Mixed feelings in Sedona

Oak Creek Canyon

Oak Creek Canyon

We closed down our Flagstaff stay with a drive to Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. We were originally going to stay in Sedona and spend a few days exploring this spot that has always been high on my “must see” list.  Every time I would see a photograph of the beautiful, iconic red rocks that abound in the Sedona area I would be ready to pack up and head there. Perhaps that made my expectations a little too high. We found the cost of camping in the area ridiculously expensive, so we opted to do a day trip from Flagstaff rather than stay in Sedona itself.

The hills near Sedona

The hills near Sedona

The drive down was pretty, especially through Oak Creek Canyon.This curvy, wooded road snaked its way down the length of the canyon along a river gorge that stretched between Flagstaff and Sedona and offered many vistas and scenic views. Arriving in the town of Sedona itself was a shock after such a bucolic drive. We found it much bigger than we anticipated and so crowded and confusing with road construction and traffic that we didn’t bother stopping. We drove straight out into the Red Rock country, which is what we really wanted to see. It was as beautiful as the photographs I had seen.


Red Rock country

Red Rock country

We spent the day wandering the backroads, stopping for a quiet lunch and headed back to camp, disappointed in the town, but loving the surrounding area. Perhaps we will give the town another shot the next time we pass through. We started to pack up camp and get ready for our next stop, the Grand Canyon. We were quite sure that would not disappoint.

About JudithC99

Wanderer. Writer. Artist. Photographer. Learner. Traveler of the Red Roads


  1. I never been there but thought like you did about how pretty it would be. Will keep this in mind if ever get out there.

  2. Diann Schultz

    Ron and I agreed with your assessment of the town. Too crowded and overly commercial, sort a Cherokee in miniature.

  3. Too bad you did not have a good experience. We liked Sedona and true it has become touristy. Maybe next time around you will give it a chance.

  4. You truly must return to Sedona one day. Sedona isn’t about the town (yes, very pricey). We stayed down the road in Cottonwood at the Dead Horse State Park. It was a great spot and centrally located to Jerome, Montazuma”s Well and Castle, as well Sedona. We drove into Sedona eight days. The best way to see Sedona is by taking the Jeep roads. The best trails and rocks are hidden. If you don’t have a Jeep or other high clearance vehicle, think about renting one. You can do the Pink Jeep tour but that is big bucks. The hiking is perfect. It is definitely on of my favorite spots. Give it another shot!

    • Thank you, we did spend most of our time on the backroads and enjoyed that part. The town will be tried again when we are in the area again and we will try to be there during the week, not on a holiday weekend.

  5. I appreciate the honesty of your perceptions, I admire that in a travel writer. Thank you.

  6. We too remember Sedona as a lovely area but too built up. Be well and safe travels, Ann and Jerry

  7. beautiful – love sedona!

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