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The red rock formations glow magically in the sunset

Hot-air balloon rides are also popular ways to see the scenery

There are many hiking trails to take visitors into Red Rocks Country

Sedona is in the Sonoran Desert, where prickly pear cactus is common

Sedona’s colorful nightlife also appeals

The morning sunrise can also be impressive in Red Rock Country

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Sedona combines Red Rock cowboy country with a New Age feel and luxurious spas


Sedona has a unique charm and a great location, at the half-way point for anyone driving between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon. Many visitors only stay for a few hours to break the journey, but this small town of about 10,000 people is well worth a longer visit of several days. In fact many visitors have never left, as it has attracted writers and artists over the years, some of whom have settled here to write and paint, and open art galleries.


The area around Sedona is known as Red Rock Country, as the dramatic rock formations here are colored by a vivid red-orange sandstone found nowhere else in Arizona. Many hotels and restaurants offer views of the red rocks on the edge of town, and these are especially beautiful at sunset. One reason for staying a few days is to take advantage of the scenery around Sedona. It is good country for hiking and cycling, and you can rent bicycles or get maps of the hiking trails if you wish to do it yourself.


Alternatively, several companies offer organised jeep tours into the surrounding desert, and you can also go hot-air ballooning for an aerial view of this remarkable landscape.


Some of the rocks have distinctive shapes, and have been named accordingly. You will find such formations as Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock and even Snoopy Rock, which does indeed look like the cartoon dog from ‘Peanuts’ lying down on his kennel.


Another attraction of Sedona is its Native American heritage. Indigenous people have lived here since as long ago as 11,500BC, and various tribes including the Apache have settled here at different times in history. Today Sedona is a good place to buy Native American jewelry, pottery and other hand-crafted items. These range from inexpensive items sold in souvenir shops to the superb quality to be found in the many sophisticated art galleries.


Apart from the beautiful outdoors and the charm of the town itself, there are few major attractions as such in Sedona. There are no major museums or historic buildings, the most distinctive structure being the Chapel of the Holy Cross, built between the red rock formations on the very edge of the town.


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