Things to do in Sedona Verde Valley

Wonders of Sedona and the Verde Valley

Sedona and the Verde Valley are rich with a remarkable history, archaeological sites, natural wonders and interesting facts. Many visitors consider Sedona to be a must-see destination. Not only is it an ideal base for exploring the Grand Canyon or other nearby national parks, but Sedona is also known for its famous, majestic Red Rock formations, which offer an abundance of hiking opportunities.

​Our area has been home to the Sinagua Indians, Conquistadors and many native American tribes.  Whether you want to explore the metaphysical aspect of Sedona Verde Valley, hike, bike, ascend above the valley on a hot air balloon ride, or wind down in our award-winning spas, Arizona’s scenic sensation is the ideal setting to discover the magic of the wild west and unwind in our award-winning accommodations.

Below are just a few of our suggestions and information on things to do and see in the area:

Dark Sky Community

Sedona is one of less than 20 cities that has been designated an International Dark Sky Community by the International Dark-Sky Association. You’ll be amazed at the number of sights  you’ll see at night in our clear skies!

A dark sky community is a city,  town, municipality, or other richly organized community that has demonstrated a strong commitment to preserving the night sky. Not every town has the potential to become a true dark sky community. In fact, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) has certified only 14 communities worldwide as International Dark Sky Communities. Dripping Springs and Sedona are two of the communities.

Bell Rock

Bell Rock, with its dome-like silhouette hovering close to Highway 179, is one of Sedona’s most easily recognizable formations.  A wonderful hike that connects with multiple trails including Templeton, Court House Butte and Little Rock. This trail is relatively easy and is an excellent choice for families. There are restrooms available at the parking site.

If you are not an early riser, parking at Sedona trailheads can be difficult. Be patient because the turnover is quick. Overflow parking for Courthouse Vista is available at the Yavapai Point Parking Lot, which is about a half-mile north and to the left. Yavapai Point has fewer than 20 total spots.

Arizona Copper Art Museum

849 Main Street, Clarkdale, AZ, United States, 86324

The Arizona Copper Art Museum, located in the heart of town, is the only comprehensive museum dedicated to the mineral ‘Copper,’ which defined the region’s history and economy.

The Copper Art Museum is one of my favorite Museums in all of Arizona. Arizona is known as the “Copper State”.  At the Copper Art Museum, you’ll learn about our Arizona Copper History, copper in your body, copper in foods and in our oceans. The vast selection of copper armaments, cooking vessels, stills, drinking vessels and works of art are so amazing and new items are being added constantly. It’s a wonderful treat for children also!

Don’t miss the military art collection, which includes “trench art” from both World Wars. Visitors to the museum will be wowed by the visual experience, which showcases one of the most beautiful metals and Arizona’s greatest treasure.

Montezuma Castle National Monument

Montezuma Castle Rd, Camp Verde, AZ

The Sinagua (Spanish translation for “without water”) Indians built a home here. How did the Sinagua Indians adapt to their apartments up in the sky? They had a ladder system.  Human predators might have been the reason they built their homes so high up. According to docents at Montezuma’s Castle, the women were the builders and farmers while the men were out on very long hunts.

They created baskets and pottery, which can also be seen at the Verde Valley Archeological Center. Evidence suggests that the Sinagua people were in the area around 650 C.E., but abandoned the area and moved up to the Hopi Mesa in the late 1300’s. Evidence of Paleo-Indians in the area date back much earlier to around 9000 B.C.E.  The Yavapai and Apache Indians, according to some new research, may have pre-dated the Spanish.

The Verde Valley Archaeological Center

460 Finnie Flat Road, Camp Verde, AZ 86322

This is a lovely little museum in Camp Verde with a nice selection of pottery, textiles, and baskets and has rotating exhibits. The Verde Valley Archaeology Center and Museum is the only repository for Sedona and Verde Valley region ancient artifacts.

The museum houses exhibits on the Yavapai-Apache Nation, the Paul Dyck Collection, several Sinagua Culture displays, and a small art display area. A gift shop sells archaeology books, Native American jewelry, logo apparel, and other artifacts.They are open Tuesday through Saturday 10 am – 4pm.

Chapel of the Holy Cross

Since the late 1950’s, this magnificent Roman Catholic Chapel has graced the beautiful Red Rocks of Sedona. It looks as if it were carved into the rocks. The views are absolutely stunning from both inside and out. An excellent photo opportunity of Sedona.  It’s best to visit during the week since weekends are extremely crowded. We’re happy to take visitors to visit this unique Chapel. Situated off of Hwy 179 at 780 Chapel Road. Call 928-282-4069 for more information.

