If you are looking for the best places to watch a sunset in Sedona. Sedona, you are in the right place. Thanks to its stunning natural wonders and many distinct formations that have led to vortexes, red rocks, and adventures, the copper state is one of the best places to enjoy sunsets.
Sedona is home to many places offering magnificent golden hour views. Sedona sunsets must be on your bucket list, especially if you visit the city for the first time.
In this post, you will find the best lookouts and trails from which to watch the sunset in Sedona.
If you are visiting Phoenix, check these guides for the best Phoenix Sunrise spots and the best places to watch a stunning sunset in Phoenix.
WHAT IS THE BEST MONTH TO WATCH THE SUNSET IN SEDONA?
Depending on the season, you will watch different sunsets in Sedona in different directions.
In winter, the sun goes down around 5:30 PM, so it is best to plan your visit, especially if you are going to hike to reach the viewpoints to watch a sunset in Sedona. The same is the case with fall as the sunset occurs around 6 PM.
Since spring is the peak season, you can expect more crowds around the sunset spots in Sedona. It is the time for gorgeous desert flowers that carpet the landscape adding to the beautiful colours of the golden hour. The sun usually sets around 7:30 PM during spring.
If you can stand the heat, Summer sunsets in Sedona are stunning, with shades of oranges, purples, and pinks. The sunset occurs around 7:45 PM, giving you plenty of time.
If you are looking for the best sunrise spots in Sedona, check this post.
SUNSET IN SEDONA – POPULAR SPOTS
Among the top spots for watching a sunset in Sedona is Airport Mesa. Due to its immense popularity, it is crowded almost throughout the year.
There are three spots at Sedona Airport Mesa.
1. AIRPORT MESA OVERLOOK
One of the easiest ways to enjoy the beautiful sunset in Sedona is at Airport Mesa Overlook, which can be reached via an easy drive to the top.
It can be pretty crowded during weekends and holidays as it is a popular spot to view both Sedona sunrise and sunset when the bright golden and orange colours.
Make sure you go there at least a few hours before. For $3, you can access valid parking for the night.
2. AIRPORT VORTEX SUMMIT(SEDONA VIEW TRAIL)
The Airport Mesa trail and the vortex summit trail, also known as Sedona view trail, are noted spots if you are up for hiking.
It is a popular hike among sunset viewers and people exploring the things to do in Sedona.
The 5.1 km long, moderately tricky flat trail encompasses important rocky landmarks like Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Elephant Rock, and the Courthouse Butte.
If you are doing either of the hikes, you can access the parking at Airport Mesa Overlook has limited spots that you need to quickly secure or wait for your turn as they tend to fill quickly during the rush hours.
To get to Airport Vortex Summit, get on the easy-to-moderate Sedona View Trail packed with many rocks.
If you turn right at the end of the trail, you will reach the Vortex Summit trail. If you make the entire loop, it can be over 3 miles.
You will be rewarded with gorgeous 180-degree views of Sedona dipped in the hues of the setting sun, a dazzling display of the vortexes that will remain memorable to you in the long run.
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3. AIRPORT LOOP TRAIL
On the Sedona view trail, turning left will lead you to Airport Loop Trail.
It is a short hike amidst a rocky path opening to magnificent landscape views different from the summit.
Since it gets dark quickly, make sure you carry a headlamp on this hike
BELL ROCK VORTEX
One of the best places to watch a sunset in Sedona is Bell Rock, located south of Yavapai County, in the Village of Oak Creek. Bell Rock is the centre of Sedona’s geological history.
One of the reasons that make it the best spot is the magnificent geological wonders of Oak Creek, comprising canyons and rock formations formed over millions of years from ocean waters before the region became an arid landscape.
During the golden hours, you will find the canyons basking in the bright orange and yellow colours, a magnificent sight to behold.
There are healing shops and meditation centres as they believe the vortex area has healing properties.
RED ROCK STATE PARK
One of the best places to watch a sunset in Sedona is Red Rock State Park, surrounded by jagged peaks.
The park is known for its vast expanse of greenery and lush fields. It is an ideal spot to plan a day trip that you can wind up with a memorable sunset in Sedona.
The red rocks reflect and glow as the sun goes down, adding to the mystic vibes.
Red Crossing is a popular spot in the park to watch the sunset, where Oak Creek runs next to Cathedral Rock.
You can enjoy a relaxing swim in the pretty natural creek and witness the sunset spectacle with the Seven Warriors. Cathedral Rock soaked in colours in the evening after a day of exploring.
