500,000 bottles of sparkling wine mature in this section of the underground cellars at Cricova Winery just north of Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 3, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The only problem with Sedona...

is...well...Sedona itself.

The area surrounding Sedona, Arizona is simply spectacular. I don't know the history, but you'd have to think somebody back in the 1920's or 1930's dropped the ball when this area wasn't made into a National Park.

Because it should have been!

We were here for a half a day back in 2005, and our memory of that half day was that we didn't like the artsy fartsy tourist town, although the scenery was great.

After spending yesterday touring around the area and going for a 4 mile hike overlooking much of the town, my opinion is the same, but perhaps stronger. We really don't like the town, and it's far too busy for us...too many people, too many cars, and too much traffic. Oh, and the scenery is not only great, it's spectacular!

But unfortunately, the town itself is not RV friendly...at all.

Overnight RV parking is against the law, and it's very difficult to find daytime RV parking near the central area. There is one RV park in town and understandably, it's very busy, and very expensive.

We had overnighted at a pretty good boondocking spot (GPS 34.811799 -111.893092) 8 miles west of town though...

We woke up to balloons!

Taken from Sherman's roof at 8:00am.

We relaxed a little too long in the morning, and it was after 11:00am by the time we set out for the town of Sedona, only 8 miles away.

Sedona's population is supposedly only 10,000 people,  but it feels much larger than that. It's fairly spread out, and the main drag starts quite a bit west of town.

Heading towards Sedona.

First order of business was to find somewhere to park near the Visitors Center. I had spotted a large lot near the far edge of the central area, but when we got there we learned that the large, nearly empty lot was for some kind of arts council building and there were all kinds of signs stating that parking was monitored and it was for that building only, and no overnight parking allowed. 

Lots of parking for cars, but not for a 28' motorhome!

We managed to park on the side of the highway just at the far entrance to town. The town center is actually quite close to there, since it's a National Forest on the other side of the city limit so there is no more city growth in that direction. So it wasn't a far walk into town.

Too much traffic.

We went into the Visitors Center and got some maps and ideas on which of the many hiking trails we wanted to try during our short stay. I bet you could be here a month and hike a different trail every day. Maybe two months!

There's a big parking lot up near the airport, and that's where we headed next. There's a beautiful viewpoint there, as well as a few trailheads.

View of Sedona.

We had some lunch, and then chose the Airport Loop Trail, a relatively short 3.5 mile (5.5 km) hike that literally goes around the airport. The airport itself is actually set up on top of a hill, so the Airport Loop Trail does give some pretty good views.

Ruth, on the access trail from the viewpoint.

See the people on the hill? That's where we're headed.

I kept trying to visualize Sedona...without Sedona!

Like I said, it should have been a National Park.

The fairly steep road that Sherman had to go up (and down) to the viewpoint near the airport.

On the Airport Loop Trail.

Sedona area.

Beautiful scenery!

As I said, the scenery is simply magnificent. And even though you have to deal with the busy town, the area is not to be missed. In fact, we're staying another day to do another hike.

But to stay another day, we had no choice but to drive 8 miles back to our boondocking spot. For a couple of dollars worth of fuel, it's worth it to experience more of the Sedona area.

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39 comments:

  1. What a perfect header photo - you should try to sell it to the Sedona tourist authority.

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    1. Thanks Elaine! I am pretty sure that Sedona Tourism gets so many beautiful shots that this one would just get lost in the mix.

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  2. I have to agree about all the congestion & traffic in & around Sedona. Beautiful area for sure but the crush of traffic simply ruins being there. I didn't mind the town itself & liked how all buildings are of a low profile & painted in desert colors. Good boondocking spots are hard to find anywhere near Sedona as we found out a year ago. We did walk that same airport trail you did & climbed up on that high rock. Even Pheebs made it to the top. We were also parked in the same area west of Sedona you were & really enjoyed the big hot air balloons every morning. I think if we could be 'guaranteed' a good boondocking site we would head over to that area more often. As you say the scenery is simply spectacular & yes a National Park would have been a good idea.

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    1. Yep, the area is beautiful and if you can stay away form the town itself it is amazing but that seems to be hard to do. Yesterday when we were sitting way up on the ledge over looking Sedona we said to each other that at least the buildings are low profile and the colours blend in well to the surrounding landscape.

      Despite how we feel about Sedona itself, I am pretty sure that we will return again to the area, there are just too many fantastic hikes to do. Even in the area where we boondocked we could do quite a bit of hiking,. Next time!

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  3. Steve and I feel the same way! I always thought Sedona (the town) was completely over rated and over populated by tourists.
    We kind of hurried out of there when we passed through in 1998, I imagine it has only gotten worse since then.

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    1. We totally agree but obviously others don't seeing as the town was full of tourists. I hope I never see another pink jeep in my life! The problem is that you pretty much have to deal with the traffic if you want to do any of the amazing hikes that they have.

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  4. Great header picture! Ruth's shirt even matches the scenery.

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  5. I think the last time I was there was 1997.... even then it was artsy/fartsy and way too much traffic and people. I do seem to remember one really good indy bookstore though.....

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    1. Yep, well the traffic is much worse now than it was then so I am sure you can just imagine it now. One thing we have to applaud them on is that there really aren't very many fast food chain restaurants or chain type stores there.

