The fiery canyons of Sedona, Arizona, beckon New Agers and nature lovers alike. Find yourself in an otherworldly landscape teeming with energy and mystical beauty.
There is something almost sacred about Sedona. The combination of the saffron buttes set against cobalt skies is otherworldly. It’s home not only to man-made wonders such as the Chapel of the Holy Cross, an architectural masterpiece that springs straight out of the red rocks, but also natural ones, such as Cathedral Rock, considered by local Native American tribes to be the birthplace of the first man and woman.
It isn’t just the natural beauty that draws visitors here; it’s a New Age magnet for those seeking energy vortexes that are clustered in the area. It’s believed these vortexes form spiralling spiritual energies that facilitate prayer and meditation, and Sedona is peppered with New Age crystal shops and healers to usher you along the journey.
Rise early when the sun is a muted orange and take a hike as the fog starts to lift off the desert floor. To take in the maximum number of vortexes, hike the Airport Loop trail. It’s an hour and a half route that takes you past vortex sites such as Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, Coffee Pot Rock and the Cockscombe.
The area does feels different — energy seems to course through you even as you wind through cypress forests, pass medicine wheels and century plants that grow for decades but bloom only once, and climb to lofty heights that overlook the canyons below. For a more challenging route, take the Templeton Trail to the saddle points of Cathedral Rock (the first half of the climb is steep, so take advantage of the carved steps in the rocks).
Adventurous types should rent a bike and tackle Munds Wagon Trail, which crisscrosses Schnebly Hill Road and leads to the aptly named rock formation Cow Pies (a popular vortex spot) and the Carousel. Along the six-mile route, expect to navigate clusters of barrel cactuses, sheer inclines, and rocky, dry river beds that will give even experienced mountain bikers a shot of pure adrenaline. Bring a tour map and water before you head out.
The sunsets in Sedona are epic, as the sun’s rays become more angled, the shadows stretch and the light on the rocks is amplified and deepened. Plan a sunset meditation at popular Overlook Point. Some visitors feel the vortex’s power from the top of the rock formation, while others swear it comes from the valley below and flows over the mesa, illustrating how the vortexes aren’t exactly easy to pinpoint: they need to be experienced firsthand.
What to Pack:
Bring lightweight performance gear with long sleeves to block the sun’s rays. Sedona skies are gloriously clear, but the air can be cool, especially in the early morning and at sunset. Always bring a lightweight jacket that you can easily strip off.
Where to Eat:
The fare at Elote Cafe is inspired by authentic Mexican markets. Order the signature Elote, a fire-roasted corn with spicy mayo, lime, and cotija cheese. (Reservations aren’t taken, so arrive early).
Take the Kids
...to Jerome, Ariz., an abandoned mining town 45 minutes from Sedona. Switchbacking streets in this national historic monument are lined with boutiques, galleries, and restaurants.
Where to Stay:
Nestled near the Boynton Canyon Trail (home to a vortex), Enchantment Resort has luxe amenities such as a stellar spa and crystal grotto where group meditations are held. Have a drink on the Tii Gavo terrace and watch the sun set on the Kachina Woman rock formation