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Southwest

How to Spend One AMAZING Day in Sedona Itinerary

Jan 17, 2024

Southwest

How to Spend One AMAZING Day in Sedona Itinerary

Jan 17, 2024

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Sedona, Arizona, is a mystical and enchanting destination among famous red rocks and without a doubt, a one day in Sedona itinerary needs to be on your bucket list. With its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and ample opportunities for outdoor adventure, Sedona is the perfect place for a one-day getaway. In this comprehensive guide, I will take you through an unforgettable journey, experiencing the best of Sedona, from sunrise to sunset!

Important: This itinerary is broken down from morning to nightfall, providing options for both hikers and non-hikers.

All recommendations are based on the countless times I’ve enjoyed Sedona as a local. Let’s dive in!

đź“Ś Save this to Pinterest!

Disclaimer: Hey explorer! This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small percentage of each purchase made through my links. I only ever recommend products I believe in and appreciate your support if you decide to use my links—thank you!

Short on time and need to know what to do with one day in Sedona? Book this bestselling jeep tour or this off-roading adventure!

Things to Do with One Day in Sedona, AZ

Before we cover what your day trip to Sedona will look like, let’s quickly discuss what you can do when you get there:

Hike: Sedona hikes are some of the best. You can enjoy easy hikes or difficult ones— both usually offer great views!

Sedona UFO & Vortex Tours: Delve into the mysteries of Sedona’s vortexes and the possibility of extraterrestrial life with a UFO & Vortex tour, led by experts in the field who will share fascinating information about the area’s energy centers and sightings of unexplained phenomena. Click here to see availability >>

Sedona Wine Tours: Sip and savor the flavors of Arizona’s burgeoning wine scene with a guided tour of local wineries and tasting rooms, such as those in the nearby Verde Valley Wine Trail, where you’ll learn about winemaking in the region and sample delicious local wines. Check availability >>

Sedona Trolley Tours: Hop aboard the charming Sedona Trolley for a narrated tour that covers the city’s highlights, including the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, and breathtaking viewpoints of the red rocks. Check availability >>

Pink Jeep Tours: Experience the thrill of off-roading in a custom-built Pink Jeep while exploring the area’s stunning red rock formations and learning about Sedona’s geology, history, and Native American culture from knowledgeable guides. Click here to see jeep tour availability >>

Sedona Red Rock Adventure Tours: Enjoy a personalized, private tour with Sedona Red Rock Adventure Tours, where experienced guides will tailor the itinerary to your interests, whether it’s hiking, photography, or exploring ancient ruins. Click here to see bike tour availability >>

Enjoy the Arts: Explore unique sites like the Tlaquepaque Art Village in the center of Sedona. 

Vortex Hunting: Sedona is known for having otherworldly vortexes or “energy” areas. Some of the more popular ones include Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock Vortex

Scenic Drive: Take a scenic drive along the famous Red Rock Loop Road and witness amazing views of Cathedral Rock and more of the famous rock formations.

Dine In: Savor exquisite Latin American cuisine while taking in unobstructed views of Sedona’s red rocks at this fine-dining establishment.

Sedona’s World-Class Spas: Treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa experience at one of Sedona’s many world-class spas, such as Mii Amo, L’Auberge de Sedona, or Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa, where you can indulge in luxurious treatments inspired by the area’s natural beauty and healing energy.

Yoga and Meditation: Connect with your inner self through yoga and meditation classes offered at various studios and wellness centers around Sedona, like Aumbase Sedona, 7 Centers Yoga Arts, or the Sedona Meditation Center— additionally you can book a meditation tour too!

Chapel of the Holy Cross: Visit this architectural marvel perched high on a hillside for a moment of peaceful reflection and stunning views.

Your one day in Sedona itinerary will include a healthy mix of these. Now let’s, dive into the itineraries!

