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Sedona Arizona: Top Ten Must See Attractions   by Paula Hartgraves

Sedona Arizona is one of the most beautiful areas in the state. This small town is made magnificent by its world famous red rock canyons and buttes and its high desert locale.

The scenic setting has made Sedona Arizona a haven for artists, outdoor enthusiasts and New Age seekers. These diverse groups have blended in with the area's homesteaders and Native Americans, creating an interesting mix of sights and activities for the Arizona vacationer.

Here are the top 10 attractions you won't want to miss, in no particular order:

1) Sedona Arizona Vortex Sites
You don't have to be a New Age believer to visit Sedona's well known vortexes - places where a strong yet indefinable energy radiates from the earth. These spectacular red rock sites are some of the most beautiful spots in all of Sedona. The top four vortexes are: Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Airport Mesa and Boynton Canyon. Stop by a Sedona Arizona visitor center to pick up a map and directions.

2) Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village
This is Sedona Arizona's most unique shopping venue with over 40 galleries, stores and restaurants. The open air, Spanish Colonial style marketplace is modeled after the artists' community of the same name in Guadalajara, Mexico. Even if you don't want to shop, Tlaquepaque is worth a visit to stroll its shady, flower-filled courtyards or have lunch on a garden patio.

3) Take a hike, or a Horseback Ride, or Cycle
Sedona offers some of the best hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding in Arizona. Dramatic red rocks are visible from every spot in town but to experience their majesty you need to get out on the trail. The helpful rangers at one of the Coconino National Forest Service stations can recommend trails suited to every skill level and time schedule. Prefer to go with a guide? Talk to the friendly staff at the Sedona Chamber of Commerce for suggestions.

4) See Sedona's First Artists
Sedona Arizona's canyons were historically home to the Yavapai and Apache people. You can see their centuries-old rock art at three Forest Service sites: Honanki, Palatki and V-Bar-V Ranch. These sites have ruins as well as petroglyphs and pictographs. Be sure to call ahead before you visit as some sites are open for pre-scheduled tours only or may be closed to due to bad weather.

5) Chapel of the Holy Cross
No matter what your faith, Sedona Arizona's "red rock chapel" is a marvel of modern architecture. Sitting high on a butte overlooking town, this soaring concrete and glass Catholic church looks like it was carved right out of the surrounding mountain. The views from its stone patio are spectacular. All visitors are welcome and admission is free.

6) Drive through Oak Creek Canyon
The 33-mile road through Sedona Arizona's Oak Creek Canyon is one of the most scenic drives in the state. It begins up in the ponderosa pine forests south of Flagstaff and winds through a technicolor rock canyon, paralleling Oak Creek. Along the way, they are plenty of stops for hiking, picnicking or just enjoying the views.

7) Slide Rock State Park
Slide down one of Oak Creek's natural red rock chutes and you'll feel like a kid again. Sedona Arizona's most scenic creek runs right through the heart of this popular park, like nature's waterslide. Kids of all ages enjoy splashing in the creek's cool waters on warm summer days. This is a scenic spot for a picnic too.

8) The Sedona Heritage Museum
Discover Sedona Arizona's history at this museum run by the Sedona Historical Society. The museum focuses on Sedona's settlers from 1870 to the present and is housed in an old stone homestead. See vintage farm equipment and stroll the old fruit orchard. One room is devoted to the more than 80 movies made in Sedona and another features the life and work of real cowboys.

9) West Fork of Oak Creek
Often called the most scenic hike in Arizona, the West Fork of Oak Creek Trail crisscrosses this tributary through a narrow red rock canyon. Soaring cliff walls, moisture loving wildflowers and ferns and dense groves of trees give this 3-mile trail a fairyland quality. It's a moderate hike and your feet will get wet.

10) Montezuma Castle National Monument
This ancient Native American site is not technically in Sedona Arizona but 30 miles southeast. Why would you want to leave the beauty of Sedona? To see one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in the United States. During the 12th and 13th centuries, the Sinagua people lived in this amazing five story, 20-room pueblo tucked into a limestone cliff overlooking Beaver Creek in the Verde Valley.

About the Author

Paula Hartgraves is co-publisher, along with her husband, Jeff, of http://arizona-vacation-planner.com/. They have lived in and traveled throughout Arizona. Visit their Arizona travel web site for additional Arizona vacation and travel tips and news, resort, spa and restaurant reviews, destination guides and more.Copyright 2007

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