Clemenceau Heritage Museum

1 N Willard St, Cottonwood, AZ 86326

This  small, free museum is located in Cottonwood’s oldest school building at 1 N. Willard Street. The building dates back to the 1920’s and the museum is named after George Clemenceau, a French Premier. Exhibits, history and custom events abound.

Wednesday-Sunday.  Call 928-634-2868 or visit

Old Town Cottonwood

Old Town Cottonwood is one of my favorite spots! My tour guests always love it. It features six remote wine tasting rooms, excellent restaurants and some fun bars. Restaurants include Italian, Continental, Farm to Table, Mexican, great skewers and more. There’s plenty of shopping including antique stores, clothing and Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. A few great coffee houses and a beauty salon.

Out of Africa Wildlife Park

3505 W State Route 260, Camp Verde, AZ 86322

This isn’t a zoo but a fabulous wild animal park. View exotic animals from around the world in natural habitats. They have a Predator Feed and Tiger Splash and your admission is just $10 in your birthday month. There’s also an amazing Zipline. This is a wonderful outing for both young and old.

Out of Africa Wildlife Park is tucked away on over 100 acres of rolling hills and valleys against the landscape of the beautiful Mingus Mountains of Camp Verde. Hundreds of exotic mammals, birds, and reptiles from around the world call this setting home. It’s the ideal setting for raising awareness of our exotic neighbors while promoting understanding through face-to-face interaction. It truly is an incredible adventure that combines family bonds with the strength and cunning of the wild.  928-567-2840; Off of highway 260, three miles west of I-17 in Camp Verde.

Jerome, AZ – Ghost Town

Visit the mile high former mining town and Ghost Town, historically called the most wicked city across our continent. Our private wine and beer tours will be happy to take you to the fabulous Douglas Museum at the Jerome State Park, Gold King Mine, Mine Museum, delicious wine tasting and fun shopping at the famous Kaleidoscope store, Nellie Bly, while you learn about this city’s unique history.

Jerome Arizona

Jerome’s “ghost town” status stems from the town’s early catastrophic fires and violent deaths. There have been several reports of ghosts and apparitions roaming the town’s historic buildings and neighborhoods over the years. Evening ghost tours and spirit walks take visitors to the local hotels, houses, hospital, and high school, which are said to be haunted by former residents.

Tuzigoot National Monument

25 Tuzigoot Rd, Clarkdale, AZ 86324

Tuzigoot, another Sinagua archeological site, offers a very dramatic view of the Verde Valley. This pueblo had over 100 rooms, and like Montezuma’s Castle had multiple floors. Again, ladders were used to climb or descend to different levels and there are petroglyphs in the area also.

Tuzigoot protects an ancient pueblo with 110 rooms spanning two or three stories. It was built by the Sinagua people, who were farmers with extensive trade networks throughout the region. It is situated to the south of Flagstaff, Arizona.

Tuzigoot is a small national monument located south of Flagstaff that preserves the remains of 12th century Sinagua Indian dwellings. Tuzigoot is a cluster of buildings on top of a small sandstone ridge near the Verde River valley near the towns of Clarkdale and Cottonwood, as opposed to the single cliff house of Montezuma Castle 20 miles southeast.

The Turquoise Arches

2380 W US Hwy 89A, Sedona, AZ 86336

On a humorous note, Sedona has the only McDonald’s with Turquoise arches instead of Golden Arches. It’s in the Safeway Shopping Center in West Sedona. When the Sedona McDonald’s was built in 1993, city officials thought a bright yellow M would do the trick. They claimed that gold would clash with the surrounding red rocks, so they chose a more pleasing, soft blue instead. You read that correctly: the arches are blue because gold would clash with the city’s natural elegance.

​The Name Sedona

Where did the name Sedona come from? Theodore Schnebly was Sedona’s first postmaster and his wife was named Sedona Schnebly.

​Sedona Heritage Museum

735 Jordan Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336

This museum was originally part of the Jordan family homestead and dates back to the late 1800’s. It’s now owned by the City of Sedona and run by the Sedona Historical Society.  There is a wonderful photo collection of the earlier pioneer years and special events happen throughout the year. Plus they have a virtual and audio tour of Arizona’s first Commercial Winery,  the Red Rock Winery, which grew Zinfandel grapes, and was owned by Henry and Dorette Schuerman.

