As one of Arizona’s most alluring desert cities, Sedona has long ignited the imagination of adventurers, artists and mystics. Now wine tours and film festivals have added to its eclectic vibe, with natural and cultural worlds coming together. 

Sedona’s dramatic landscape features 400 miles of trails that twist among spiky cactuses and lead to vermillion peaks in idiosyncratic shapes (look for Snoopy and the coffee pot). The city is also the epicenter for sacred Indigenous sites, energy vortexes, UFO sightings and a booming spiritual scene. Situated in the Verde Valley’s high desert at 4350ft, Sedona has four distinct seasons, with mostly moderate temperatures year-round. Whether you come for hiking and biking adventures, wine-tasting excursions or luxury escapes at the spa, here’s a guide to the best times to visit Sedona.

A person is riding their bike down a dirt path surrounded by red rocky peaks
Woman riding her bike in the backcountry in Sedona, Arizona © CampPhoto / Getty Images

March to May and September to mid-October are high season and the best time for outdoor activities and desert flowers 

Spring is sublime in Sedona when warmer temperatures (average highs are in the mid-70s) bring cactus blooms, as well as crowds from within the state escaping southern Arizona’s savage summer heat. April and May are the busiest months in Sedona and hotels can be pricey. Fall weather is similar, but without the masses, giving it an edge when choosing the ideal time for outdoor activities like hiking to vortex sites and biking the red-dirt terrain.

Budget travelers should visit from December to February 

Snow in the desert? A few inches fall in Sedona, bringing the rare opportunity to take photos of the red rocks crowned in white. Winters are mild, with average highs up to 60F. Hotel rooms are more affordable, so it’s a great time to rejuvenate at Sedona’s superb resorts.

June to August and Mid-October to November are the best months to avoid crowds

In summer, expect heavy afternoon downpours (along with the spectacle of thunder and lightning), typically in July and August. The leaves of Sedona’s oaks and bigtooth maples change color in fall, adding another layer of splendor to the diverse desert landscape whether wandering through the forests at West Fork Trail or driving the scenic State Route 89A through Oak Creek Canyon.

January is an ideal time to golf 

Quiet days and fewer visitors in January means there’s room for contemplating those big swings when teeing off on Sedona’s championship golf courses. Fairways are open year-round, framed by fragrant junipers and surrounded by Sedona’s iconic sculpted sandstone. 

Key event: Winter Play Day 

The red rock of Courthouse Butte in Sedona covered in a light dusting of snow
Courthouse Butte in Sedona, Arizona after a snow storm © alexeys / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Festivals kick off in February 

Crisp February days are perfect for taking in the year’s first festivals and events. During the Sedona Half Marathon, athletes test their legs and lungs running among the ponderosa pines in Coconino National Forest, while silver-screen devotees can choose from more than 140 documentaries and indie films to watch during the nine-day annual international festival.

Key events: Sedona Half Marathon, Sedona International Film Festival 

March brings spring crowds 

Early spring heralds the start of Sedona’s busy season, with hotel prices starting their upward climb in March. Book accommodations early if you plan to participate in Sedona’s signature mountain bike and yoga festivals. Get out early to explore any of the area’s 200 trails to enjoy an adrenaline rush or slice of solitude in nature without the crowds. 

Key events:  Sedona Yoga Festival, Sedona Mountain Bike Festival, Sedona Stumble

Artists open their studios in April

With sunny days, flawless skies, and pleasant weather, April is a great month to discover Sedona’s artistic side. Stroll among its 80-plus art galleries and shops, and listen to classical and contemporary piano performances.

Key events: Sedona Open Studios Tour, Piano on the Rocks International Festival, Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival 

May heats up, bringing cactus blooms and higher hotel prices  

The high desert starts to heat up, signaling cholla and prickly pear cactuses to burst into purple and yellow flowers. In May, Sedona buzzes with activity and hotel prices spike, especially with the city hosting events like its biannual concert series, held every Friday in May (and September).

Key events: Verde Valley Wine Festival, Red Dirt Concert Series

Splurge on cheaper stays in June 

High temps still only hover around 90 in June, but humidity hasn’t hit yet (that comes during monsoon season) and there’s a slowdown of visitors. That means better rates on rooms and an opportunity to splurge on a stellar stay. The reliably gorgeous days and comfortable nights lure people outside to enjoy free movies in the park under a blanket of stars.

Key events: Oak Creek Arts and Crafts Show, Summer Cinema Series 

Thunderstorm with lightning bolt strike over Sedona, Arizona.
A lightning bolt strikes from a monsoon storm at sunset over the city lights of Sedona, Arizona © mdesigner125 / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Experience monsoon (and hummingbird!) season in July

Expect weekend day-trippers escaping “the Valley” (greater Phoenix), where temperatures soar in summer. You won’t have to compete for hotels, but prepare to retreat indoors when sudden monsoons soak Sedona, sometimes bringing dangerous flash floods. Weather won’t deter nature, though: July is peak season for spotting up to seven species of hummingbirds.

Key events: Fourth of July Wet Fest, Oak Creek Arts and Crafts Show, Sedona Hummingbird Festival

In August hotel prices and crowds drop

Temperatures wane in August and so do room rates, bringing a beautiful balance to the end of summer. Sedona’s usually packed guided excursions see a drop-off in tourists. It’s the ideal month to curate your own desert adventure.

Key event: Fool Me Twice! 

Festival season returns in September

Activities ramp up again in early fall, with September heralding the harvest season in the Verde Valley’s vineyards and feted right in Sedona during winefest. Book accommodations and restaurants well ahead of time. Need some chill time after all the partying? Find some solitude during an outdoor yoga session or sunrise hike to one of Sedona’s four energy vortexes.

Key events: Sedona Winefest, Earth Medicine Festival, Vortifest, Red Dirt Concert Series

Arts and culture abound in October

Hotel prices and temperatures start to cool off again, but fall festivals – music, painting, crafts – celebrating Sedona’s flourishing arts scene are in full swing, making October one of the best times to visit.

Key events: Sedona Plein Air Festival, Red Rocks Oktoberfest, Sedona Arts Festival, Fall Arts & Crafts Fair, Red Rocks Music Festival

November brings cool temperatures for exploring

Sedona is still gorgeous in November, with daytime temperatures in the mid-60s. Visitors can soak up the last warm days touring the backcountry, joining a 5k Thanksgiving run, sampling food truck eats or drifting above the otherworldly landscape on a hot air balloon ride.

Key events: Sedona Food Truck Festival, Sedona Turkey Trot

The best month for slow travel and romance is December

Aside from the usual holiday season revelry, December is one of the quietest times to visit Sedona. It’s easier to come by coveted restaurant reservations, find bargain hotels with cozy fireplaces and take romantic strolls on normally busy trails such as Cathedral Rock, and Devil’s Bridge without the crowds.

Key events: Festival of Lights, Art at Anthem, Merry Music at the Museum

Keep planning your trip to Sedona:
Brush up on your travel logistics with Getting around in Sedona
Make the most of your time with The best day trips from Sedona
Dive into the outdoors and Get active in these Sedona city parks

This article was first published Aug 5, 2021 and updated Apr 9, 2024.

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