As one of Arizona’s most alluring desert cities, Sedona has long been a magnet for artists and adventurers drawn to its crimson spires and evergreen forests.
Once the star in a slew of Westerns, Sedona is now known for its otherworldly appeal. People come here for UFO sightings, energy vortexes, sacred indigenous sites, and a booming spiritual scene. So when is the best time to visit?
Situated in the Verde Valley’s high desert at 4350ft, Sedona has four distinct seasons, with mostly moderate temperatures year-round. Spring and fall are the busiest. Summer isn’t scorching, but monsoons can put a damper on outdoor activities. In winter, room rates drop and throngs thin. For blue skies, balmy days, and more room to maneuver, the best times to visit are March to April and mid-October to November.
High Season: March to May and September to mid-October
Best time for outdoor activities and seeing desert flowers
Spring is sublime in Sedona when warmer temperatures (average highs are in the mid-70s) bring cactus blooms and crowds. Fall weather is similar, but without the masses escaping southern Arizona’s savage summer heat. April and May are the busiest months and hotels can be pricey.
Low Season: December to February
Best time for budget travelers
Snow in the desert? A few inches fall in Sedona, fleetingly powdering the red rocks. Winters are mild, with average highs up to 60F. Hotel rooms are cheaper, plus it’s an ideal time to find serenity in one of Sedona’s many spas.
Shoulder Season: June to August and Mid-October to November
Best time to avoid crowds
In summer, expect heavy afternoon downpours (along with the full drama of thunder and lightning), typically in July and August. Oak and maple leaves change color in fall, adding another layer of splendor to Sedona’s diverse desert landscape.
Quiet days and fewer visitors mean ample elbow room when teeing off on Sedona’s championship golf courses. Backdropped by fragrant junipers and towering red rocks, the fairways are open year-round.
Key Events: Sedona Winterfest
Crisp February days are perfect for taking in the year’s first festivals and events. Runners test their mettle traversing the Coconino National Forest during the Sedona Marathon, and documentaries and indie films are screened at the annual international festival.
Key Events: Sedona International Film Festival, Sedona Marathon
Early spring heralds the start of the busy season, with hotel prices starting their upward swing in March. Hit any of the area’s 200 trails early in the day for a slice of solitude among the rock-red cathedrals and spiky cactuses.
Key Events: Sedona Yoga Festival, Sedona Mountain Bike Festival (rescheduled to November for 2021 only), Sedona Stumble
With sunny days, flawless skies, and pleasant weather, April is a great month to discover Sedona’s creative side. Stroll among its 80-plus art galleries, many of which open their studios in spring.
Key Events: Piano on the Rocks International Festival, Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival
In May, the high desert starts to heat up, signaling cholla and prickly pear cactuses to burst into purple and yellow flowers. Expect it to be busy, with hotel prices spiking, especially when Sedona hosts its weeklong festival celebrating conscious films.
Key Events: Illuminate Film Festival, Cinco de Mayo
High temps still only hover around 90 in June, but there’s a slowdown of visitors. That means more choices and better rates on rooms. The reliably gorgeous days and dramatic landscapes also lure photographers to learn from the pros during Sedona’s annual hands-on PhotoFest.
Key Events: Sedona PhotoFest
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, with July being peak season for spotting up to seven species of hummingbirds.
Key Events: Oak Creek Arts and Crafts Show, Sedona Hummingbird Festival
Temperatures wane in August and so do room rates, bringing a beautiful balance to the end of summer. Sedona’s usually busy tours see a drop-off in tourists.
Key Events: Sedona Photography Symposium
Activities ramp up again in early fall, with September heralding the harvest season in the Verde Valley’s vineyards. Book accommodations and restaurants well ahead of time. Chill time can be carved out during an outdoor yoga session or sunrise hike to one of Sedona’s four energy vortexes.
Key Events: Sedona Winefest, Red Rock Hemp Festival, Red Rocks Music Festival
Hotel prices and temperatures start to cool off again, making October one of the best times to visit. Fall festivals are also in full swing, celebrating Sedona’s flourishing arts and crafts scene.
Key Events: Sedona Plein Air Festival, Red Rocks Oktoberfest, Sedona Arts Festival, Fall Arts & Crafts Fair
Sedona is still gorgeous in November, with daytime temperatures in the mid-60s. Visitors can soak up the last warm days touring the backcountry or drifting above the red rocks on a hot air balloon ride.
Key Events: Sedona Mountain Bike Festival, Sedona Wolf Week
Aside from the usual holiday season revelry, December is one of the quietest times to visit Sedona. It’s easy to come by coveted restaurant reservations, bargain hotels, and have popular trails all to yourself.
Key Events: Festival of Lights
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