One Day in Sedona Itinerary at a Glance + Map

For Hikers

  • Morning
    • Airport Mesa Vortex
  • Mid-Morning
    • Cathedral Rock
    • Devil’s Bridge (alternative)
  • Afternoon
    • Lunch
  • Evening
    • Sunset at Crescent Moon Picnic Site
  • Night
    • Dinner
      • Stargazing Tour

For Non-Hikers

  • Morning
    • Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Tour
  • Mid-Morning
    • Scenic Red Rock Loop Drive
  • Afternoon
    • Lunch
    • Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village
    • Chapel of the Holy Cross
  • Late Afternoon
    • Uptown Sedona Shopping
    • Spa Day (alternative)
  • Evening
    • Sunset at Lover’s Knoll
  • Night
    • Dinner
    • Stargazing Tour

In the next sections, we’ll cover these in detail!

Click here for a live version of the map!

Perfect One Day In Sedona Itinerary

Arrival

Fuel Up and Prepare for Adventure

Start your day off right with a hearty breakfast at the Red Rock Café. This local favorite offers a wide range of breakfast options, from classic eggs and bacon to their signature huevos rancheros.

Make sure to fuel up as you have an action-packed day ahead!

Pro Tip: Another great way to start your day is at the famous Coffee Pot!

Morning

Airport Mesa Vortex (For Hikers)

After breakfast, go to Airport Mesa for a truly unique Sedona experience. This moderately easy hike will take you to one of Sedona’s famous vortexes, where swirling energy centers are believed to possess healing and spiritual properties.

These vortexes have become renowned worldwide, attracting travelers seeking personal growth, self-reflection, and a deeper connection to nature. The hike up to Airport Mesa is relatively short, at about 2 miles round trip, with a well-maintained trail leading you to the vortex site.

As you make your way up, take in the panoramic views of the city and surrounding red rocks, which are especially stunning during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset! Those are my preferred times to be here. 

The Airport Mesa vortex is considered an “upflow” vortex, meaning it is said to enhance feelings of inspiration, rejuvenation, and spiritual awakening. Once you reach the vortex site, take some time to quiet your mind and connect with the energy of this sacred space. 

Many visitors like to meditate, practice yoga, or simply sit and absorb the vibrations of the vortex. Some claim to experience physical sensations, such as tingling or warmth, while others report emotional or spiritual shifts!

Whether or not you feel the energy, the breathtaking views and serene atmosphere of Airport Mesa make it a worthwhile stop on your one-day Sedona itinerary.

Wanderer Tip: For another easy morning hike, check out Doe Mountain Sedona.

Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Tour (For Non-Hikers)

Alternatively, you can book a hot air balloon tour and start your one day in Sedona with an incredibly scenic adventure from above. Helicopter tours are another great option if you’re not feeling the balloon vibes!

For a unique perspective, both tours will take you high above the red rocks, which I know you’ll love (I’m looking at you, non-hikers).

P.S. You’d like my guide on the most Instagrammable Places in Sedona!

Mid-Morning

Cathedral Rock Trail (For Hikers)

Next up is the iconic Cathedral Rock, one of Sedona’s most photographed landmarks. This moderately challenging hike rewards you with stunning vistas and a unique view of the famous rock formation.

Did I also mention it’s a vortex hike? So similar to Airport Mesa Vortex, you have the chance to absorb more of that energy goodness up here. However, a bit of scrambling is required, so if that scares, I say skip this one!

Wanderer Tip: For parking, don’t forget your America the Beautiful Pass or Red Rock Pass!

Devil’s Bridge (For Hikers)

Alternatively, consider visiting Devil’s Bridge, one of Sedona’s most iconic landmarks.

As the largest natural sandstone arch in the area, Devil’s Bridge is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers alike. The hike to the bridge covers approximately 4.2 miles round trip and is accessible via the Devil’s Bridge Trailhead.

While the majority of the hike is relatively easy, traversing well-maintained trails and gentle inclines, the final stretch leading to the arch can be a bit steep and challenging. Upon reaching the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the majestic Devil’s Bridge arch and the surrounding red rock formations.

If you want to capture stunning photographs, venture out onto the arch, but remember to be mindful of your surroundings and respect the delicate sandstone.

Wanderer Tip: Alternatively you can skip this hike and go up Soldier Pass.

Scenic Red Rock Loop Drive (For Non-Hikers)

For those looking to experience the beauty of Sedona’s red rock formations from the comfort of their vehicle, consider taking a leisurely drive along the Red Rock Loop. This 13-mile scenic drive offers stunning views of the area’s most iconic landmarks, including Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and Courthouse Butte.

