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Verde Valley/Sedona

Take a breather in green valleys and rugged landscapes

When the thought of scraping ice off your windshield makes you shiver, it’s time to pack the RV with plenty of shorts and sunscreen and head out to a place where the daytime temperatures in the winter rarely drop below 60. In Sedona and Camp Verde, both in Arizona’s Verde Valley, you’ll find a warm climate along with lots of shopping, golf, art and loads of sightseeing opportunities.

Sentinals of Stone

When you arrive in Sedona, you’ll be amazed at the beauty of your surroundings. The area’s red rocks reach for the sky and loom like guards watching over the city. Wake every morning to a warm cup of coffee and see this view out your window.

Awaken your Spirit

For decades, people have been coming to Sedona for spiritual awakenings. This Mecca for artists, healers and spiritual guides has made the area the place to go for personal enrichment. The red rock formations that encompass the town bring a peaceful feeling to all who view them. Visit one of Sedona’s spas for a day of relaxation or simple pampering. Hike into the red rock temples and find one of the many “vortex sites” that circle the town. These enhanced-energy sites facilitate prayer and create the potential for spiritual renewal.

Even if you don’t believe in this sort of thing, you certainly won’t be able to deny the special beauty and energy of Sedona. Hike or bike into Oak Creek Canyon, where you’ll find more than 100 trails from challenging to simple. Imagine watching the sunrise while floating under a beautifully colored hot air balloon that’s riding a thermal. If you’d like a little more speed, take a tour in a jeep or on an ATV. Each brings with it a different style, taste and experience.

Devils Bridge in Sedona.

Devils Bridge in Sedona.

Fodder for Photographers

Sedona sits in the heart of the Coconino National Forest, home to Oak Creek Canyon, which some visitors have described as the smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon. Clean the lens on your camera and pack a few extra SD cards because you won’t want to miss a single shot from the breathtaking vistas on the scenic drive through the park. Drive along the switchbacks of this national forest and experience diverse landscapes from ponderosa pines and mountain lakes to the amazing red rock formations of Sedona itself.

When you get back to Sedona, you’ll want to see and photograph all of the rock formations that make this place famous. Most of those formations have been named over the years. You’ll want to capture the sunrise on Coffee Pot Rock, or watch as an Eagle flies over Doe Mountain. Stand on Airport Mesa at mid-day and get a bird’s eye view of the area. From here, you can see nearly all the formations, including Steam Boat Rock, Mittens, Cockscomb and Munds Mountain. As the sun sets on the rocks, you’ll see a whole new perspective; the red of the rocks turns to hues of purples, and the sky comes alive in a fire show of light. When the sun goes down, an entirely new world comes to life. Limited light pollution allows you to see stars and night sky formations that most people didn’t even know existed.

Verde Adventures

Outdoor enthusiasts will discover lots of opportunities to boat or kayak down the Verde River. Camp Verde’s location on the downstream end of the valley makes it the only access point to Fossil Creek. Here, a spring feeds a stream at the rate of 20,000 gallons per minute. Discover amazing geologic wonders north of Camp Verde to Red Rock Secret Mountain, where sandstone arches and secret spots beckon visitors.

The diverse ecosystem of the Verde Valley draws several types of resident birds as well as migratory species. More than 300 species can be spotted throughout the year along the Verde River.

Speaking of animals, great beasts of the wild have a home in Camp Verde’s Out of Africa Wildlife Park, where visitors take a safari-style tour that puts them close to the animals, including giraffes, bears, tigers and wolves. Shows and interactive sessions are also offered at the 104-acre park.

High rollers and occasional gamblers can try their luck at Cliff Castle Casino Hotel, home to nearly 700 slot machines and plenty of card tables. At Fort Verde State Historic Park, history and adventure meet: Let the kids earn Junior Ranger status and learn more about the site’s use by U.S. Army troops in the late 19th century. Take advantage of great weather when you’re at Camp Verde by fishing, paddle boating and enjoying a hayride at Arizona Equestrian Connection.

One Arizona trail that doesn’t require trekking, as much as it does tasting, is the Verde Valley Wine Trail. Four wineries nestled in the Northern Arizona canyons open their doors to wine lovers from all over. For an even more memorable experience in the summer months, hop aboard the Verde Canyon Railroad for the Grape Train Escape as an immersive introduction to Arizona wines.

Arizona Tourism/Edward_Bottomley

Arizona Tourism/Edward_Bottomley

Ancient Indian Ruins

The abundant fish and wildlife, water and moderate temperatures year-round are what have always made this area desirable for human occupation. Long before the hot air balloons and ATV tours, the ancient Anasazi called this area of Arizona home. In the beautiful red rocks around the region, visitors can find numerous ruins from a Pre-Columbian Society.

Most of the ruins are not accessible by foot, but information can be found on them at the Red Rock Ranger District. Montezuma’s Cliff Castle in Verde Valley is a stunning example of ingenuity and skill of the ancient builders. Take your time as you explore the legacies of the region’s first inhabitants.

For More Information

Sedona Verde Valley Tourism Council
Arizona Office of Tourism