The Best of Sedona

The last time I passed through this area was almost ten years ago during my Route 66 road trip from Los Angeles to Chicago. Back then, I drove through Arizona so quickly that only the desert and cacti left me with some vague impressions as I passed through the city of Flagstaff.

Thanks to my friend’s good fortune, I had the chance to fly to Phoenix for the first time and venture north to explore more of the state, ultimately having one of my best backpacking experiences in a tiny village hidden inside the Grand Canyon.

While I will save my Havasupai trip for another post, I definitely want to spare some words to share my explorations in Sedona. In just one day, I managed to reach three different destinations around the Sedona area: the Subway Cave, the Birthing Cave, and Devil’s Bridge.

Having lived in the Pacific Northwest for 10 years, the landscape in Sedona was a striking contrast to me. The types of plants, the shapes of the mountains and rocks, the humidity of the air, and the strength of the sunshine all made a strong impression. I had almost forgotten that I hiked Angels Landing a couple of years before (pre-pandemic). Arriving at midnight, I was not aware of the drastic change in my surroundings until I woke up and pulled the curtains aside. The red rocks were so immense that even from afar, they immediately drew my attention with their unique shapes—something I would never find around Seattle.

The flyers in the hotel illustrated a lifestyle that was so different: ATV riding in the desert, helicopter tours into the valleys, stargazing at night, and absorbing cosmic energy while meditating. Indeed, it is believed that Sedona is a vortex where energy moves up or down in a spiral.

For us, though, without a lot of luxurious time to spare, my friend and I headed directly to the destinations on our list. All three destinations were easy to moderate hikes, but the views were quite gorgeous. It was a bit of a pity that the blue sky did not show up when we were at the Subway Cave; otherwise, the photos would have been more impressive. It was quite fascinating to imagine how water had shaped the landscape and then disappeared after completing its work, as well as those people who discovered these places and marked the way for future visitors. By the way, I was just shocked by my friend driving the SUV (Toyota 4Runner) on Dry Creek Road! Just do not attempt it unless you have a vehicle with very high clearance and are extremely confident in your skills!

The turquoise McDonald’s arch also earned a spot on our destination list. While the reasoning behind it, ensuring harmony with the natural colors of the landscape, was somewhat unconvincing, the uniqueness itself was worth a brief stop. Besides this, there are quite a few other places that I marked on the map for future visits, including the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Tuzigoot, Montezuma Castle National Monument, and the Gold King Mine & Ghost Town, among others.