Begin your drive by heading west on Highway 89A and turning right onto Upper Red Rock Loop Road. As you meander along the winding route, you’ll be treated to a series of breathtaking panoramas that showcase the rugged beauty of Sedona’s landscape.

Several pullouts and viewpoints along the way provide ample opportunities to pause, take photographs, and simply soak in the views.

Halfway through the loop, you’ll come across the Crescent Moon Picnic Site, which offers a picturesque spot to enjoy a packed lunch or a leisurely stroll along Oak Creek (but I have more on this later, so you can skip for now).

From here, continue on to Lower Red Rock Loop Road, where you’ll encounter additional viewpoints and opportunities for short hikes or picnics before completing the loop and returning to Highway 89A. The Red Rock Loop drive is an excellent option for those who prefer a more relaxed way to experience the natural beauty of Sedona.

Read Next: Sedona Vortexes Ranked Best to Worst

Afternoon

Lunch

Replenish your energy with a well-deserved lunch at Elote Café. This renowned eatery offers a fusion of Mexican and Southwestern cuisine.

Make sure to try their signature dish, elote, a delicious grilled corn appetizer.

Read Next: Best Sedona Sunrise and Sunset Hikes

Explore Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village (For Non-Hikers)

After lunch, set aside some time to explore the enchanting Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village. This delightful destination, designed to resemble a traditional Mexican village, is an art lover’s dream, showcasing a diverse array of galleries, boutiques, and handcrafted goods.

As you wander through the village’s narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll be transported to another world, surrounded by stunning Spanish Colonial-style architecture, vibrant ceramic tilework, and lush gardens filled with colorful flowers and trickling fountains.

The beautiful courtyards provide a tranquil setting for you to relax, unwind, and soak in the atmosphere.

Tlaquepaque, which translates to the “best of everything” in the ancient Aztec language, is home to over 40 unique shops and galleries, offering a wide range of fine art, jewelry, textiles, ceramics, and more.

Many of the galleries showcase the works of local and international artists, giving you the opportunity to learn about their creative processes and inspirations.

In addition to its impressive art offerings, Tlaquepaque also hosts various cultural events throughout the year, such as live music, art demonstrations, and traditional Mexican celebrations like DĂ­a de Los Muertos. If your visit coincides with an event, be sure to join in the festivities for an authentic and immersive experience!

Read Next: Best Boutique Hotels in Sedona

Visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross (For Non-Hikers)

Perched high on a hillside, the Chapel of the Holy Cross is an architectural marvel and a must-see in Sedona.

Designed by Marguerite Brunswig Staude, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, the chapel offers stunning views and a peaceful atmosphere for reflection! 

Completed in 1956, the chapel seamlessly integrates modern architectural elements with the natural beauty of the red rocks, creating a harmonious and striking visual experience—bring your camera to take some pics!

Whether you’re seeking spiritual solace or simply an opportunity to appreciate exceptional design and breathtaking scenery, a visit to the Chapel of the Holy Cross will leave a lasting impression on your trip!

Read Next: Phoenix to Sedona to Grand Canyon Road Trip

Late Afternoon

Uptown Sedona Shopping and Dining (For Non-Hikers)

As the sun sets, head to Uptown Sedona for some shopping and dining. This vibrant area boasts an array of unique boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants.

Don’t miss the opportunity to taste some delicious gelato at Black Cow CafĂ© or indulge in a glass of local wine at Vino Zona! If shopping isn’t your vibe, book a relaxing spa experience in one of Sedona’s world-class spas. 

Wanderer Tip: Heading to the Phoenix area? Also read Scottsdale vs Sedona.

Sedona Spa Day (For Non-Hikers)

Treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa experience, such as Mii Amo, L’Auberge de Sedona, or Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa, where you can indulge in luxurious treatments inspired by the area’s natural beauty and healing energy.

If you’re a hiker, you can also indulge in a spa day after a long day of trekking!

Read Next: Day Trip to Sedona From Scottsdale

Evening

Sunset at Crescent Moon Picnic Site (For Hikers)

Finish your day with a mesmerizing sunset at Crescent Moon Picnic Site. This picturesque location offers a spectacular view of Cathedral Rock, reflecting the golden hues of the setting sun.

