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Sedona Overview

Sedona lies about 120 miles north of Phoenix and 30 miles south of Flagstaff.  Elevation is at 4500 ft above sea level resulting in temperatures that are usually about 10 degrees cooler than those in the Phoenix area.  The city itself is basically a tourist destination with shopping and the usual crap that caters to the crowds passing through.   It is also becoming a big retirement area and development runs rampant everywhere your turn (there is also a substantial 'new age' community, so if you want your cosmic aura read, you've come to the right place).  The beautiful red rock is basically used as a back drop for homes, hotels, convenience stores and golf courses.  What is not developed, in many cases, is heavily grazed.  It's quite a shame, because the area really does possess a natural beauty, different from the rest of Arizona and it could have been managed so much more effectively (or at least in a manner that better suited my hiking needs - ok so I'm selfish, but there is plenty of development to go around already, but only one Sedona).

Having said the above, there are still some worth while hikes to be done in Sedona.  Most are on the short side, so you might want to plan to hike three or four short trails in a day (no sense driving all that way for a short walk).  Spring and fall are probably the best times to go exploring, summers get quite hot and you can expect snow and cold temperatures in the winter.

Note: Sedona has now instituted a pass system to park at any of the trail heads in the area. A Red Rock Pass costs $5 per car load per day and is available at several locations throughout the town (the two I am aware of are just inside the dirt road turn off of Dry Creek Road and at the Palatki Indian Ruins).