Sedona is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the Southwest. Known for its magnificent views and glowing rock towers, it draws those seeking relaxation or adventure, wellness or the arts.
The uniqueness of Sedona is that nearly everyone can experience their passion in this small but extraordinary town.
When a destination like this is a two-hour drive from our homes, we have no excuses to not pack up the car for a day trip or a stay over in the Sedona area.
Here are some of my suggestions for outdoor family fun in the Sedona area.
Nature is at its best in Oak Creek Canyon, one of the state’s biggest attractions and a flowing waterway that runs through Sedona. The canyon’s vibrant colors, lush greenery and clear waters draw anglers and hikers, artists and sightseers. If you wish, you can view the gorgeous scenery from the seat of a car by driving the Sedona-Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Road — state Route 89A — which heads toward Flagstaff with elevation ranging from 4,500 feet to 7,000 feet.
Two state parks provide wonderful outdoor recreation as well.
Red Rock State Park is a riparian habitat lush with plants and wildlife and a five-mile network of interconnecting hiking trails.
The Red Rock Ranger Station Visitor Information Center can give you current information about the trails in the area.
Red Rock State Park is framed by the majestic red rocks of Sedona and surrounded by native vegetation. It provides the ideal location for nature study, hiking, picnicking and bird-watching. Trails throughout the park wind through manzanita and juniper to reach the banks of Oak Creek. The creek wanders through the park, creating a diverse riparian habitat that is plentiful with plants and wildlife.
Red Rock State Park opened to the public in 1991 to serve as an Environmental Education Center. Facilities include an elaborate visitors center, a classroom, theater and gift shop.
The park offers moonlight hikes, guided bird walks and slide and video programs.
In Slide Rock State Park, Oak Creek’s water flow has created a natural, curving water slide the whole family will enjoy. It is the location of the Pedley Homestead and apple orchard.
Don’t miss the upcoming Slide Rock Apple Festival on Sept. 19-20. The theme this year is “What’s Old is New Again,” celebrating the agriculture and farming history of the area.
There will be homemade arts and crafts, live bands, kids’ activities, apple products and interpretive programming.
Admission is the park fee of $8 per vehicle.
Other opportunities for fun and adventure under the gaze of red rocks include mountain biking, ATV rides, camping, horseback rides and jeep tours.
For more information, call (928) 203-2900 or visit www.redrockcountry.org.