So pack a picnic, bring a blanket, and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of this magical spot as the day comes to a close.

P.S. This is where the famous Red Rock Crossing is!

Sunset at Lover’s Knoll (For Non-Hikers)

On your way to Crescent Moon Picnic Site, you’ll pass the viewpoint known as Lover’s Knoll. This is a great, free alternative for watching the sunset

While there, you can witness a fantastic golden sunset cascading over Cathedral Rock.

Pro Tip: Parking is limited to about two spaces, so you’ll have to get there early to ensure you have a spot!

Night

Dinner at Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill

After soaking in the beauty of the Sedona sunset, treat yourself to a memorable dinner at Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill. This fine-dining establishment, helmed by renowned Chef Lisa Dahl, offers an exquisite menu highlighting Latin American flavors with a focus on fresh, local ingredients.

In addition, the floor-to-ceiling windows provide unobstructed views of the red rocks, making for a truly unforgettable dining experience!

Read Next: Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain Trail — Best Underrated Hike in Sedona

Stargazing with Sedona Stargazing Tours

Cap off your incredible day in Sedona with a stargazing tour. Sedona’s low light pollution and clear skies make it ideal for admiring the cosmos.

Led by professional astronomers, Sedona Stargazing Tours will guide you through the constellations, planets, and other celestial wonders. This awe-inspiring experience is perfect for ending your magical day in Sedona. And that’s a wrap on your trip! If you’re staying overnight, there are some great budget hotels in Sedona you can book.

Read Next: Explore Birthing Cave Sedona

Planning Your One Day in Sedona

Sedona Shuttle

To access some of the popular trailheads in Sedona, you might need to take the Sedona Shuttle. This is a new public transportation system implemented to help with how congested it gets. The shuttles run year round, Thursday through Sunday.

While they operate, you will NOT be allowed to park in specific trailhead lots. I suggest heading to SedonaShuttle.com for more info and to see the schedule, so you can better plan your trip!

What to Pack

From experience, these are the things you’ll need!

Red Rock Pass

Most hiking trails require a Red Rock Pass ($5). A Red Rock Pass is a fee you pay to help the Forest Service keep Sedona trails clean. You can buy the passes at the Sedona Visitor Center or at specific trailheads.

However, if you have an America the Beautiful Pass, you can skip grabbing this!

Need more help? Read this: Red Rock Pass vs America the Beautiful Pass

Frequently Asked Questions

Is one day in Sedona enough?

While one day in Sedona allows you to experience some of the area’s top attractions and natural beauty, there may need more time to fully explore everything Sedona offers. With its numerous hiking trails, vortex sites, art galleries, and wellness experiences, many visitors find that spending multiple days in Sedona allows for a more relaxed and comprehensive exploration of the area.

In fact, if you want more time check out my guide on how to spend 3 days in Sedona, AZ. However, if you only have one day, the itinerary provided in this blog will help you make the most of your time, showcasing some of the best that Sedona has to offer.

How to visit Sedona in one day?

To make the most of your one day in Sedona, follow our suggested itinerary and tips:

Start early: Begin your day at sunrise to maximize your time and experience the breathtaking beauty of Sedona’s red rocks in the early morning light.

Prioritize your interests: Choose activities and attractions that align with your interests, whether that’s outdoor adventure, art and culture, or wellness, and relaxation.

Opt for a guided tour: Consider taking a guided tour, like a Pink Jeep Tour or Sedona Trolley Tour, to cover more ground and gain expert insight into the area’s history and attractions.

Plan your route: Plan your day ahead of time, grouping nearby attractions together to minimize driving time and ensure a smooth, enjoyable experience.

Be mindful of time: Allocate sufficient time for each activity and account for travel time between locations. Keep an eye on the clock to ensure you can experience as many highlights as possible during your day in Sedona.

Planning ahead and following the suggested itinerary allows you to have an unforgettable day in Sedona, even if your time is limited.

Final Thoughts on Spending One Day in Sedona, AZ

Sedona is a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered, from its majestic red rock formations to its vibrant art scene. With our ultimate one-day Sedona itinerary, you can experience the best of Sedona in a whirlwind of adventure, culture, and relaxation.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or new to the Southwest, Sedona will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime!

