Three Days in Sedona: What to Eat, See and Do

Sedona, Arizona is a beautiful city located just two hours outside of Phoenix filled with wonderful food, local shops, and scenic hikes. 

It is often hailed as incredibly spiritual and has vortexes at certain places along hikes. Vortexes are believed to be unique places where energy is entering into or out of the earth. All of Sedona is considered to be in a vortex but there are certain locations where you can “feel” the energy the most.

Jon and I were able to visit Red Rock Country for three days and could have happily stayed longer. There was so much to see, unique places to eat, and hikes to check off! If you only have a day or two to spend in central Arizona, these are the highlights for a short trip in Sedona.

Best Things To Do in Sedona

Check out these top-rated Sedona adventures while you’re getting some gorgeous pictures. If you book an excursion through these links, I get a commission. So thank you!

Take in the Town

There are so many shops to explore and we recommend planning some time to do so! Have you ever been somewhere so overwhelmingly adorable that you were too busy enjoying being that you forgot to document? Yep, us too. #influencerfail. But I did get some cute hiking socks since I forgot mine at Sedona Outdoors and an adorable hat shown in the photo above!

Parking can be a bit of a nightmare in downtown Sedona so just be aware that you may have to park further away from your destination than you hoped or do a few laps before finding a spot. 

Embrace The Scenic Routes

Rather than only driving to your hikes, take some time to drive along the roads and admire the views. The rocks are a beautiful orange and red hue and they reminded us of Zion National Park. 

Pay attention to the parking signs along the road. In some places you can park wherever, however if they say “no parking” they really mean it. This is an area where many people live so you cannot park in front of any house without getting towed quickly.

Couple sitting in the road along the Sedona Scenic Route

Hikes in Sedona

Hiking is probably what you think about when planning your trip to Sedona and for good reason. The hikes range from short walks that end with beautiful views to challenging climbs with rock scrambling involved. 

Some of the hikes in Sedona require you to take a shuttle Thursday – Sunday while others allow you to park at the trailhead if you have a pass. You can get a Sedona Pass or use your America The Beautiful National Park pass. If you need to take a shuttle, there are signs along the road that will direct you to parking lots to wait for it. Keep in mind, if you are getting to these hikes for sunrise or sunset, you will be able to park at the trailheads for every hike since the shuttles don’t run that early or late.

For shuttle schedules, download the app TransLoc. This app will help you locate the pick ups and drop offs of the shuttle.

Sedona Shuttle Routes

While we did many hikes in Sedona, our favorite hikes were Doe Mountain, Devil’s Bridge, and Cathedral Rock.

admire the view from Doe Mountain in Sedona
Husband lifting up wife on top of Doe Mountain

1. Doe Mountain

Doe Mountain is a moderate trail with a 500+ foot elevation gain. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow with minimal obstructions. It is 1.5 miles to the top of the mountain and back to the parking lot.

We liked this one because it had beautiful views at the top for some great pictures! Plus, parking was easy. We parked at the trailhead and there were plenty of spaces available.

2. Devil’s Bridge

You’ve probably heard of Devil’s Bridge – it’s an insanely popular hike with a line that forms to get on the bridge one group at a time. And we LOVED it!

This is a moderately easy hike with a gradual elevation change until you get close to the bridge. Once you are within sight of it, it turns into a bit of a stairway to the top. This is a short hike if you can start at the trailhead. However, most can’t. 

There are very limited spaces at the trailhead so unless you are going very early or late, it’s not worth it to try to park there. You have a few options:
1. Go to a shuttle parking lot. Shuttles come about every 30 minutes and will take you to the trailhead.
2. Another option is the park at the Mescal Trailhead and follow the Devil’s Bridge signs. This is what we did and we like it more. This makes the hike 2.5 miles out and back but we preferred the extra walking time rather than waiting for a shuttle.

Be prepared to WAIT to get on the bridge and keep a good attitude. Get to know the other people around you – after all, you already have something in common! Don’t rush the people taking pictures on the bridge. Just make sure you know what pictures you want and you have a plan for taking them so you are ready to go when it’s your turn.

We came to this hike around noon and waited between 30-45 minutes for our turn. The people around us were great and we got to help take pictures of them which made the hike even better.

Couple dancing on Devil's Bridge in Sedona
aerial shot of couple laying on Devil's Bridge, Sedona

3. Cathedral Rock (Contains  a Vortex)

This was by far the most challenging hike we did in Sedona. It involves a 741 foot elevation gain and is 1.2 miles out and back. You will have to scramble up rocks to reach the top and it can be rough for those with a fear of heights.

Because the elevation gain is intense, we recommend taking your time and coming earlier than you think you should so you don’t have to rush. 

This was the only hike we did that had a special vortex location at the very top and edge of the drop-off along the right side. If you would like to have some time in the vortex, come early – typically someone will take up camp for a long time in these areas and don’t feel the need to let others have a turn.

This hike requires taking the shuttle Thursday – Sunday between 7:00am – 5:00pm.

PRO TIP: This place is best for photos at sunrise. At sunset the background is too backlit to really capture its beauty.

wife on husband's shoulders at Cathedral Rock in Sedona
couple's photoshoot at Cathedral Rock in Sedona

Best Places To Eat in Sedona

Although we really enjoyed the hiking, we fell in love with the food. We are HUGE foodies and any time we  travel somewhere new, we ask for restaurant recommendations so we can try the best there is.

Sedona offers tons of great restaurants and we would go back just to try others, honestly. For now, we highly recommend Creekside American Bistro and Mariposa. After a day of hiking, these two places hit the spot. But don’t think these are casual restaurants for the hearty hikers! Sedona has amazing fine dining options (just don’t show up in your trail clothes).

Tuna nachos from Creekside American Bistro in Sedona

This was our favorite restaurant and one we would go back to again and again if we lived in Sedona. They serve upscale American food and have a beautiful view on their patio. Try to come during the day and sit outside.

PRO TIP: Order the lobster nachos and thank me later.

We made a reservation but showed up over an hour early because we were so hungry. They were able to seat us within 15 minutes so a reservation is nice but not necessary.

Mariposa is a fine-dining restaurant so we recommend not coming here directly after a hike like we did. Luckily we had clothes to change into in our car. Most of the patrons were in nice dresses or suits so you’ll want to bring a classy outfit. Mariposa reserves the right to turn away guests who are not appropriately dressed and this includes athletic attire.

The restaurant is absolutely beautiful. All the food was wonderful and the servers/bartenders were great. It seems like there is something for everyone here – no matter if you like fish, red meat, poultry or are vegetarian.

Yes! This restaurant books up months in advance. However, if you are unable to get a reservation, try coming during off hours and ask to sit at the bar.

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