Note: A shorter version of this post was published today on the Sedona Chamber of Commerce website: Visit Sedona. To view that post, click here.
Sedona is a truly magical place. Blessed with a rugged, red-hued landscape of mountains, rock formations and canyons, the awe-inspiring beauty of Sedona is best seen on foot. A morning hike in Sedona is a spectacular way to start off the day as you can watch the sun slowly light up the brilliant red mountains and the shadows dance away. Furthermore, it may be one of the few times that you are hiking alone meaning you will receive the benefit and joy of finding peace and solitude while enjoying an incredible view.
One of the best sunrise hikes in all of Sedona is the Airport Mesa Trail Loop that literally circles around Sedona’s small mountaintop airport affording dramatic 360-degree views of the city and her magnificent, unusually shaped rock formations.
The hike starts off of Airport Road and meanders a gentle 3.5 miles from start to finish. Depending upon how fit you are and how many stops you make to take photos of the breathtaking views, the hike takes a little over an hour to an hour and a half.
Arrive about a half hour after sunrise to be rewarded with the best views of the sun bouncing off the red-hued mountains. It is the golden hour and the light is magical. It is not the best time for photos as the mountains are covered in shadows however watching the sun rise as the shadows disappear is fantastic.
I was lucky that although the parking lot was full, I only saw two people during the entire hike. It was so insanely serene and peaceful that I was overcome with emotion. If only I could start every day as beautifully as this!
Here are some photos of the glorious sunrise over Sedona that I took during the hike.
As I set off on my hike, the light was brilliant, bouncing and reflecting off the red-hued rocks. It was felt surreal. Such a calm, peaceful beauty.
Just follow the path….it is so inviting!
I took so many beautiful shots it was impossible to choose which ones to include. So instead, I’m putting them all into a large gallery. I love the deep green foliage of the dessert juxtaposed against the crimson red and deep blue sky. Pure eye candy.
A little over half way around the trail, I was startled to actually see the airport right next to me. Thankfully a small plane didn’t land over my head!
As I continued, the views of Sedona changed in landscape, topography, vegetation and of course light. The hike continued to be just as stunning as it was when I began an hour before.
It was such a wonderful hike I called my husband to come up after I was done and do the hike with my nine-year old son, Max. Sophia and I spent the next hour and a half shopping at some of Sedona’s handicraft shops.
If you go:
The trail head is located about halfway to the top of Airport Road. Note that the parking lot is very small and fits only a handful of cars. The lot is usually full from sunrise to sunset however I waited only a few minutes and a spot opened up.