Get your camera ready for this one, and don't forget your swim suit, hiking shoes, and fishing pole. If you're coming to Sedona from Flagstaff take State Rt. 89A just south of Flagstaff. The road descends a breathtaking series of switchbacks into a scenic, smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon. Known for colorful rocks and unique formations, Oak Creek Canyon is famous the world around for its spectacular scenery.
Keep an eye out for Steam Boat Rock, Courthouse Butte, Bell Rock and more.
Before you drive into the canyon you'll want to stop at Oak Creek Canyon Vista. Here you can get a bird's eye view of what awaits you down the road and, at the same time, shop for Native American jewelry and other craft items from the local Native American artists who set up displays along the pathways.
Once you've snaked your way down the switchbacks, U. S. Highway 89A winds a lazy course down the length of Oak Creek Canyon. It's actually possible to enjoy the scenery here without leaving your car, but most people choose to get to know these crimson cliffs and crystal pools on a more personal basis. For that purpose there are plenty of overlooks, picnic areas, swimming holes and hiking trails all along the drive. At Midgely Bridge, there's a vista point with an especially unforgettable backdrop where you'll want to stop and use that wide-angle lens.
As you leave Oak Creek Canyon and continue past Sedona through Red Rock Country, an observer with a sharp eye will recognize familiar shapes among the natural sculptures that form the horizon. Keep an eye out for Steam Boat Rock, Courthouse Butte, Bell Rock and more.
Location: AZ 89A 14 miles from Flagstaff to Oak Creek Canyon Vista and then 13 miles more to Sedona.
Season: All year
Attractions: Picnicking, Waterplay, Hiking, Fishing, Wildlife watching, Photography
Road Condition: All roads are paved and plowed but can become slippery after a winter storm.
Driving Time: 1 hour.