Airport Mesa Vortex via Airport Road

  • Airport Road Parking34.855304,-111.7803895
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 0.1 miles round trip (out and back)
  • Time to Vortex: 5 to 10 minutes
  • Elevation Gain: Extremely minimal
  • Parking: About 8 spaces
  • Best Light: Sunset
  • Red Rock Pass Required? No

The first way to get to Airport Mesa Vortex Sedona is from the small parking lot off Airport Road. You’ll want to get here anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes before sunset—there is next to no parking!

The lot is easy to miss, as it’s relatively small and just looks like a pull-off. Once parked, though, you’ll walk about 100 feet up a small path.

You’ll immediately come upon a super photogenic mesa great for sunset and photos!

You’ll want to go left to get to the vortex, following Aiport Mesa Trail (aka Summit Trail).

Less than 200 feet in, you’ll climb a small hill (there are handrails to help), and arrive at the vortex!

This is the easiest way to get to Airport Mesa Vortex. It’s the perfect addition to any Sedona itinerary because it’s short and sweet.

map of airport mesa vortex in sedona arizona

Go here if you’re not in the mood for an “actual” hike!

Sedona View Trail #169

  • Airport Loop Trail34.8566938,-111.7865323
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 1.2 miles round trip (out and back)
  • Time to Complete: 1.5 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 380 feet
  • Parking: $3
  • Best Light: Sunset
  • Red Rock Pass Required? No

Heading north on Airport Road is Sedona View Trail—another path that will take you to the vortex!

To hike Sedona View Trail, public parking is $3 (paid in a kiosk or to an attendant) and sits right before the trailhead.

Once parked, hit the trail and begin your hike to Airport Mesa Vortex.

Sedona View Trail is easy to follow and relatively flat. So you’ll reach Airport Mesa in about 0.6 miles. 

Because this trail sits parallel to Airport Mesa Road, you’re sure to have some great views along your hike! That’s what makes this trail a great option if you want a slightly better adventure than the first route we discussed!

map of sedona view trail #169 in sedona arizona

Once you hit Airport Loop Trail at the 0.6-mile mark, follow the same path we previously discussed to get to the vortex!

Airport Loop Trail

  • Airport Loop Trail34.8566938,-111.7865323
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 3.2 miles round trip
  • Time to Complete: 2.5 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 416 feet
  • Parking: $3
  • Best Light: Sunset
  • Red Rock Pass Required? No

And finally, we have Airport Loop Trail.

Airport Loop Trail will be the longest and most difficult to hike of all the routes we covered. Your adventure will begin at the same overlook parking lot we previously discussed.

If you don’t want to pay the $3 parking fee, you can park at the lot off Airport Road.

But assuming you paid for parking near the airport, hiking the loop counter-clockwise will get you to the vortex in about 0.8 miles (shown in blue on the map below).

From the vortex, you can complete the loop in 2.4 miles.

The trail is considered pretty rock and can be challenging. Though, you’ll have great views of Sedona during your entire hike!

Choose this path for getting to Airport Mesa Vortex if you want a longer adventure. Otherwise, I would skip and choose a shorter route to the vortex.

map of airport loop trail in sedona arizona

In my opinion, there are plenty of better hike options to spend your time on! You can read about them in my best Sedona hikes for sunset and sunrise blog.

What to Pack

Hiking to Airport Mesa Vortex Sedona isn’t hard, but here are a couple of things you should bring with you.

Good Hiking Shoes

Listen, Sedona trails, in general, are rocky AF. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stubbed my toes on the red @$$ sandstone out there.

The same goes for the trails leading to Airport Mesa.

Do yourself a favor and get some good hiking boots to protect your precious toes! At the least, have some decent hiking shoes with good grip.

Rocks along the hiking trails in the area can sometimes be slick!


There is truly nothing worse than an Arizona sunburn. And Sedona trails are usually open, completely unshaded.

Airport Mesa Vortex is no exception! I like Elta MD sunscreen because it doesn’t leave a white cast, moisturizes my skin, and protects me from harsh sun rays.

✨You should also bring: a cute sun hat, a headlamp, a reusable water bottle, and sunglasses.

Final Tips for Enjoying Airport Mesa Vortex

Before we close things up, here are my final tips for enjoying Airport Mesa.

Bring Your Camera

Airport Mesa is considered one of the most Instagrammable places in Sedona. You’ll want to take pics here, trust me. 

A phone camera will be just fine! BUT If you’re curious to see what camera I use, check out my camera gear for bloggers post.

Choose an Easy Route

I completely understand wanting to have a more “involved” adventure and why someone would want to hike Airport Loop Trail.

While the Loop Trail is popular, I think you can skip it. If you’re in the mood for a strenuous sunset hike, Cathedral Rock Vortex is worth the effort! Airport Mesa is just so easy to get to and doesn’t get any better with the effort that comes with a longer hike.

If it were me, I’d choose Sedona View Trail or the lot of Airport Road to get here.

Get There Early

Remember, because getting to Airport Mesa is so easy, it’s usually crowded. So to ensure you get a parking space, try to get there early!

And that’s it! Pretty simple, huh?

I hope you enjoyed this post on Airport Mesa Vortex Sedona. AND I hope you enjoy the vortex.

To plan your best Sedona trip ever, I recommend checking out my other helpful Sedona blogs:

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I'm a burrito loving explorer who got fired from corporate America and turned that into my dream career as a photographer and blogger. Now I'm here to help you explore life's magic. Thanks for stopping by!