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How to Spend 24 hours in Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is a must-visit destination whether you are visiting or live in Arizona.

From Phoenix, Sedona is an easy 2-hour drive north. Take the I-17 north to the AZ-179 N exit, EXIT 298, toward Sedona.

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Buy your Red Rock Hiking Passes at the Visitor Center/Ranger Station

This will be your first stop to pick up maps of the area and to get info on any trails to hike in Sedona. You want to buy your Red Rock daily hiking passes here which cost $5 a day. You need a pass for a lot of the trails and definitely at the ones I tell you about here. Make sure you stop at this location coming into Sedona. *Beware of all the places that pose as visitor centers in town, but are really timeshare sales hubs.


We couldn’t resist posing with no other than Smokey the Bear!

Park at the Bell Rock Pathway Trail Head

If it’s too busy,  you’ll have to drive up to the less crowded Courthouse Vista parking, but we were able to get a parking spot just fine. I know it does fill up fast though, so prepare to be flexible.

We decided to hike the Courthouse Butte loop so we could leisurely take our time together and enjoy this gorgeous scenery.


The next stop is the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

This is a special little sanctuary that I have to visit every time I come to Sedona. It’s located just north on Hwy. 179. Look for the signs to turn right on Chapel Road.


Check in at Sedona Rouge Hotel and relax poolside until it’s time to get ready for dinner. *You will pay a $19 resort fee at the hotel, which includes a small plate off of the Reds Restaurant menu between 4-6. Order this from the pool waiter and enjoy a little mimosa to go along with it. Happy Hour never felt so good.


Time to take a $9 Uber ride over to L’Auberge for a sunset dinner on the creek. You will have to get reservations here well in advance because it’s such a special place. *Dinner is quite fancy and costly, so it’s not something you would do often, but at least stop by for a drink.



Wake up and grab your free Illy coffee from REDS restaurant. *Sedona Rouge Hotel and Spa is right next to a Safeway grocery plaza, so walk over and buy your snacks and lunch for the day. It’s a simple and inexpensive way to offset the money you spent on that fancy dinner.

Drive up the street to park at the Sugarloaf Loop Trailhead for amazing views of Thunder Mountain and Coffee Pot Rock. *This area of hiking is urban, so you will see houses and neighborhoods once in a while.


Be sure to veer to the right when you see the sign for Sugarloaf Summit. Climb 250 feet up to 360-degree panoramic views of Sedona. *Bring a journal or book with you on the hike, as this is an awesome space to relax and meditate.

Sugarloaf Summit


I would’ve loved to take a Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride, but that will have to wait until next time.  A Pink Jeep Tour is always fun and exciting if you’re looking for a little more action.

hot air balloon

Stop for World Famous Pie on your way back to reality

On your drive back to Phoenix, stop for a slice of pie or another treat at the infamous Rock Springs Cafe. It’s an easy stop 45 minutes from Phoenix, right off EXIT 242 toward Rock Springs/Black Canyon City.



What do you like to do when you visit Sedona?

4 replies
  1. Angela
    Angela says:

    Hi Amy! This is Angela from Mom 2.0 I came over to your blog to say hello and to read through some of your stories. I’ve never visited Sedona but heard so much about it. Can’t wait to take my family there one day! Will read through your blog and get to know you and your writing better. Wishing you safe travels!

    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Hi Angela! Yes, put Sedona on your list! It was great meeting you and I look forward to the next time! Be in touch! Amy

  2. Eric Petersen
    Eric Petersen says:

    Appreciating the time and effort you put into your website and in depth information you offer. Awesome places to explore. I would like to suggest it to my friends so that we can plan a trip and take a time for ourselves in this busy schedule. Worth sharing! Keep posting such wonderful places. Thanks a lot!


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