Sedona, Arizona, is a mystical and enchanting destination among famous red rocks and without a doubt, a one day in Sedona itinerary needs to be on your bucket list. With its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and ample opportunities for outdoor adventure, Sedona is the perfect place for a one-day getaway. In this comprehensive guide, I will take you through an unforgettable journey, experiencing the best of Sedona, from sunrise to sunset!

Important: This itinerary is broken down from morning to nightfall, providing options for both hikers and non-hikers.

All recommendations are based on the countless times I’ve enjoyed Sedona as a local. Let’s dive in!

đź“Ś Save this to Pinterest!

Disclaimer: Hey explorer! This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small percentage of each purchase made through my links. I only ever recommend products I believe in and appreciate your support if you decide to use my links—thank you!

Short on time and need to know what to do with one day in Sedona? Book this bestselling jeep tour or this off-roading adventure!

Things to Do with One Day in Sedona, AZ

Before we cover what your day trip to Sedona will look like, let’s quickly discuss what you can do when you get there:

Hike: Sedona hikes are some of the best. You can enjoy easy hikes or difficult ones— both usually offer great views!

Sedona UFO & Vortex Tours: Delve into the mysteries of Sedona’s vortexes and the possibility of extraterrestrial life with a UFO & Vortex tour, led by experts in the field who will share fascinating information about the area’s energy centers and sightings of unexplained phenomena. Click here to see availability >>

Sedona Wine Tours: Sip and savor the flavors of Arizona’s burgeoning wine scene with a guided tour of local wineries and tasting rooms, such as those in the nearby Verde Valley Wine Trail, where you’ll learn about winemaking in the region and sample delicious local wines. Check availability >>

Sedona Trolley Tours: Hop aboard the charming Sedona Trolley for a narrated tour that covers the city’s highlights, including the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, and breathtaking viewpoints of the red rocks. Check availability >>

Pink Jeep Tours: Experience the thrill of off-roading in a custom-built Pink Jeep while exploring the area’s stunning red rock formations and learning about Sedona’s geology, history, and Native American culture from knowledgeable guides. Click here to see jeep tour availability >>

Sedona Red Rock Adventure Tours: Enjoy a personalized, private tour with Sedona Red Rock Adventure Tours, where experienced guides will tailor the itinerary to your interests, whether it’s hiking, photography, or exploring ancient ruins. Click here to see bike tour availability >>

Enjoy the Arts: Explore unique sites like the Tlaquepaque Art Village in the center of Sedona. 

Vortex Hunting: Sedona is known for having otherworldly vortexes or “energy” areas. Some of the more popular ones include Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock Vortex

Scenic Drive: Take a scenic drive along the famous Red Rock Loop Road and witness amazing views of Cathedral Rock and more of the famous rock formations.

Dine In: Savor exquisite Latin American cuisine while taking in unobstructed views of Sedona’s red rocks at this fine-dining establishment.

Sedona’s World-Class Spas: Treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa experience at one of Sedona’s many world-class spas, such as Mii Amo, L’Auberge de Sedona, or Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa, where you can indulge in luxurious treatments inspired by the area’s natural beauty and healing energy.

Yoga and Meditation: Connect with your inner self through yoga and meditation classes offered at various studios and wellness centers around Sedona, like Aumbase Sedona, 7 Centers Yoga Arts, or the Sedona Meditation Center— additionally you can book a meditation tour too!

Chapel of the Holy Cross: Visit this architectural marvel perched high on a hillside for a moment of peaceful reflection and stunning views.

Your one day in Sedona itinerary will include a healthy mix of these. Now let’s, dive into the itineraries!

One Day in Sedona Itinerary at a Glance + Map

For Hikers

  • Morning
    • Airport Mesa Vortex
  • Mid-Morning
    • Cathedral Rock
    • Devil’s Bridge (alternative)
  • Afternoon
    • Lunch
  • Evening
    • Sunset at Crescent Moon Picnic Site
  • Night
    • Dinner
      • Stargazing Tour

For Non-Hikers

  • Morning
    • Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Tour
  • Mid-Morning
    • Scenic Red Rock Loop Drive
  • Afternoon
    • Lunch
    • Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village
    • Chapel of the Holy Cross
  • Late Afternoon
    • Uptown Sedona Shopping
    • Spa Day (alternative)
  • Evening
    • Sunset at Lover’s Knoll
  • Night
    • Dinner
    • Stargazing Tour

In the next sections, we’ll cover these in detail!

