Sunset Crater Volcano National Park Arizona

Road trip Arizona: From Sedona to the Grand Canyon

Back in October, my husband and I decided it was time to make a road trip north and show our two children the Grand Canyon. We had visited southern Arizona countless times before always staying with my parents in Tucson. Yet, we had never ventured north as a family to see one of the greatest natural wonders on earth.

Since I am not all too fond of long road trips with the kids, we decided to split our trip up into several different stops along the way. We spent the first night in sensational Sedona where we enjoyed the raw beauty of her legendary red rocks. It was also a perfect midway point to the Grand Canyon from Tucson ensuring our kids (or me) wouldn’t get too stir crazy with all the driving.

The next morning, after an early sunrise hike on the the Airport Mesa Trail Loop we set off for our long drive to the Grand Canyon making several fabulous stops along the way. Our first stop as secretly planned unbeknownst to the kids who were happily watching a DVD and had already been fed a sandwich, was to the trendy, hip college town of Flagstaff about an hour’s drive north of Sedona. We knew that there were tons of delicious foodie restaurants and found a perfect venue for lunch.

Sedona, Arizona

A Sunrise Hike in Sedona

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.

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Sedona, Arizona

The Changing Light in Sedona

Although my parents have lived in Tucson for over 20 years and I’ve been a frequent visiter to Arizona, I had never made it to Sedona except for when I was a child. Last week, during a family vacation to see my parents, my husband and I decided to include a short road trip with our two kids, spending three glorious days in Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Traveling through northern Arizona made us realize what we have been missing. Stunning, achingly beautiful landscape that offers endless opportunities to hike and enjoy the wonders of the great outdoors.

We set off from Tucson in the morning with the kids happily watching a movie during our four-hour road trip. I laughed at the memory of the days when I was a child and we packed our family of five in our wood-paneled diesel station wagon during the days before electronic entertainment. All we did was fight the entire way! Despite the drawbacks, the invention of DVDs and iTouch games has had some advantages especially during travel!


First rest stop along the way to Sedona, Max smiles for the camera.

Located in the northern Verde Valley of Arizona, approximately 232 miles (373 kilometers) northwest of Tucson, Sedona is one of the most geologically diverse areas in Arizona along with the Grand Canyon. Sedona is world-renown for her awe-inspiring beauty of red and orange-hued rock formations, canyons and mesas that formed millions of years ago when iron-rich rivers dried up and left deposits of crimson-colored iron behind in the sandstone. The sensational striated canyons and unique rock formations can be easily spotted from the highway as you drive into the Sedona.

We arrived in Sedona around early afternoon and immediately our jaws dropped in surprise and delight at her surreal beauty. Sedona is like nothing we have ever seen. She is simply stunning!

Sedona Arizona

First glimpse of a gorgeous red-hued rock formation in Sedona.

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