Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Boy!  What an adventure I had!

Over Christmas Break, some friends and I decided to take a short jaunt through Sedona, Flagstaff, and the Grand Canyon.  As I'd been to the Sedona area before, I did most of the driving and tour-guiding while my friends sat back and admired the scenery.

Here are some of the highlights!

Uptown Sedona

We arrived in Sedona late at night six days before Christmas.  Since it was so dark, we couldn't see the gorgeous red rocks that make this area famous.  So...

Bright and early the next morning, we set out to visit Uptown Sedona, which is not only a great place to shop but also a great place to get pictures of Snoopy Rock!

Snoopy Rock
Since we were now five days away from Christmas, Uptown Sedona was all decorated for the holidays!

There were also these nifty little instruments that my friends had fun playing (it was a little hard to hold the batons with my plushy hands).

While window-shopping with my friends, I had the opportunity to meet one of Arizona's legendary jackalopes!  He assured me that jackalopes do, in fact, exist, but they're very elusive and have years of experience hiding from people (there's even an annual "Who's The Best Hider" convention and competition!).   

Chapel of the Holy Cross

After we'd spent some time looking around Uptown Sedona, we headed south toward the Village of Oak Creek to visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross.  This Catholic church has become famous not only for it's stunning views (which are truly amazing!), but also because it was built into a ledge of red rock overlooking Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock (to name a few)!

The Outside of Chapel of the Holy Cross
Cathedral Rock from Chapel of the Holy Cross

Bell Rock (far right) from Chapel of the Holy Cross

Chapel of the Holy Cross is a functioning church as well as a tourist attraction.  It is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 5pm, but they open at 10 am on Sundays to allow time for morning Mass.

The Inside of Chapel of the Holy Cross

Chapel of the Holy Cross is all ready for Christmas too!

Oak Creek Canyon and West Fork Trail 108

North of Sedona on AZ-89A lies the beautiful Oak Creek Canyon.

As to why they didn't put the Village of Oak Creek closer to Oak Creek Canyon itself may never be known.  As it was, it took us about 30 minutes to drive from Chapel of the Holy Cross to the canyon.

Just beyond Uptown Sedona, the road becomes a little more windy -- not too windy, mind you.  The road runs along the side of a cliff and sports some excellent views!  A great place to pull over and take pictures of this scenery is the Midgley Bridge.  There's a place to park and a trail that takes you down under the bridge for some great photo opportunities!  Be careful, though.  The trial is a bit rugged and can be steep at times.  

View from the Midgley Bridge Trail

It's a good idea to wear comfortable walking shoes or hiking shoes on this trail.  My friends strongly advice against wearing high heels down there (they know from experience).

High heels are not good shoes for the Midgley Bridge Trial.

AZ-89A continues down into the canyon, and gets closer and closer to the creek.  There are a lot of little hotels and rental cabins down there where people can stay pretty close to the water.  Sometimes in the winter, there's snow down there.  Sadly there was no snow there when we visited.

Indian Garlands is a great place to grab a sandwich for the road on your way into the canyon.  During the fall months, they carry the most AMAZING apple cider in the world!  So if you're planning to be in the area during the fall and love fresh apple cider, be sure to make a stop at Indian Garlands!

My friends and I headed to West Fork Trail for a picnic lunch and a hike.  It's a beautiful spot near the bottom of the canyon, surrounded on all sides by towering cliffs of red rock and thick forests.  This area is absolutely gorgeous in the fall when the leaves are changing color!  Sadly, this was not the case five days before Christmas (although it's still a lovely place even in the winter).

Picnicking at the West Fork Trail 

Crossing the Bridge to the Trail

While the hike itself is generally pretty easy (maybe moderate at times, but mostly easy), there are a few places where you have to cross the creek to continue on the trail.  We only made it to the first river crossing because it was getting cold and we didn't have our winter gear with us.  But if you're prepared for the weather and really enjoy rock-hopping and beautiful scenery, West Fork is the perfect place to go!


If you've got a lot of money and like southwestern clothes, jewelry, and trinkets, then Tlaquepaque is definitely worth a visit!

Even if you don't have a lot of money to spend, Tlaquepaque is still a great place to window-shop, take pictures, and enjoy a bit of southwestern architecture.


Nestled in the heart of Sedona (right next to Los Abrigados), Tlaquepaque is home to some fine dining and unique shops.  My personal favorites are The Secret Garden restaurant and the Feliz Navidad Christmas store!  The Secret Garden sports any number of pastries and sandwiches (my favorite of which is a hummus pizza with onions, red peppers, and feta cheese) -- this is the perfect place to grab a bite after Church!  Feliz Navidad carries an assortment of southwestern style Christmas decorations, and it's open all year round so you can buy Christmas gifts for friends and family even if you're not going to be in the Sedona area for Christmas!

Inside the Feliz Navidad Christmas Store
The particular day we visited Tlaquepaque happened to coincide with their Christmas festivities, including free food, hot apple cider, carolers, and a chance to sit on Santa's lap!

Carolers, Including Elsa, Anna, and Cinderella
Kids Gather to Sit on Santa's Lap

As far as I know, this Christmas event only happens once a year (our trip coincided with it by coincidence).  So if you're hoping to catch the festivities during your visit, check Tlaquepaque's online calendar for dates and times.

Overall Consensus

So, is Sedona worth a visit?


The town itself may be small, but don't let size fool you.  There's a lot of fun stuff to do, cools sites to see, and trails to hike all over the place.  It's the perfect vacation spot whether you like hiking and site seeing or simply relaxing and admiring scenery.

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