Click here for a live version of the map!

Perfect One Day In Sedona Itinerary

Arrival

Fuel Up and Prepare for Adventure

Start your day off right with a hearty breakfast at the Red Rock Café. This local favorite offers a wide range of breakfast options, from classic eggs and bacon to their signature huevos rancheros.

Make sure to fuel up as you have an action-packed day ahead!

Pro Tip: Another great way to start your day is at the famous Coffee Pot!

Morning

Airport Mesa Vortex (For Hikers)

After breakfast, go to Airport Mesa for a truly unique Sedona experience. This moderately easy hike will take you to one of Sedona’s famous vortexes, where swirling energy centers are believed to possess healing and spiritual properties.

These vortexes have become renowned worldwide, attracting travelers seeking personal growth, self-reflection, and a deeper connection to nature. The hike up to Airport Mesa is relatively short, at about 2 miles round trip, with a well-maintained trail leading you to the vortex site.

As you make your way up, take in the panoramic views of the city and surrounding red rocks, which are especially stunning during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset! Those are my preferred times to be here. 

The Airport Mesa vortex is considered an “upflow” vortex, meaning it is said to enhance feelings of inspiration, rejuvenation, and spiritual awakening. Once you reach the vortex site, take some time to quiet your mind and connect with the energy of this sacred space. 

Many visitors like to meditate, practice yoga, or simply sit and absorb the vibrations of the vortex. Some claim to experience physical sensations, such as tingling or warmth, while others report emotional or spiritual shifts!

Whether or not you feel the energy, the breathtaking views and serene atmosphere of Airport Mesa make it a worthwhile stop on your one-day Sedona itinerary.

Wanderer Tip: For another easy morning hike, check out Doe Mountain Sedona.

Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Tour (For Non-Hikers)

Alternatively, you can book a hot air balloon tour and start your one day in Sedona with an incredibly scenic adventure from above. Helicopter tours are another great option if you’re not feeling the balloon vibes!

For a unique perspective, both tours will take you high above the red rocks, which I know you’ll love (I’m looking at you, non-hikers).

P.S. You’d like my guide on the most Instagrammable Places in Sedona!

Mid-Morning

Cathedral Rock Trail (For Hikers)

Next up is the iconic Cathedral Rock, one of Sedona’s most photographed landmarks. This moderately challenging hike rewards you with stunning vistas and a unique view of the famous rock formation.

Did I also mention it’s a vortex hike? So similar to Airport Mesa Vortex, you have the chance to absorb more of that energy goodness up here. However, a bit of scrambling is required, so if that scares, I say skip this one!

Wanderer Tip: For parking, don’t forget your America the Beautiful Pass or Red Rock Pass!

Devil’s Bridge (For Hikers)

Alternatively, consider visiting Devil’s Bridge, one of Sedona’s most iconic landmarks.

As the largest natural sandstone arch in the area, Devil’s Bridge is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers alike. The hike to the bridge covers approximately 4.2 miles round trip and is accessible via the Devil’s Bridge Trailhead.

While the majority of the hike is relatively easy, traversing well-maintained trails and gentle inclines, the final stretch leading to the arch can be a bit steep and challenging. Upon reaching the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the majestic Devil’s Bridge arch and the surrounding red rock formations.

If you want to capture stunning photographs, venture out onto the arch, but remember to be mindful of your surroundings and respect the delicate sandstone.

Wanderer Tip: Alternatively you can skip this hike and go up Soldier Pass.

Scenic Red Rock Loop Drive (For Non-Hikers)

For those looking to experience the beauty of Sedona’s red rock formations from the comfort of their vehicle, consider taking a leisurely drive along the Red Rock Loop. This 13-mile scenic drive offers stunning views of the area’s most iconic landmarks, including Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and Courthouse Butte.