Kids can go on a scavenger hunt or explore the Museum’s activity book! Thousands of artifacts and photographs are currently housed in over 500 volumes and accessible through our digital catalog system. It is available for research by appointment or during regular Museum hours. The Museum Gift Shop sells items made locally, and the historic buildings and park are popular settings for weddings, informal picnics, and other gatherings.

​Oak Creek Canyon

This is one of the most scenic drives in the United States. Starting in Uptown Sedona and going all of the way up to Flagstaff along 89A you’ll be amazed at the views! There are  spectacular vistas, sheer cliffs and wonderful hikes along the way. Slide rock is a fun place for a picnic and to relax by the flowing streams or jump in for a swim in the summer. It is especially beautiful during the Fall when the leaves are changing.

The 30 mile drive from Flagstaff to Sedona is a scenic route with numerous photo stops along the way. State Route 89A is a winding two-lane highway that winds through the picturesque Oak Creek Canyon. One of the first stops on the way from Flagstaff to Sedona should be at the Oak Creek Vista, also known as The Overlook. Native American Indians sell jewelry and crafts at the vista during the high season months of April through November. This is an excellent location for admiring the canyon and the spectacular beauty of Northern Arizona. The road descends from the vista through several winding turns where the Ponderosa Pine forest gives way to Oak, Sycamore, and Walnut trees growing thick along the roadside. Towering sandstone cliffs guard Oak Creek, which runs parallel to the road for the majority of the journey.

​John Bell Railroad Museum

300 N Broadway Verde Canyon Railroad Train Depot, Clarkdale, AZ 86324

Are you a train lover? Then a visit to the John Bell Railroad Museum is a must.  Learn how the railroads influenced the Verde Valley. The John Bell Museum, which houses vintage artifacts ranging from 100-year-old switch locks to railroad lanterns from the same era, is free and open to the public every day. The museum was originally housed inside the southwestern-style depot and was named after original car attendant and longtime Clarkdale resident John Bell. Along the quarter-mile length of the depot’s loading platform, there are eye-catching storyboards brimming with information about the Verde Canyon encounter, pioneer spirit, and railroad lore. Decades have passed since the John Bell Museum first opened, and the exhibit’s evolution will continue with each new artifact discovered or donated to the collection.

Verde Canyon Railroad
Verde Canyon Railroad; image via

The museum is housed in the Verde Canyon Railroad Depot at 330 N. Broadway Ave in Clarkdale, AZ . You’ll see interesting photos, equipment and objects concerning this railroad line. It’s free to visit and is open daily from 10 am – 5pm.

West Fork Trail at Oak Creek Canyon

West Fork Oak Creek Trailhead, W Fork Trail, Sedona, AZ 86336

One of my favorite hiking areas and a place I frequently take friends to when they visit is West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon. It’s located between Slide Rock and Flagstaff on 89A. West Fork Trail is regarded as one of the best trails in Arizona and one of the top ten in the country. The trail is about 6 miles round trip and rated easy.

There is a fee to enter, but I think it’s worth it. The trail is over five miles, but it’s easy  at the beginning where you walk by  lovely apple trees and a cave. It goes by a stream which you frequently have to cross, but isn’t  too bad during the dry season.  It’s especially wonderful when the temperatures are rising in Sedona. ​

​Snoopy Rock

Little Lane, Sedona, AZ

Snoopy Rock is a classic Sedona icon. On our exclusive wine and or beer tour, we’re happy to take you to a wonderful location for a fabulous photo opportunity of everyone’s favorite dog. In Sedona, Snoopy is not in the dog house but resting on top of our magnificent red rocks.

The Snoopy and Lucy Rocks can be seen from almost anywhere in Sedona. Snoopy Rock was previously known as Saddle Back Rock before being renamed. It’s an amazing sight, and you don’t even have to squint to see the profile. Many Sedona rock formations are named after their resemblance to things like Coffee Pot Rock. Some shapes require a bit of imagination to see. But Snoopy Rock looks exactly like Snoopy lying on top of his dog house. What’s more, a rock formation in the shape of Lucy can be found near Snoopy Rock.

It’s difficult to get a clear shot up close. Turn off Highway 89 just north of its intersection with Highway 179 onto Little Lane and look east. Snoopy is the red rock pile just to the right of the larger red rock pile in the distance.


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