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Sedona, AZ & Surrounding Area in October

My husband and I are planning a trip to Sedona in mid October. We will be flying into Phoenix, renting a car and will have 4 full days.

What are some must see/do hikes and activities? We would also love to do some activities or hikes that are off the normal tourist stops. Considering make a day trip to Lake Powell area or Grand Canyon - not concerned if we can drive there and back in one day.

Posted by
7991 posts

There are so many hikes. Go to the Tourism Office for help. We have hiked all over Sedona, beautiful. I can’t remember names of the hikes but we go every year. We had this cancel last spring due to COVID19, hotel closed. October should give you perfect weather.

Posted by
672 posts

Wupatki National Monument is 1:15 from Sedona, and is magical. Amazing Native American architecture that grows out of the rocks, and a ceremonial ball court of the sort normally found in South America. BTW, years ago I experienced virtually absolute silence at WMN--a small bird flew by maybe 40 feet away, and I could actually hear the wing beats.

Posted by
800 posts

I have family just up the road from there (closer to Flagstaff) and they were out to the South Rim a couple weeks back. They said it's pretty empty of tourists, and with that being high season I expect October will be the same. You should go if you haven't seen it, it's one of the wonders of the world. Note that it can get cold in October, although that's a little early for snow. You're only going to be a couple hours drive away.

If you like trains you could take the scenic rail from Williams if it's still running (they don't run year round). You'll also be only a couple hours drive from the Petrified Forest. Or maybe you will want to see the Meteor Crater, that's a couple hours away.

Slide Rock Park is neat, and there's good hiking in the Cocoino Nat'l Forest.

Remember that the best light for pictures is either first thing in the morning or just before sunset.

Posted by
3467 posts

Along with all the excellent suggestions up thread, we also enjoyed Sedona a number of years ago. We rented a car from Phoenix. We visited in October as well. We stayed at the lovely Canyon Villa B&B. The location was perfect. It showcases views of Bell Rock and Courtcase Butte. Take a look at their website- They feature many adventures to enjoy in this majestic area.

Posted by
16 posts

The Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park is really nice. It’s in the middle of a neighborhood but feels so far away and peaceful. I recommend it to all my friends who visit Sedona.

Posted by
13700 posts

Just to follow up on joel's good suggestion for Wupatki, Sunset Crater National Monument is also very nearby, so you can hit them both.

One caution? Both of these are recommended stops along the way from Flagstaff or Sedona if entering Grand Canyon National Park park from the East Entrance (turning west on 64 off 89 at Cameron). You get a fantastic initial eyeful of it from the first overlook (Desert View.) Unfortunately, that entrance is closed due to troubling COVID numbers affecting the Navajo Nation and there's no indication when it will be open again. If it's still closed in October, your only access is via the South Entrance, just north of Tusayan.

A half day poking around funky 'ol Jerome can be a good time. :O)

Editing to add: about that train from Williams....
IMHO, I wouldn't recommend that one as a day trip. You can get to the canyon much faster with your own vehicle, stay much longer, and get home much quickly. That train takes 2 hrs, 15 minutes to cover the mere 65 miles to the park from Williams, the same on the return trip, the scenery en route is nothing to write home about, and you only get 3 hours to explore the park. You also won't be there when the light is at its best, which is darn near anytime but at the middle of the day. That's when you'd end up there if going by rail.

One more caution? Be very cautious if driving after dark in that part of the country; lots of wildlife out and about! That's just one of the reasons most of us recommend staying at least 1 night in the park. Plus you can enjoy a sunset, a sunrise, or both, if the skies cooperate. :O)

Posted by
3714 posts

Too bad you aren't going to be at the Grand Canyon on October 1 or 31 when there will be full moons.

I was there one time a bazillion years ago when the sun was setting in the west as the full moon was rising in the east. They seemed to be setting and rising right into the Canyon itself.

Magical? Oh, yeah.

You can find information relevant to that for this year in the Farmer's Almanac. Scroll down the page to switch between sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset.