Begin your drive by heading west on Highway 89A and turning right onto Upper Red Rock Loop Road. As you meander along the winding route, you’ll be treated to a series of breathtaking panoramas that showcase the rugged beauty of Sedona’s landscape.

Several pullouts and viewpoints along the way provide ample opportunities to pause, take photographs, and simply soak in the views.

Halfway through the loop, you’ll come across the Crescent Moon Picnic Site, which offers a picturesque spot to enjoy a packed lunch or a leisurely stroll along Oak Creek (but I have more on this later, so you can skip for now).

From here, continue on to Lower Red Rock Loop Road, where you’ll encounter additional viewpoints and opportunities for short hikes or picnics before completing the loop and returning to Highway 89A. The Red Rock Loop drive is an excellent option for those who prefer a more relaxed way to experience the natural beauty of Sedona.

Read Next: Sedona Vortexes Ranked Best to Worst

Afternoon

Lunch

Replenish your energy with a well-deserved lunch at Elote Café. This renowned eatery offers a fusion of Mexican and Southwestern cuisine.

Make sure to try their signature dish, elote, a delicious grilled corn appetizer.

Read Next: Best Sedona Sunrise and Sunset Hikes

Explore Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village (For Non-Hikers)

After lunch, set aside some time to explore the enchanting Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village. This delightful destination, designed to resemble a traditional Mexican village, is an art lover’s dream, showcasing a diverse array of galleries, boutiques, and handcrafted goods.

As you wander through the village’s narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll be transported to another world, surrounded by stunning Spanish Colonial-style architecture, vibrant ceramic tilework, and lush gardens filled with colorful flowers and trickling fountains.

The beautiful courtyards provide a tranquil setting for you to relax, unwind, and soak in the atmosphere.

Tlaquepaque, which translates to the “best of everything” in the ancient Aztec language, is home to over 40 unique shops and galleries, offering a wide range of fine art, jewelry, textiles, ceramics, and more.

Many of the galleries showcase the works of local and international artists, giving you the opportunity to learn about their creative processes and inspirations.

In addition to its impressive art offerings, Tlaquepaque also hosts various cultural events throughout the year, such as live music, art demonstrations, and traditional Mexican celebrations like DĂ­a de Los Muertos. If your visit coincides with an event, be sure to join in the festivities for an authentic and immersive experience!

Read Next: Best Boutique Hotels in Sedona

Visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross (For Non-Hikers)

Perched high on a hillside, the Chapel of the Holy Cross is an architectural marvel and a must-see in Sedona.

Designed by Marguerite Brunswig Staude, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, the chapel offers stunning views and a peaceful atmosphere for reflection! 

Completed in 1956, the chapel seamlessly integrates modern architectural elements with the natural beauty of the red rocks, creating a harmonious and striking visual experience—bring your camera to take some pics!

Whether you’re seeking spiritual solace or simply an opportunity to appreciate exceptional design and breathtaking scenery, a visit to the Chapel of the Holy Cross will leave a lasting impression on your trip!

Read Next: Phoenix to Sedona to Grand Canyon Road Trip

Late Afternoon

Uptown Sedona Shopping and Dining (For Non-Hikers)

As the sun sets, head to Uptown Sedona for some shopping and dining. This vibrant area boasts an array of unique boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants.

Don’t miss the opportunity to taste some delicious gelato at Black Cow CafĂ© or indulge in a glass of local wine at Vino Zona! If shopping isn’t your vibe, book a relaxing spa experience in one of Sedona’s world-class spas. 

Wanderer Tip: Heading to the Phoenix area? Also read Scottsdale vs Sedona.

Sedona Spa Day (For Non-Hikers)

Treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa experience, such as Mii Amo, L’Auberge de Sedona, or Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa, where you can indulge in luxurious treatments inspired by the area’s natural beauty and healing energy.

If you’re a hiker, you can also indulge in a spa day after a long day of trekking!

Read Next: Day Trip to Sedona From Scottsdale

Evening

Sunset at Crescent Moon Picnic Site (For Hikers)

Finish your day with a mesmerizing sunset at Crescent Moon Picnic Site. This picturesque location offers a spectacular view of Cathedral Rock, reflecting the golden hues of the setting sun.

