Don’t Miss These Sedona Sunset Spots

May 3, 2024

When it comes to staggeringly beautiful sunsets, we’re a bit spoiled here in Sedona. Rarely does an evening go by that we’re not drawn outside to witness warm, golden light caressing the red rock formations and steep canyons that make up our beloved desert landscape. While you can see the spectacle at day’s end from just about anywhere in the area, we have put together a list of the very best places to watch Sedona sunsets. Go enjoy, then return to your comfortable room here at the Arabella (and show us your photos!). 

Sedona Airport Scenic Overlook 

There’s something almost retro-Eighties movie about hanging out at the airport to see the sun go down. In this case, it truly is one of the prime spots for taking it all in. Take Airport Road to the top and park near the overlook (there is a small fee for parking). We suggest getting there early to nab a good spot. Look to the west as the sun descends, but also glance toward the red rocks closer to town, where the shadows change every second and make for fabulous photos. 

Airport Mesa Vortex

If you’re feeling up for a hike, you’ll find the Airport Mesa Scenic Hiking Trail about halfway up Airport Road. From here, you’ll access the Summit Trail and the Sedona Trail View Point. It’s more difficult to see the sunset in the west from here, but you’ll get an arguably better view of the Sedona red rocks. You can also get here via the airport overlook – just hike along the Airport Loop Trail to the Airport Mesa Vortex. 

Crescent Moon Ranch/Red Rock Crossing 

This is the sunset you’ve seen in postcards and photos of Sedona. Cathedral Rock and Oak Creek meet at Red Rock Crossing, where the sun sets earlier and casts gorgeous shadows on the iconic red rock formations. To get here, take Upper Red Rock Loop Road for about 4 miles to Crescent Moon Ranch. 

Cathedral Rock Trail 

Avid hikers love this spot, that feels like you’re atop of the world as you gaze at the shifting colors of the sunset. If you arrive late, or aren’t up for the challenging 1-mile hike (elevation gain about 550 feet), you can take a shorter path from the parking lot to a flat area at the base of Cathedral Rock. The trailhead is accessible from Crescent Moon Ranch and Red Rock Crossing, as well as from Back O’Beyond Road off State Route 179 (this way can get busy on weekends and at sunset, in which case you can opt to take the Sedona Shuttle). 

Cultural Park Trailhead

If you’re tired from a day of hiking, this option allows you to simply sit back in your car and watch the day fade away. To get here, drive out to the old Cultural Park area of West Sedona. You’ll have epic views of Boynton Canyon, Long Canyon and the Cockscomb. 

If you want to avoid crowds and just remain in your car as you enjoy the sunset, drive along Dry Creek Road/Boynton Canyon Road, Cultural Park Road, Upper Red Rock Loop Road, Lower Red Rock Loop Road or the Red Rock Scenic Byway. You’ll get enough of a view to satisfy and won’t have to battle for or pay for parking.

Sunset Tips 

Darkness comes on quickly after the sun sets in Sedona. If you are hiking, plan accordingly, bringing along a headlamp and layers to keep warm. 

Consider, too, taking a tour to gain the insider knowledge of a local guide. Jeep tours often offer a sunset option that will take you off the beaten path to the best viewing locations. You can also get memorable vistas on the Verde Canyon Railroad Train Ride’s starlight tour. 

We’ll see you back at the Arabella after dark and have a glass of wine waiting for you!