You can search for any date, so you can see the rising and setting times of the sun and moon when you actually are in the area. Note that assuming our normally clear AZ skies, the dark of the moon will be a great time to see stars -- if you're somewhere dark. Phoenix would not be the best place for dark skies.

If you do check the Almanac for when you're in AZ, be sure to note the illumination level. It's 100% for the full moons. It should be much less when you're here.

Posted by
6797 posts

We took a day trip bus to the Grand Canyon from Sedona. If driving, we might have stopped and stayed in Flagstaff overnight. It looked pretty nice - mountains and trees.

There might be some restrictions for travel in Indian Country there (like to Lake Powell), due to the high COVID rates. Anyone know?

Posted by
961 posts

It's been many years since I was in Sedona but we did drive to the Grand Canyon one day. We did the loop for Sunset and Strawberry Craters on the way to the canyon, arrived in time to do a little hiking and a good amount of looking around, then drove back to Sedona that evening. We did a lot of casual hiking while there and I checked the website to see if Red Rock State Park was doing their moonlight hike but it appears all of their hikes are cancelled for now. I'd check again and again to see if that hike opens up. It was fantastic! We took a drive down to Jerome one day and that was an interesting little town. We also visited and toured Arcosanti, an old commune. Interesting enough for one visit. Slide Rock was very busy while we were there so we continued north on 89 a few more miles and stopped at Banjo Bills picnic site. I can't remember but think you have to have a parking pass to park there. Seemed like many of the places we went required the pass. We got it at the welcome center on the way in to town and it wasn't very expensive for the whole week. We were the only ones present at Banjo Bills and there is a big ol' swimming hole right there which we enjoyed. The water was freezing though (July) so I doubt you'd want to do more than wade in October. Be prepared to apply skin moisturizer at least twice a day and drink lots of water whether you feel thirsty or not. Be on the lookout for Road Runners (fun) and Javelinas (interesting but can be dangerous). Have a great time!

Posted by
13700 posts

There might be some restrictions for travel in Indian Country there
(like to Lake Powell), due to the high COVID rates. Anyone know?

Yes. Along with the closure of GCNP's East Entrance I'd mentioned above (related to Navajo Nation COVID restrictions) all Navajo Nation Tribal Parks - including Antelope Canyon in Page and Monument Valley - are currently closed until further notice.

Sarah, while you said you aren't concerned about the drive there and back, neither Lake Powell/Page or Monument Valley (which you didn't mention but might be thinking about) are day trips from Sedona: too far to drive both ways in one day, especially when daylight will be sort of short.

Editing to add: here are the current restrictions for travel within the N.N. including curfew/lockdown hours which affect essential businesses.

"....Visitors are advised to refrain from traveling to the Navajo Nation at this time. Tribal parks will not be accessible to Visitors and Tourists during this time. With the phased reopening of the Navajo Nation, Visitors will be informed by Public Health Emergency Order when the Navajo Nation can safely welcome Visitors back to the Nation."

Posted by
6472 posts

Soldier Pass Trail
Slide Rock State Park
Visit Jerome
Montezuma Castle

Posted by
13700 posts

Sarah, not sure you've still got eyes on this forum, or what your itinerary looks like at this time but I'll just re-emphasize staying away from the Navajo Nation. It appears their COVID numbers are spiking again, and their citizens will be under full 57-hour lockdown starting 9/25 at 8:00 PM - 9/28 at 5:00 AM. While this doesn't affect your mid-October trip, it's an example of how quickly things can change, and they state that additional weekend lockdowns may follow. Curfew hours during the week are also in place. Anyway, no services at all, like gas or food, are available during lockdowns.

(Edited a misspelling)

Posted by
14 posts

Sedona is wonderful. Must do Devil’s Bridge! We are heading out there for a full 10 day Southwest road trip from LAS TO PHX and stopping at Zion, Bryce, Page, GC and finally to Sedona for relaxation before heading home. I just posted a separate topic on this for feedback. Have a great trip!