Sedona in 2 Days: everything you need to know

Sedona is one of Arizona's intermediate destinations, located on the continuation of Route 66 between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon. If you are planning a short stay in the city, here's what you can do during a 2-day tour.

Matías Rodríguez

Matías Rodríguez

8 min read

Sedona in 2 Days: everything you need to know

Red Rock State Park |©Mahbubul Islam

Route 66 is a tourist destination in itself in the United States and one of the West Coast's transverse highways that passes through Arizona. The towns near this route, especially those that connect the central points, are protagonists in the itineraries of travelers, and that is the case of Sedona, which located halfway between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon offers attractions that you can see in a short trip.

Some of the best things to do in Sedona in a 2-day visit include touring Cathedral Rock, taking an ATV adventure tour, visiting Tlaquepaque, going on a stargazing tour, seeing Airport Mesa, visiting the Chapel of the Holy Cross and touring Oak Creek Canyon.

Day 1: Tour Cathedral Rock and participate in an ATV adventure tour, visit Tlaquepaque and take a stargazing tour at Red Rock State Park


Sedona stands out mainly for its red rock mountains and its canyon environment, so for the first day I propose a tour of some of these sites and an ATV adventure tour through the desert, where you can combine fun and adrenaline. In addition, you can also live one of the most popular experiences in the city: a stargazing tour in Red Rock State Park.

Tour Cathedral Rock and take part in an ATV adventure tour

If you want to really get to know Sedona, you can't miss its rock formations and desert landscapes, which offer nature and adventure lovers the opportunity for an unforgettable experience when touring Cathedral Rock.

This is one of the region's most iconic rock formations and offers a challenging but rewarding trail for hiking enthusiasts. As you climb the winding trails, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views that allow you to take in the grandeur of the surrounding desert and commune with nature at its most expansive.

But adventure in Sedona is not limited to just hiking, so I recommend starting the day with an extra dose of adrenaline and joining an ATV tour through the desert. During this tour you will be able to explore remote areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Most of these experiences include transfers to the canyon from downtown, or you can also get to Cathedral Rock on Sedona's tour buses.

Ideally, these tours are best done in the morning when the weather is more pleasant, especially if you plan to visit Sedona in June or during the summer months when temperatures tend to rise dramatically after midday. That's why it's the perfect first step for your tour.

Join an ATV adventure tour of Cathedral Rock

Visit Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village

After getting to know Cathedral Rock and living an adventure experience, you will need to rest and recharge your batteries with lunch. One of the best places for these activities is Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, an old themed market that will infect you with the local culture and traditional art. There you will find handicrafts, artists' workshops, galleries full of handmade masterpieces and culinary experiences.

As you enter the cobblestone streets of the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, you'll be surrounded by vibrant colors and a variety of traditional Mexican crafts. From decorated pottery to intricately woven textiles, every nook and cranny will tell the story of the region's passion for art. You can reach Tlaquepaque from Cathedral Rock on a 15-minute drive along Route 179 or on the local tourist bus.

In addition, Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village's traditional restaurants and bars offer everything from authentic Mexican dishes to international options. You can enjoy lunch on a cobblestone patio, surrounded by lush gardens and the region's traditional architecture, while savoring unique flavors that reflect the country's culinary diversity.

The village is also a place where culture comes alive through local shows and performances. Live music, folkloric dances and other artistic manifestations unfold in the plazas and open-air stages, offering you a window into the rich local cultural tradition. Tlaquepaque is also often one of the meeting points for the best Sedona tours.

Book a Sedona sightseeing bus tour

Take a stargazing tour at Red Rock State Park

To end the first day I suggest you enjoy one of the best Sedona tours, which is a stargazing hike at Red Rock State Park. This rock formation is a natural oasis of serenity and becomes even more interesting when night falls and the stars begin to shine in the dark sky. This canyon can be reached from Tlaquepaque in a 10-minute drive along Highway 89A.

Far from the light pollution of the city, Red Rock State Park offers one of the clearest and clearest night skies imaginable. With the help of powerful telescopes and expert astronomy guides, you 'll lose yourself in a fascinating journey through the constellations, planets and distant galaxies. Detailed and passionate explanations from astronomer guides will reveal cosmic secrets and connect you to the vastness of space.

Red Rock State Park's iconic rock formations become huge silhouettes that stand out against the dark background, creating an atmosphere that inspires reflection and awe. The gentle evening breeze and the soft sound of nature in the distance will carry you toward one of the best things to do at night in Sedona.

In addition to the celestial sights, these tours often include educational talks about astronomy and the universe in general. You'll learn about the stars shining above you, the motions of the solar system and other concepts that will allow you to further appreciate the vastness of the night sky. Typically, these experiences also include transfers to and from the hotel and, optionally, dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Book a stargazing tour in Sedona

Day 2: Visit Airport Mesa, see the Chapel of the Holy Cross, tour Oak Creek Canyon and bid farewell to Sedona with a spa night in the Arizona desert.

Oak Creek Trail - Sedona|©Kirk K
Oak Creek Trail - Sedona|©Kirk K

After seeing some of Sedona's top sites on the first day, for the second day I suggest an itinerary that includes nearby highlights such as Airport Mesa, the picturesque Chapel of the Holy Cross, Oak Creek Canyon and an experience that will relax you before the end of your trip: a spa night in the Arizona desert. Are you ready for the intense journey of the second day?

