5 Top Things to Do in Sedona This Summer

May 14, 2024

Summertime is funtime in Sedona. Of course, with the area’s mild four-season climate, we can get outdoors to play any time of year, but summer is … well, summer. There’s a looser, more carefree vibe in the air, whether we’re biking and hiking, tubing down the river or seeking out a refreshing swimming hole for a dip. If we’re fortunate enough to have your company in the summer months, here are our top five ways to get out and explore. Need more ideas? Just ask … we have plenty! 

Red Rock Scenic Byway

Check out the “museum without walls,” otherwise known as the Red Rock Scenic Byway. Hop in your air-conditioned car for the day and make your way along the 7.5-mile stretch of incredibly gorgeous desert road, with stops for sightseeing, hiking, biking and golfing. If you’re into vortexes, there are two along this route: Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock, which is located in the Village of Oak Creek/Big Park. We love stretching our legs in the Coconino National Forest section of this drive. Stop at the Red Rock Ranger District Visitor Center to pick up trail maps and learn of other activities along the Byway. 

Cathedral Rock 

If you have time for a longer stop as you drive the Scenic Byway, we recommend a couple hours at Cathedral Rock. This is one of Sedona’s four vortexes, which some believe to be an area that inspires healing, meditation and self-exploration. Check it out for yourself as you hike the 1.2-mile out-and-back trail. The views are spectacular, but no secret, so you can expect to have plenty of company. There is no shade along the trail, so be sure to pack sunscreen and plenty of water. Cathedral Rock is within the 286-acre Red Rock State Park. While you’re here, consider hiking the Eagle’s Nest Loop that leads to the highest point in the park.

Chapel of the Holy Cross 

Combining culture and natural beauty, the Chapel of Holy Cross was designed by Marguerite Brunswig Staude, a student of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. You’ll find the notable protrusion rising up from the red rock cliffs about 4 miles south of Sedona’s “Y” intersection. A huge cross holds together the stained-glass window and makes for a striking fixture overlooking the Verde Valley. There’s a nice hike here, as well: the 1.3-mile out-and-back Chapel Trail that takes you to beautiful views of the surrounding red buttes. 

Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village 

Find some shade at this popular outdoor village shopping center designed in the style of a traditional Mexican village. The center was originally a sycamore grove and some of the original trees remain. Within the interesting architecture and shade trees, you can peruse art galleries, shop for modern art, local handmade jewelry and glassware, to name a few, have a bite to eat and people-watch along the cobblestone streets and near the mosaic fountains. 

Palatki Heritage Site 

Go back in time at the Palatki Heritage Site, where ancient cliff dwellings set in the red rocks were home to the Sinagua people of the Ancestral Puebloans between A.D. 1150 and 1350. These are some of the area’s largest cave dwellings and feature impressive pictographs on the walls. Several trails access the site, including to the dwellings themselves, to a great view of the dwellings (wheelchair accessible) and to the pictographs. 

Return to your comfortable room at the Arabella in the evening and share your adventures with us around the firepit!