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.

Sedona, Arizona

Sunrise in Sedona

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.

Sedona, Arizona

The sun begins to lighten the mountains

Sedona, Arizona

Love how the black branches frame this shot.

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.

Sedona, Arizona

Setting off into the rising sun

Just follow the path….it is so inviting!

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

As I circle around the trail, the path becomes brighter as the sun dances across the brilliant red trail.

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!

Sedona, Arizona

Beware! The planes literally fly right over your head before they land at the small Sedona airport.

Sedona, Arizona

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.

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

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.

Sedona, Arizona

Max and Sophia. Looks like I’m raising some hiking companions!

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.

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Best hikes in Sedona, Arizona Sunrise hike along the Airport Mesa Trail Loop





      1. There was a time when Terry was living in our home in Sedona and I was still working in Phoenix, looking for work in Sedona. We had a friend in Phoenix who flew small planes and he would occasionally fly me into Sedona for a quick visit with hubby. 🙂

      2. Wow, that must have been an experience. I will be honest that I am petrified of flying in small planes! The smallest one I was on was a 15 seater in Nepal and I almost passed out!

  1. That looks SO beautiful! So true about doing morning hikes – they are somewhat therapeutic and make you definitely wish you could start every day like that! Am absolutely dying to go..

    1. Thanks! I love to hike. It is one of my favorite things to do! It always makes me feel so alive, inspired and connected to nature and the world! Arizona is perfect for hiking!

  2. I fell in love with desert hiking this month in New Mexico. We took a 6.4 mile round trip hike up to Lost Peak in the Guadalupe Mountains on Saturday, watching the sun light the canyon and the glowing maples from both east and west. Enchanting for sure!

  3. What a great place to sit and meditate. I am going hiking in 10 days to Wilson’s Promontory in Victoria Australia. Your blog has inspired me to take plenty of photos. Ps what great looking kids you have. Enjoy hiking with them in the coming years.

    1. Thanks for the comment! I love hiking and wish I could do more of it. I bet Wilson’s Promontory is wonderful. I’ve been to Australia only once but loved it.

  4. Just beautiful. The scenery is stunning. It’s funny how far I’ve travelled but haven’t made it to the state. Sedona is now on my list of places to go.

    This post has also made me miss the outdoors – too hot at the moment here for anything resembling outdoor activity. Cheers!

    1. So glad you enjoyed the post! Yes Sedona is really gorgeous as is the Grand Canyon! I still have yet to write about it and show my photos! Stay tuned. It is getting cold here in Minnesota. Winter is on its way!

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