Visit Airport Mesa

One of Sedona's best-kept secrets is hidden high above Airport Mesa. This iconic location is a highlight for visitors who want panoramic views of the canyons and red mesas that characterize the region. Climbing Airport Mesa is like ascending to a natural lookout point that will allow you to contemplate the grandeur of nature, and provide backdrops for some of the best photographs of your trip.

The trail to the top of Airport Mesa is a combination of adventure and contemplation. As you climb, the views become increasingly striking, revealing the dramatic beauty of Sedona's rocky landscape. The physical exertion will be rewarded with every step, as you're treated to a sweeping view of the horizon. Airport Mesa is a 5-minute drive from downtown Sedona.

At the top of Airport Mesa you'll find a perfect space for contemplation and relaxation. Many visitors choose to carry a blanket and sit and watch as the sunlight filters through the rock formations and changes the colors of the landscape. Likewise, if you plan to visit Sedona in the winter, you can view the snow-capped peaks of the surrounding mountains in the distance.

In addition to the views, many travelers enjoy activities such as photography and bird watching at Airport Mesa. The opportunity to capture the scenic beauty on camera is unmatched, as each angle offers a different perspective of Sedona's wonderful topography. Birders can also delight in the variety of species that inhabit this area, taking advantage of the elevated location to spot birds in flight.

See the Chapel of the Holy Cross

Next up on the tour is the Chapel of the Holy Cross, an iconic symbol of Sedona. Perched atop a hill, this unique chapel rises above the region's rocky landscape, offering a space of calm and reflection amidst the awe-inspiring wilderness. From Airport Mesa you can reach the chapel on the Verde Shuttle shuttle service or a 10-minute drive along Route 179S. It is also part of the Sedona tour bus route.

The location of the Chapel of the Holy Cross is part of its charm and power. To get to this site, you'll have to drive up a road that winds through the rocky terrain. As you approach, you will see the chapel rising from the red rocks, creating a striking and spiritual image. The chapel's simple yet striking architecture highlights the natural beauty that surrounds it, rather than competing with it.

The chapel's glass windows offer panoramic views of the landscape, creating a sense of harmony unlike anywhere else in Sedona. There you can say your prayers, attend a religious ceremony or witness Christmas Mass, especially if you plan to visit Sedona in December.

In addition to its spiritual significance, the Chapel of the Holy Cross is also a site that offers unparalleled photographic opportunities. The panoramic views of the rocky landscape from the hill offer a sweeping vista that you'll be hard pressed to forget. Whether you're capturing moments with a camera or simply enjoying the views with your own eyes, this experience is a reminder of the natural richness of the area.

Book a Sedona sightseeing bus tour

Tour Oak Creek Canyon

On the closing afternoon of your second day in Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon, sculpted by thousands of years of erosion, will offer a unique experience to connect you with the natural and geological beauty of the region. From the towering red rock to the serene creek that meanders through the canyon, this site offers some of the best scenery for photography and sunset viewing, especially if you plan to visit Sedona in April or during the spring months.

As you venture through Oak Creek Canyon, you'll find yourself surrounded by towering red rock walls that seem to reach for the sky. Well-maintained trails will guide you through an ever-changing landscape, from open areas with panoramic views to shady nooks and crannies covered in lush vegetation. From the Chapel of the Holy Cross you can reach the canyon in a 20-minute drive on Highway 89A.

One of the most memorable experiences in Oak Creek Canyon is the opportunity to hike. With a variety of trails of varying levels of difficulty, from gentle strolls to more challenging hikes, nature and outdoor enthusiasts will find something for everyone. Photography enthusiasts will also find it a visual paradise, as every bend in the trail presents opportunities to capture the canyon in all its splendor.

Oak Creek Canyon is not only a place of natural wonder, but also a site that resonates with the history and culture of the region. The rocks and formations have geological histories dating back millions of years, and Native Americans have considered this place sacred for generations. As you hike through this canyon, you can feel part of a larger narrative that spans time and local lore.

Say goodbye to Sedona with a spa night in the Arizona desert

As the last step of the tour in Sedona and after watching the sunset over Oak Creek Canyon, I suggest you say goodbye to this paradise nestled in the heart of the Arizona desert with a spa night that fuses tranquility and wellness in a relaxing environment.

Sedona's charm intensifies when the sun sets and the stars fill the sky. For an unforgettable farewell, consider visiting one of the region's spas that offer nighttime treatments under a blanket of stars. Most spas can be found along Highway 89A, which runs north-south through Sedona.

Some sites, such as Mii Amo Spa, feature outdoor facilities designed to maximize the desert experience, with private hot tubs or outdoor relaxation areas where you can feel the evening breeze as you lose yourself in the silence of the night.

In addition, if you choose to visit the Sedona Rouge Spa, you can enjoy relaxing massages and therapies in a rustic luxury setting, which also features heated outdoor pools and the surrounding canyons as the perfect setting for relaxation.

Sedona 2-Day Tour Itinerary

Arch Rock Arch|©Dominic Gentilcore
Arch Rock Arch|©Dominic Gentilcore
  • Day 1
  • Tour Cathedral Rock
  • Take an ATV tour
  • Get to know Tlaquepaque
  • Watch the stars at night
  • Day 2
  • Visit Airport Mesa
  • Visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross
  • Tour Oak Creek Canyon
  • Enjoy a spa night