So pack a picnic, bring a blanket, and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of this magical spot as the day comes to a close.

P.S. This is where the famous Red Rock Crossing is!

Sunset at Lover’s Knoll (For Non-Hikers)

On your way to Crescent Moon Picnic Site, you’ll pass the viewpoint known as Lover’s Knoll. This is a great, free alternative for watching the sunset

While there, you can witness a fantastic golden sunset cascading over Cathedral Rock.

Pro Tip: Parking is limited to about two spaces, so you’ll have to get there early to ensure you have a spot!

Night

Dinner at Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill

After soaking in the beauty of the Sedona sunset, treat yourself to a memorable dinner at Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill. This fine-dining establishment, helmed by renowned Chef Lisa Dahl, offers an exquisite menu highlighting Latin American flavors with a focus on fresh, local ingredients.

In addition, the floor-to-ceiling windows provide unobstructed views of the red rocks, making for a truly unforgettable dining experience!

Read Next: Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain Trail — Best Underrated Hike in Sedona

Stargazing with Sedona Stargazing Tours

Cap off your incredible day in Sedona with a stargazing tour. Sedona’s low light pollution and clear skies make it ideal for admiring the cosmos.

Led by professional astronomers, Sedona Stargazing Tours will guide you through the constellations, planets, and other celestial wonders. This awe-inspiring experience is perfect for ending your magical day in Sedona. And that’s a wrap on your trip! If you’re staying overnight, there are some great budget hotels in Sedona you can book.

Read Next: Explore Birthing Cave Sedona

Planning Your One Day in Sedona

Sedona Shuttle

To access some of the popular trailheads in Sedona, you might need to take the Sedona Shuttle. This is a new public transportation system implemented to help with how congested it gets. The shuttles run year round, Thursday through Sunday.

While they operate, you will NOT be allowed to park in specific trailhead lots. I suggest heading to SedonaShuttle.com for more info and to see the schedule, so you can better plan your trip!

What to Pack

From experience, these are the things you’ll need!

Red Rock Pass

Most hiking trails require a Red Rock Pass ($5). A Red Rock Pass is a fee you pay to help the Forest Service keep Sedona trails clean. You can buy the passes at the Sedona Visitor Center or at specific trailheads.

However, if you have an America the Beautiful Pass, you can skip grabbing this!

Need more help? Read this: Red Rock Pass vs America the Beautiful Pass

Frequently Asked Questions

Is one day in Sedona enough?

While one day in Sedona allows you to experience some of the area’s top attractions and natural beauty, there may need more time to fully explore everything Sedona offers. With its numerous hiking trails, vortex sites, art galleries, and wellness experiences, many visitors find that spending multiple days in Sedona allows for a more relaxed and comprehensive exploration of the area.

In fact, if you want more time check out my guide on how to spend 3 days in Sedona, AZ. However, if you only have one day, the itinerary provided in this blog will help you make the most of your time, showcasing some of the best that Sedona has to offer.

How to visit Sedona in one day?

To make the most of your one day in Sedona, follow our suggested itinerary and tips:

Start early: Begin your day at sunrise to maximize your time and experience the breathtaking beauty of Sedona’s red rocks in the early morning light.

Prioritize your interests: Choose activities and attractions that align with your interests, whether that’s outdoor adventure, art and culture, or wellness, and relaxation.

Opt for a guided tour: Consider taking a guided tour, like a Pink Jeep Tour or Sedona Trolley Tour, to cover more ground and gain expert insight into the area’s history and attractions.

Plan your route: Plan your day ahead of time, grouping nearby attractions together to minimize driving time and ensure a smooth, enjoyable experience.

Be mindful of time: Allocate sufficient time for each activity and account for travel time between locations. Keep an eye on the clock to ensure you can experience as many highlights as possible during your day in Sedona.

Planning ahead and following the suggested itinerary allows you to have an unforgettable day in Sedona, even if your time is limited.

Final Thoughts on Spending One Day in Sedona, AZ

Sedona is a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered, from its majestic red rock formations to its vibrant art scene. With our ultimate one-day Sedona itinerary, you can experience the best of Sedona in a whirlwind of adventure, culture, and relaxation.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or new to the Southwest, Sedona will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime!

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