Famous for it’s red rock formations, it’s a dream come true for hiking and outdoor enthusiasts. Honestly, I’m not a hiking enthusiast nor and outdoor enthusiast, but even I can’t deny how breathtakingly beautiful much of the landscapes were. Check out all the cool things you could do with 36 hours in Sedona, Arizona.
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- What to Do With 36 Hours in Sedona
- Other Things to Do in Sedona
- Where to Stay in Sedona
What to Do With 36 Hours in Sedona
Devil’s Bridge is a bridge shaped rock formation that has become a pretty popular tourist attraction. Unfortunately, it turned out not to be as easy to get to as we originally thought.
You can only drive to the beginning of Devil Bridge trail if you have a high clearance vehicle. For regular cars, there is a paved parking lot down the road where you can park and then walk the trail that leads to the beginning of Devil Bridge trail. The trail from the paved parking lot has some inclines and declines, but is relatively easy to tackle.
However, Devil’s Bridge Trail consists of mostly rocks to step up or down on. Worst of all, at the very end of the trail, in order to get to the top are two sets of stone “staircases” you have to climb. Unfortunately though, it’s not an actual defined staircase and is basically just a bunch of rocks you have to climb. It’s not terrible, but those with knee troubles such as arthritis or injuries that would restrict full range of motion would likely struggle with the climb. My mom made it up the first staircase but decided not to tackle the second one and just let me go ahead.
Once you reach the top of the staircase and make it around the corner, you’ll find a rock incline on your right. Honestly, the way it’s shaped, it almost looks like a set of bleachers at a football game. People definitely sit on the rocks as if they were bleachers. Directly across from the bleacher-like-rocks is Devil’s Bridge. Many people will leave their stuff with a friend on the rocks and then make their way down the small path over to Devil’s Bridge. Thankfully, most people are good about lining up at the beginning of the bridge. They’ll take turns walking out onto the bridge so that each person is able to get a picture on the bridge without other people in the picture.
While you’re out on the bridge, face the bleacher-like rocks to have a friend take a picture of you, but don’t forget to turn around and appreciate some of the amazing views you can catch from out on the bridge.
Also, apparently, the Devil’s Bridge trail forks about 3/4 of a mile from the unpaved parking lot (before you reach the stone staircases). The left path supposedly takes you to the bottom of the bridge where you can look up at it, and the right path takes you to the top of the bridge where you can walk across it. However, we never saw where the trail forked and didn’t figure out how to get underneath the bridge.
Chapel of the Holy Cross
The Chapel of the Holy Cross is another one of the popular tourist spots in Sedona, AZ. The chapel itself is actually pretty small, but what makes it so remarkable is how it’s sort of built on the side of a mountain and overlooks the city below. Plus, it offers a pretty good view of some of the rock formations in the area, particularly Cathedral Rock.
Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock
Cathedral Rock are some one of the most popular red rock formations in Sedona. To get some cool views of the formations from the road, take a drive along Upper Red Rock Loop Dr and stop at one of the many pull-over points to get some good pictures. Depending on the time of day and where the sun is in the sky, Route 179 may also be a good option for viewing Bell Rock.
After our long hike to Havasu Falls, we really weren’t up for much more hiking, but if you’re interested in getting some fantastic views of the surrounding areas, there is a short but steep hike that leads visitors part way up the side of Cathedral (you can get to the top of the saddle points or “gaps” between the rocks).
Similarly, Bell Rock has a few hiking trails that will allow you to appreciate the beautiful rock formation. Bell Rock Pathway will lead you around the base of the formation, and Bell Rock Trail will let you ascend to the top.
Slide Rock State Park
We got to Slide Rock State park in that afternoon and it was pretty busy. There was actually a line of cars outside waiting to get in. With a little bit of patience, we were able to get in and park the car. If you have the flexibility, I’d visit Slide Rock more towards the morning before all the crowds arrive.
It’s a little bit of a walk from the car to the swimming area, but on the way you’ll pass by the Market which sells towels, water shoes, sunscreen, and anything else you may have forgotten. Best of all, they also sell souvenirs and ice cream!
The swimming area is actually a river that has been turned into a recreation area. It’s called Slide Rock because the way the water flows over some of the various rocks, it almost creates a slide. If you get in at the top, the current will slowly push you over some of the rocks and take you down stream. Before you get to the slide area, there is a really deep part of the river where people will jump into from a nearby small cliff. At the ends of each of the park, the water runs much smoother, allowing smaller children to swim and play.
The only downside to this area is that, if you want to keep heading down further into the park, you have to climb more rocks. After Devil’s Bridge this morning, my mom was pretty over rock climbing, but I went down a little way just to check out the rest of the park. Then, we returned to the front of the park and sat on some rocks in the middle of the river, just relaxing and cooling off.
Other Things to Do in Sedona
My mom and I spent a full 2 days in Sedona, but if you’re taking a road trip through Arizona, you may be better off only spending 36 hours in Sedona and spending more time in places like Flagstaff or Phoenix. However, if you find that you have more time or want to switch out some of the above listing activities, check out some of the other cool things to do in Sedona.
Montezuma Castle was really cool to look at. However, I didn’t realize until we got there that you can only look at the “castle” from a distance. You can’t actually walk up to it or explore it. It’s actually built into the side of a cliff, making accessing it a bit hard. However, it was interesting to read about its history and the life of the people there.
A bit of ways down the street from Montezuma Castle is Montezuma Well. We hadn’t originally planned on visiting it, but it was included in the admission price of Montezuma Castle, and we had some extra time, so we decided to stop by. It’s actually more of a pond than a well. Interestingly, water rises up into the pond from the ground, which astounding people for many years, because they couldn’t figure out where the water has come from. Legend has it, what comes up from the ground into the pond can’t go back again. Legend has held true so far as explorers have been unable to even get equipment down through the holes (it just gets pushed back up again).
Lastly, we went to Tuzigoot, which was also included in our admission to Montezuma Castle. Tuzigoot is actually historical ruins of a Pueblo. After seeing the Pueblo remains at Wupatki, this wasn’t exactly mind blowing, but was still cool to see.
Where to Stay in Sedona
There are a lot of great places to stay in Sedona, Arizona, but it’s also a popular destination so many of the hotel rooms book up fast. When we were trying to decide where to stay in Sedona, there really weren’t too many options left, so we decided to stay at Sedona Springs Resort. It was a bit fancier and more expensive than the hotels we typically stay at, but I’m actually really glad we ended up splurging a bit and getting a nicer hotel. Most of the rooms feel more like apartments than hotel rooms, complete with kitchens and a full living area. We were able to enjoy dinner in our room thanks to the kitchen and in the morning we enjoyed sitting on the patio while drinking coffee.