For centuries Sedona, Arizona, has been considered a sacred site of mystique. Before early settlers claimed the land, several Native American tribes inhabited the hallowed grounds. Today people travel across the globe to experience the Arizona desert and its famous Sedona vortexes (the proper pronunciation is vortices) in the midst of the stunning red mountains and ancient rocks. Many believe vortexes to be swirling energy centers conducive to healing, meditation and longevity.
Photo Alert: Don't miss an opportunity to capture the magnificent crimson pillars and panoramic landscapes of this serene refuge.
Native Americans viewed the northern region of Arizona as the birthplace of their spirituality. A vortex is said to be a natural place where the earth is wired with energy. Some believe Sedona vortexes are areas of concentrated power or vibrations emanating from the ground. The phenomenon of vortexes has also been recorded at Mount Shasta in California, the Great Pyramid in Egypt, and the famed Stonehenge in England.
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The best time to experience Sedona vortexes and hike the gorgeous sandstone cliffs is from March to May and from September to November, when the temperatures are milder and the flowers are blooming. The four best-known Sedona vortexes are found at Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Airport Mesa, and Boynton Canyon.
7 Best Overlooks and Hiking Trails to Explore Sedona Vortexes
Sedona Airport Overlook Site
This celebrated overlook circles the upper slope of Airport Mesa (Tabletop Mountain), providing stunning red clay vistas. The trailhead to the overlook is about a half-mile up Airport Road, just off Highway 89A in the middle of Sedona. While there, take in the iconic Sedona red rocks of Coffee Pot Rock and Thunder Mountain.
There are two nearby trails to discover by the overlook. The Overlook Trail is a short path that leads to the top of a mini mesa (home to a well-known energy vortex) and the Airport Mesa Overlook Loop Trail.
Photo Alert: You can't snap enough stunning Instagram pics here, especially of beautiful Sedona sunsets!
Amitabha Stupa & Peace Park
This enlightened 14-acre park at the base of Thunder Mountain draws between 35,000 to 45,000 thousand spiritual seekers every year. Some call it Sedona's newest vortex. People of all faiths are welcome to the sacred ground for prayer, meditation, and spiritual renewal. Visitors can follow a short trail up a winding hill to see two small Buddhist stupas and a 36-foot Amitabha stupa. If you were wondering, a stupa is a mound-like structure containing ancient holy relics. The stupas symbolize the presence of Buddha.
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Fun Fact: It's customary to walk around a Stupa three times, offering prayers for yourself and others. Even standing before a stupa is a blessing believed to cleanse the soul.
The park opens daily from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and contains a Native American medicine wheel. For generations, tribes have used the Sacred Hoop wheel for health and healing. There is no entrance fee, but donations support the park.
Sedona Vortexes along the Long Canyon Trail
The Long Canyon Trail, a 7.2-mile out-and-back trail, is suitable for all skill levels and accessible year-round. This heavily trafficked trail is primarily flat and used for hiking and horseback riding. The peaceful hike through gorgeous red rock backcountry keeps a steady climb and has about an 823-foot elevation gain. The seven-mile trail provides area vistas of buttes and cliffs such as Wilson Mountain and Steamboat Rock. Dogs are permitted.
Pro Tip: The trailhead has no parking lot, just spots along the road, and cell service is limited, so you might want to download your map ahead of time.
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To visit this sacred cultural site along the Long Canyon Trail, pass the golf course on the right at the fork in the road, then take the detoured path with a barbed wire fence on the right. The Birthing Cave is one of the fastest and easiest to find of all Sedona's hidden caves. The Hopi Native American women who inhabited Sedona came to the Birthing Cave to deliver their babies.
Photo Alert: For gorgeous pics inside the cave, mid-day provides the best time for a little shade and stunning views.
Sedona Vortexes - Thunder Mountain Trailhead
Just off of Highway 88, Thunder Mountain Trailhead is accessible year-round for hiking, walking, and mountain biking. The trail to the summit (3.6 miles one way with 1600 feet elevation gain) is a popular destination for visitors and locals, providing extraordinary summit views. Thunder Mountain Trail to Andante Loop is a moderate three-mile loop trail set amongst lovely wildflowers.
Fun Fact: Thunder Mountain's claim to fame rose after Zane Grey published his classic western novel Thunder Mountain about mining gold in the west.
Bell Rock Hike in Sedona
One of the best places to experience Sedona vortexes is the Courthouse Butte Loop Trail. Many spiritual seekers take the Bell Rock journey, a moderate 4.5-mile hike through gorgeous crimson canyons and verdant meadows, where the trees grow spiral instead of straight.
Cathedral Rock Trail
Vortex energy is buzzing along this short steep climb along Cathedral Rock. Vortex seekers say you can feel the sensations in the rocks as the breeze carries peaceful vibration through the gaps.
Sedona Golf Refuge
If you've had your fill of vortexes and hiking, Seven Canyons might be calling out to the golf enthusiast in you! Extend your trip to include this amazing golf course and resort.
Seven Canyons is a 200-acre premier destination for golfers. Surrounded by miles of incredible National Forest lands, the luxurious setting provides members with all the amenities of a world-class resort. The private golf course offers a natural environment in sync with the harmonious ambiance of Sedona.
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The Clubhouse Restaurant & Bar highlights an upscale dining experience with delicious cuisine paired with a curated wine list. Clubhouse chefs serve breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees and use only the freshest local ingredients.