My Bucket List Trip: Day 1 Sedona, AZ

Hiking Devils Bridge in Sedona

Lots of you have been asking for the details on my most recent trip to Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon. I've put together some tips & tricks I learned along the way to help you plan your adventure!

First off, I want to say that I planned this about 10 days in advance. I actually didn't have my hotel booked until the night before I left. Thinking about where I would want to spend 6 whole days, I asked myself, "If I died this year, what would I regret not experiencing?" And the Grand Canyon was my answer. So, I took the trek by myself to Phoenix, Arizona to experience the beautiful views, breathtaking moments and checked a lot off my bucket list. I spent each of those days in Arizona living as if I would die tomorrow.
 

A couple of quick tips when you get to Arizona:

  • Don't rent a cheap rental car. I rented a car for $440 for 7 days, through wisecars.com and I would never recommend them again. When I arrived at the rental car garage from the shuttle, there was a VERY long line of people, and yes, of course it was the line that I was going to have to get my rental car. Turns out they had over committed and rented a lot of cheap cars. We were just waiting for people to drop off their cars so they could quickly clean and rent them out again. After waiting 90 minutes (and it was about 10:30 pm) I jumped ship and walked over and rented a car from budget rentals for $300 more. Thankfully wisecars refunded me. 
  • Be mindful of the weather. I went towards the end of March - please be mindful that Arizona weather is a bit all over the place. In Phoenix, it was warm and breezy, but when I drove to Prescott that night, it was sleeting/snowing. So, do your research on what the weather will be like before you go! 
  • If you do plan on hiking, take the opportunity to visit the grocery store and buy a lot of snacks and bottled water. I spent $100 on lunch, plenty of gluten free snacks including rice cakes, bars, and bottled water. I'm so glad I did this because during my hiking days, I actually barely made it back to the hotel in time for dinner. I saved a lot of money on food, some days I had gas station food or what I had in my car for my meals. I also pre-packed bags of protein for my trip and drank one every morning! 
My first two days I spent in Sedona and I stayed at the Arabella Hotel. I upgraded for a view, and I had a super cute, modern style room, equipped with a fridge, a "great for selfies" light up bathroom mirror, and a balcony with a cute hanging hammock chair.
Arabella Hotel
The Hotel also offered room service for their on-site restaurant, Mole - which I heard was great food, but unfortunately I never made it back to the hotel in time to enjoy. 
Courtyard Rooms
A lot of the hotels in Sedona are pretty expensive. This was the cheapest one I could find. I noticed when you searched for hotels in Sedona, a lot of the cheapest ones were about 30 minutes to an hour away from Sedona. 

Okay now on to the good stuff :) Hiking.

Bear Mountain, Sedona AZ

I did a little research the morning of for best places to hike, and I always love a challenge. I chose to do the Bear Mountain Trail Hike. It is about 15 minutes from downtown Sedona located in the Doe Mountain Trail Parking lot which should be easy to GPS to. It is a $5 parking fee and they take credit cards. 

  • Pro Tip: Not a lot of people realize this, but the Bear Mountain Hike is actually across the street from the Doe Mountain Trail. Several people told me that they hiked Doe mountain and then realized they weren't on the right mountain.  
The beautiful views from Bear Mountain trail

This is a strenuous 5 mile hike (or in my case, 6 mile), and I strongly recommend wearing hiking boots. Make sure you pack snacks (especially salty snacks), and plenty of water because this hike will take about 4-5 hours. I experienced many different weather scenarios while up there, so if you're visiting during off season, definitely bring a warm jacket/gloves. It became very hot on certain sides of the mountain and other times-I couldn't feel my fingers. 

 

The terrain starts out as just a dirt trail, and at the end of that trail, you will start to climb about 2,000 feet within 2 miles. So get ready to sweat! This is where I made the mistake of taking a trail that went to the left. I followed that for about a half a mile before realizing I wasn't on the right path and ran out of trail, so I had to turn around. Pro tip: Make sure you follow the white markers painted on the rocks. Something I failed to realize when I hiked the wrong direction!

This hike sure was a workout! Just when I thought I was done, I realized there was more to hike. There was one beautiful view after another, so if you get exhausted , you can easily turn around and feel just as satisfied that you saw those first stunning views.

I had to hurry on back on my way down before sundown. The sun set around 6:30 pm, and I got back to my car around 6:45. I started the hike around 1:00 pm. If you can handle tough trails, I would highly recommend this one! But, there are plenty in the area with gorgeous views. Some of my Plan B trails were: Wet Beaver Creek Trail - 7 miles, Sedona Subway Cave Hike - 6.1 miles, or Cathedral Rock Trail - 2.4 miles. 

 

The Vault Tacos

I read about Elote Cafe on another blog, so I looked at their menu before I went hiking. I saw a photo of their lamb shank - and that's all I wanted after my hike! After checking into the hotel and changing, I made it to Elote at 8:00 pm, and quickly realized it was spring break week for many visitors, so they were booked out for a month - even for takeout! I was so disappointed, but obviously this place must be good, and if I ever get a chance to go back, hopefully I'll be able to make a reservation to this place. They recommended I go to a place down the street called The Vault. I ordered a Cauliflower crust pizza, Tacos and a Margarita and it was all delicious!

 

Day 1 in Sedona was wonderful! I ended up walking over 7.1 miles, and of course I was exhausted. I went straight to bed so I could wake up early for my helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. Stay tuned for Day 2 - coming soon!

If this post was helpful or if you had any questions, drop a comment below!

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