The 2-mile trail offers many beautiful views as you hike along a paved pathway along Oak Creek.
The other trail that offers stunning views of the sunset in Sedona in the park is Eagle’s Nest Trail, an uphill hike worth your time as you will be rewarded with gorgeous bird views of the valleys below.
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SLIDE ROCK STATE PARK
One of the best places to watch an epic sunset in Sedona is Slide Rock State Park, where you can view the rust-coloured rocks glowing amidst the lush green hills.
Oak Creek Canyon at Slide Rock State Park is the most popular spot, which you can access easily forming golden shadows everywhere. Get there before sunset time because the sun sets sooner.
BEST HIKES TO WATCH A SUNSET IN SEDONA
One of the best sunsets in Sedona involves its top landmark, Cathedral Rock, a gorgeous canyon comprising a series of crimson and orange coloured sandstone buttes in Sedona.
The rock formation is located in the Coconino National Forest in Yavapai County, about a mile (1.6 km) west of Arizona Route 179, It is one of the most photographed places in Arizona.
You need to hike uphill, a moderately challenging trail that opens to magnificent birdviews of Cathedral Rock at 600 meters high.
The rocks glow in different colours as the sun sets, creating magnificent landscapes. A wide flat natural platform allows you to witness this stunning spectacle, and no wonder it is one of the most popular spots for photographers and Instagrammers.
Note that it gets dark quickly after sunset, so carry a headlamp, good hiking shoes and water on your way.
SCHNEBLY HILL TRAIL
If you want to get the best glimpses of the distinct landscapes of Sedona, Schnebly Hill Trail is one of the best hikes.
Popular hike among outdoor lovers, adventure seekers and photographers, this trail is not for the faint of hearts. It is one of the longest hikes in Arizona at over 26 miles, mainly under the scorching heat of the state.
Depending on your speed and preferences, the hike may take between 6 to 8 hours.
However, you can also opt for guided jeep tours that will take you on a 4X4 through this tricky canyon range, which most non-hikers and tourists commonly opt for.
On this tour, you will reach Schnebly Hill’s summit, where you will be rewarded with one of the gorgeous sunsets in Sedona.
From about 2000 feet high, you will see the valley adorned with the twisted maze of sandstone buttes across the desert landscape, with patches of pine forests and intricately carved limestone below.
As the sun sets in the sky, the landscape is painted with reflecting colours that transform it in surreal ways.
Located in the Coconino National Forest, one of the most biodiverse forests in the USA, Devil’s Bridge is a beautiful place worth adding to the list of sites for the best sunset in Sedona.
At over 5000 feet, this sandstone arch can be accessed via a challenging hike.
The bridge gets the infamous name due to the challenge of crossing the bridge as the bridge is devoid of any bars on either side.
Although the trail length is short, it may take 2 to 3 hours for the rough terrain no matter the trail you choose, after which you can pass under the bridge or climb on top of it.
Since Devil’s Bridge is an iconic Sedona landmark drawing hundreds of tourists daily, make sure you head out to Dry Creek Road early to beat the traffic and secure your spot to capqture the stunning colours of sunset.
You’ll need a 4X4 vehicle to get to Dry Creek Road, about a one-mile hike from Devil’s Bridge.
Due to its unique location, you will witness the stunning spectacle of sunset, casting its brilliant hues over the rugged panoramas.
One of the easy hikes that will reward you with a stunning sunset in Sedona is Doe Mountain, a short hike 1.7 miles long that takes over an hour to reach the summit.
The majority of the trail is relatively easy except for the rocky stretches and the steep incline at the end. You will pass through the distinct desert vegetation comprising desert bushes, cactus, and trees that line the walking trail.
You can witness the colourful skies glowing as the backdrop with the desert sprinkled in the forefront.
Passing through the wilderness of the desert, one of the unique hikes that you can do to watch a stunning sunset in Sedona is Vultee Arch.
On this five-mile-long trail, you will come across a 50 feet high red rock bridge passing over a canyon that you can climb. Start the hike early to capture the best shots of acacias, desert willows and other beautiful wildflowers.
LITTLE SUGARLOAF MOUNTAIN
One of the offbeat spots for sunset in Sedona is Little Sugarloaf Mountain, accessed via a mile-long hike. If you are looking for a secluded spot to enjoy a sunset with little or no crowds, this is the place for you.
You can complete the hike within an hour easily and you will be rewarded with beautiful views that you can enjoy from the wide platform.
MAP OF SPOTS FOR SUNSET IN SEDONA
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