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  6. We totally agree! We spent a few days there once with Steve's family who had a time-share. We walked around town and visited the galleries with his artist sister. That was fun but not what Steve and I would do on our own. We boondocked on the other side of the 17 Hwy that goes to Flagstaff and took our toad into Sedona a few years ago. Even with that, the traffic was too much! You two are doing it right! (as usual!) Grace (in Tucson)

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    1. If people love looking at the local arts and crafts then yes, this is the place to be but after a few of the shops they all seem to look the same.

      This is one time that it would have been nice to have a toad but having said that we still got to some of the out of the way places that even a car can't go, so we don't feel like we missed a lot and there is still something else to see on another visit. Even with it being busy and traffic congested we would definitely still recommend a visit here.

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  7. The scenery is very spectacular in Sedona, breath taking for sure.

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  8. What a beautiful place. Can see why you love it!

    I LOVED your last post about the train ride. One of the best ways to travel in the world.

    Sft x

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    1. Other than the town itself and all the tourists and the traffic the scenery is absolutely stunning!

      Yes, there is something about a train ride that makes it a wonderful way to travel. Did you see the train trip we did in the Copper Canyon? Here is the link www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2015/01/the-copper-canyon-train-divisadero-to.html as well as the next day which was our return trip back.

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  9. For all intents and purposes, Sedona IS a national park---since there is zero free camping within ten miles of the place.

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    1. No it isn't, otherwise they would have had camping in the National Park! And it would have been cheaper that the only RV Park in Sedona. So glad that we only had to travel about 8 miles back to get to the free camping area.

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  10. I'm sure the Native Americans for whom this land was sacred share your feeling that it should have been set aside with no development. Glad you were able to manage camping and the hiking in spite of it all.

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    1. We are pretty sure they would have agreed with you too! Have to say though that they have tons of hiking in the area, they just need to make sure some of the trailheads easier to access with a motorhome.

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  11. You are spot on with your opinion that it should have been a NP. Thank goodness for the ones we have, imagine the terrible development that would have taken place if they never had the NP status.

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    1. Thank you Paul and Marti! Having said that there are still places that have National Park status but are still developed but at least now it has been restricted. One such example would be Acadia National Park.

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  12. You took the words out of my mouth with the "artsy fartsy" town description of Sedona. We love the area, however the downtown area doesn't interest us at all. We try and spend 2-3 weeks in Camp Verde, Cottonwood and the surrounding area. Beautiful country. Have fun.

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    1. I sure hope that they don't develop the town anymore than what it is. I know there are people out there that love this type of thing but for those of us that love nature this has definitely encroached the beauty of the area. We haven't been to Camp Verde but it is certainly a lot more pleasant in the Cottonwood/Clarkdale area. Having said that we will be back to hike more of the trails in this area another time, we will just stay away for the town itself as much as possible.

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  13. Exactly the way we felt about Sedona as well.
    At least the scenery makes it worthwhile, we did a couple of nice hikes there as well.
    Loved the views from the Airport parking lot as well.

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    1. Yes, the scenery certainly makes up for all the tourists and traffic.

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  14. I see Sedona as one of those rare "something for everyone" places with lots of natural trails and spectacular scenery, plus an art and shopping mecca. It's unfortunate you have to deal with the latter to enjoy the former.....but both continue to be hugely popular :-) We're looking forward to returning, but will leave the rig in Flagstaff or Camp Verde. Love the header!!

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    1. Yes, you are totally right! We just hope that the town itself doesn't develop any more than it has. It is hard to enjoy nature when you have all these pink jeeps zipping by constantly as well as helicopters and small planes, even the trails aren't immune to them. We don't have a toad so we aren't able to enjoy in that luxury but even if we had we would still want to spend more time in the area and that would mean driving back and forth each time. Doesn't look like there is any perfect solution! :-)

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  15. We visited Sedona years ago, and even then it had a reputation as an "artsy-fartsy" community. Still, the scenery is incredible. I hope we'll return one day. Enjoy your hike!

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    1. Yes, the scenery is totally amazing and that certainly makes up for the rest of it. I hope that you are able to return here once again.

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  16. We had a hard enough time driving and parking the Honda in Sedona, I can't imagine trying to maneuver a motorhome! We took a chunk of that red rock home to Vancouver Island and set it by the front door. In a year it had lost all it's color and was just another rock.

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    1. Luckily Sherman isn't huge but he still does have his issues with some of the area. Good thing we have our feet! :-)

      I guess there just wasn't enough sunshine on Vancouver Island to keep it looking so red! ;-)

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  17. PS: There was a good brew pub right in downtown though. Helps you put up with the arsty-fartsy folk ;).

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  18. Yup, we feel the same as you. We went there and between the pink jeep tours, the crazy people, busy streets, store after store after store.... well. We did have fun at the thift shop! Otherwise if you blocked out the town and just looked at the high red cliffs, all was fine! LOL
    KarenInTheWoods and Steveio
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    1. Yep you are right Karen. We hope we don't see another pink jeep for a long, long time! :-)

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  19. we found Sedona by accident several years ago while driving from Texas to Las Vegas....we wanted to make a side trip to the grand canyon and since I had free rooms at La Quinta I was looking in that area and sure nuff found a La Quinta in Sedona.....what a beautiful area...wish we had stayed a little longer to see the sites. Hopefully we will make it back there one day

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    1. Free rooms are always a nice bonus on a trip! Hope you can make it back to the area and see more of the fantastic scenery there.

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  20. You are right. It is too bad they didn't buy up the land years ago and make a National Park. It's still a beautiful place and I hope to get there one day.

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