Let me preface this forum post by saying that this was my second trip to Sedona. My first trip was a family vacation about a year and a half ago. We traveled from Phoenix to Sedona to the Grand Canyon. We had a great time and I truly fell in love with Sedona. We loved taking 2 different Pink Jeep tours and visiting the Chapel of the Holy Cross our first trip as well as eating at the Silver Saddle Room/Cowboy Club and Savannah's.
This time around I was traveling for work to a conference in Phoenix. What better way to extend my trip and spend 3 nights in Sedona?!!! Luckily my colleague's relative, who lives in Flagstaff, picked us up in Phoenix and dropped me off in Sedona for two full days of hiking while they enjoyed Flagstaff and the GC. Below is an overview. (remember I did not rent a car but I had researched and come up with a plan for hiking solo.)
First of all I stayed at the same hotel, the Best Western Arroya Roble. I love it there, great views and great location. As soon as I checked in, I "hot footed" it to the pool and later the hot tub. I couldn't wait to hike the next morning.
Here's how it went....
I took the Sedona Trolley which really is a great “first thing to do” when you are in Sedona. There are two trips, one to the Chapel of the Holy Cross area and one out towards Boynton Canyon. Because this was my second trip to Sedona, I took the trolley for hiking purposes. I had contacted the Sedona Trolley via email and Sarah was very helpful in advising me to take the 9AM, Trip B and then get off at Boynton Canyon trail head for hiking. She then said I had the option of a 2 hour or 4 hour hike on my own because the trolley could either pick me up at 11:30am or 1:30pm.
The first day I packed my backpack with 5 bottles of water, snacks and lunch and hiked the Deadman’s Pass and the Vista Point and the trolley arrived right on time to pick me up at 1:30pm. Deadman’s Pass was very enjoyable because few people hike this trail and I only saw 3 bikers during this lovely hike. Since I love to take my time and take lots of photos, this hike took about 2 hours plus it was about 82 degrees so I enjoyed a snack break under the cool shade of a small tree. It was very peaceful looking up at the red rocks and watching the small birds flit about.
My favorite hike was Vista Point which is a MUST DO for everyone who enjoys hiking and heights. I spent a good amount of time at the vortex and ate my lunch while chatting to several hikers who were kind enough to take my photo when I offered to take theirs. I also observed a nice family with their 2 young boys playing in the sand and building with the red rocks. I loved that the parents let them get dirty and captured the moments on film. I then realized that I did not have enough time to hike Boynton Canyon but I quickly decided to utilize the Sedona Trolley and come back the next day. Next comes the only "nasty" encounter I had my whole stay....
I boarded the trolley (after 4 hours of hiking) while other trolley folks were outside the trolley learning about Boynton Canyon. When people started boarding the trolley a nasty lady and her husband loudly announced that I was "IN THEIR SEATS" to which I responded, "I need to sit somewhere." (which may not have been tthe best reply but after 4 hours of hiking I just wasn't expecting the "saved seats" mentality especially since there was nothing on the bench indicating someone was sitting there. So the couple sat elsewhere and then those seat "owners" returned to their seats the nasty woman loudly proclaimed that SOMEONE had taken THEIR seat...so at that point I stood up and said I would move. I walked to the back of the trolley and one lovely woman made room for me although her boyfriend said, "Honey, your purse was sitting there..." which made me think..."was this some reality show?" Luckily the polite woman, shushed him and the couple beside me said they couldn't believe the woman thought there were saved seats in the first place, like a high school bus or something. Gratefully I just relaxed and enjoyed the view and tried not to stare daggers in the nasty woman's neck.
When we returned to the hotel I enjoyed relaxing by the top pools with awesome views and read my book before heading down to the hot tub for the last rays of the day and then dinner. I tried to let the whole episode go and realized I had more respect for solo travelers than I had before. I also kind of missed my DH because he is a big guy and no one would have said a peep to him!!! ha,ha
Took the Sedona Trolley for day two and realized how nice yesterday’s strong breeze helped keep the heat at bay. Today was about 82 degrees and rather hot but I set off excitedly to venture into Boynton Canyon. I figured I would only hike 2 hours this time and then go back up to Vista Point on the way back. The trail was a lot of fun but I must admit seeing Enchantment on my left took away from the beauty of this area. Plus there were more people than the previous day and I missed the quiet solitude of Deadman’s Pass. The Canyon was very pretty and I kept hiking around each bend to see a new perspective of the towering Red Rocks. This time I only brought 3 bottles of water because I only planned to hike 2 hours. I quickly drank the first two as I paused to take a ton of photos. I must admit I spent a good deal of time thinking of getting back to poolside because it was hotter than I expected. Personally, I like to hike when it is about 70 degrees but because the canyon was so enticing, I really didn’t mind. I finally stopped for a snack and realized I was running out of time. I had hiked further than I expected (or spent more time than I had expected) so I turned back, intent on hiking up Vista Point for the wonderful 360 degree views. On my way back I met two friendly hikers with a King Charles spaniel and I stopped to chat. They volunteered to take my photo and one of them told me she was from Vancouver and came especially for the fall foliage. She insisted on having me stand so the beautiful fall foliage would be showcased in my photo. I have to admit that I looked behind me and thought “What fall foliage???” because all I saw were a small patch of bright yellow aspen trees. I didn’t want to burst her “excitement bubble” but since I am from the East Coast, fall foliage to me means a wide range of reds, orange and yellows but I didn’t mention my opinion because these women were so nice. We parted ways, and I picked up my speed looking for Vista Point. At that point I realized I only had about a half hour before the 11:30AM pick-up time and when I reached the Vista Point trail I realized I would have to forego the trail so I headed back to the stone bench in the shade to wait for the trolley. As I waited I realized I could see Vista Point from that viewpoint and once again I knew I would return to Sedona to enjoy more scenic hiking trails.
This time as I reboarded the trolley, I got on LAST and found a great seat with beautiful views as we returned to uptown.
I really liked the Sedona Trolley owner, he was informative and kind. I felt very safe relying on him to pick me up and he always checked and commented “yes, I have my hiker.” He even mentioned I would get a discount my second day and seemed happy to provide me with transportation for my second day of hiking.
I also know there are other even better Sedona hikes out there for my next trip. I took a ton of photos and can't wait to have them framed or create a second Sedona memory book.
My last night was especially fun as I met with RedRocks from the TA forum and his wonderful wife at Canyon Breeze. It was awesome to meet someone from TA who is so knowledgeable and kind as RedRocks and his wife.
The time had come and gone so quickly, as I knew it would, but it only made me realize that Sedona is not a destination, it is a journey to enjoy... just like the hikes I enjoyed during my stay. Sedona isn't a one time experience or a mountain to climb and proclaim on a bumper sticker "I climbed Mount Whatever"... Sedona is a reoccuring journey of discovery for this East Coast woman.