1-5 Days Sedona Itinerary For Hikers + Non-Hikers



Where Are Those Morgans hiking through Amitabha Stupa Peace Park on a cold but sunny day in December during a one week Sedona itinerary visit to northern Arizona

We spent 8 amazing days exploring Sedona from dawn to dusk in December 2022, and it instantly became one of our favorite travel destinations in the US. For us, the key to planning the perfect Sedona itinerary is to figure out how much you want to hike with the days you have available. It’s important to know there’s lots more fun things to do in the area, but hiking is by far the most popular activity in town.

In this guide we show you our itinerary suggestions for hikers and non-hikers visiting Sedona for the first time, all based on our own experiences.

Our Experience

Hiker in winter clothes walking on a sloping red rock landscape with towering sandstone formations behind on a clear day in Sedona AZ
Here’s Kristen hiking back down Cathedral Rock after our sunrise summit

We’ve been to many of the top US travel spots and Sedona is undoubtably one of the places we enjoyed the most. We’re hikers and travel photographers, and it doesn’t get much better than Sedona’s awesome red rock landscape. We couldn’t believe how action packed our 8 days ended up being, and we were exhausted by the time we left!

We hiked a bunch of fantastic trails, drove off road trails in a Jeep Rubicon, photographed sunrises and sunsets, visited ancient ruins, sampled delicious wine, found hidden caves and so much more. And we’ll definitely be back for more outdoor adventures in the future. Read more about us.

How Many Days Do You Need In Sedona?

Hiker wearing fur coat at a vista in Sedona during a winter itinerary visit
Kristen in a heavy fur coat at Airport Mesa just before sunset

Sedona is one of those rare places in which you can genuinely fill an itinerary whether you have 1 day or 7 days in town. There are so many great things to do in and around the area, so you don’t have to worry about running out of ideas. We’d focus more on how many days you feel comfortable taking off work or how much it’ll cost in hotel fees and eating out.

With that said, we’d say 3-4 days is a good amount of time for a first visit to Sedona if you’ll exclusively be hiking. If you don’t plan to hike, you can see a lot in just 2-3 days because it’s not a huge place. We stayed for 8 days so we could see and do absolutely everything, but overall we think 5 days gives you a great balance with plenty of time to hike, sightsee, get off the beaten path and also relax.

Next, we’re going to walk you through how we would spend 1-5 days in Sedona based on our experiences. Each day has a hikers and non-hikers itinerary example, and we’re listing in order of priority so you can see what we’d include with each additional day in town. We keep things short and simple to give you ideas about how you can start building out your itinerary. Let’s begin!

READ: 20 unmissable things to do in Sedona

Day 1

Man with camera in shadow inside Subway Cave sandstone formation in northern Arizona
Mark walking through Subway Cave with a camera



Day 2

Verde Canyon Railroad train curving around a bend in desert land
Our train ride along the historic Verde Canyon Railroad from Clarkdale to Perkinsville



Day 3

Hiker watching sunrise over Sedona from the summit of Little Sugarloaf
Kristen looking over Sedona from the summit of Little Sugarloaf not long after sunrise



Day 4

Driving a Jeep Rubicon over dusty sandstone rocks is one of the best things to do during a sedona itinerary
Mark putting our Jeep through its paces on Outlaw Trail



***Hire a Jeep for 2 days***

  • Morning – Drive to Mystic Vista for sunrise before drive Schnebly Hill Road to the overlook
  • Afternoon – Drive the famous Broken Arrow Jeep Trail
  • Evening – Drive Soldier Pass Road (with this permit)

Day 5

Maroon Jeep Rubicon driving on Diamondback Gulch Trail in Arizona
Mark driving our maroon Jeep Rubicon “Amy” on Diamondback Gulch off road trail



***Take the Jeep back***

Note: If you don’t hire a Jeep on days 4 and 5, here are some more activities you can do instead:

  • Fly high above Sedona in a hot air balloon at sunrise
  • Browse art galleries and unique independent stores
  • Eat and drink in Uptown Sedona
  • Hire bikes at Thunder Mountain and hit Sedona’s top mountain biking trails
  • Book a round of golf with a view at Sedona Golf Resort
  • Try a popular Jeep tour, winery tour, helicopter tour or day trip tour in Sedona

READ: The top rated tours you can take in Sedona

Key Things To Know

Looking up at a church shaped like a cross built into a red rock cliff on a clear day
Sedona’s famous landmark Chapel of the Holy Cross

Jeep – We hired a Jeep with Barlow for 3 days and it completely changed our Sedona itinerary. Not only could we drive exhilarating off roading trails, but it also gave us access to some of the harder to reach areas like Robbers Roost and the heritage sites. It also meant we could bypass parking at Devils Bridge and Soldier Pass, which was huge. It’s not cheap, but it’s the one thing we recommend splurging on.

Crowds – Sedona is an immensely popular year round tourist destination, so you should plan for crowding at trails, attractions and hotels. We recommend booking your hotel in advance, reserving tables at restaurants and getting out early in the morning to beat the rush.

Parking – Getting parked at hiking trailheads and popular attractions is going to be your biggest concern when you visit Sedona. If you can only spend one or two days in Sedona, we strongly recommend you get organized and get out early, otherwise you could miss out on a hike.

Sedona shuttle – It’s definitely worth considering the Sedona Shuttle park and ride service to reach some of the most popular hikes in town. The shuttle runs Thursday through Sunday year round between 8:00am-5:00pm. It will save you time trying to park at trailheads.

More From Sedona

Want more Arizona content? Head over to our Arizona travel guides to explore the best of Grand Canyon, Sedona and beyond.

We hope our itinerary ideas help with planning your visit to Sedona!

Please let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.

Happy Travels,

Mark and Kristen

Was this post helpful? Pin it for your visit!

Note: This article contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these affiliate links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

All Rights Reserved © Where Are Those Morgans, LLC. Republishing this article and/or any of its contents (text, photography, maps, graphics, etc.) in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.

Leave a Comment