You know how sometimes the best things in life are those you don’t plan for?
Well this is one of those times because Sedona was not part of the plan. While it may seem like we are just randomly moving around from place to place, the truth is that we really do travel with a master plan. A loose plan that seems to change quite often, but a plan nonetheless. It goes something like this:
September- Eastern California
October- New Mexico?
November/December- Gulf Coast
April/May- East Coast
June/July- New England
After that it’s too far ahead to plan
Chances are we won’t follow this plan exactly, but it helps us to have some general travel guidelines in place. We usually choose the specific places we plan to stay a few weeks in advance. Sometimes more if it’s a busy spot and we need to make a reservation, and sometimes less if we learn of a previously unknown spot that we want to visit. Or, if the weather decides to go all wacky and pretend like it’s May instead of March. Which is exactly how we ended up here in Sedona with a stellar view and temperatures reaching 80 by the end of the week!
Sedona was not part of the plan. It was too cold, too expensive and too touristy. Not for us. Except that we’re trying to to make it to Utah by April. From Phoenix this means either traveling directly north through high elevations and cold temperatures, or going west to Quartzite, north to Lake Mead and then east into Utah. For about a month we’ve been planning to take the latter route. It ensured warm temperatures and would even bring us back to one of our favorite all time spots- Lake Mead. But then I started to have doubts. The more I learned about Quartzite the more unappealing it became. Besides the weather there was nothing that really pushed us to go there. We looked into Lake Havasu, but all the state parks were booked, the boondocking spots reportedly had unreliable cell service, and these days private campgrounds hold very little appeal for us. So then I started thinking maybe we could just go north. How cold could it really be? Turns out not that cold. The average temperature in Sedona this time of year is mid-60s during the day and mid-30s at night. The thing about average temperatures though is that tend to vary quite a bit. Case in point, last Friday it was around 40 during the day and snowing. Nope not for us. This week though things were predicted to swing in the other direction. High 70’s during the day and mid-40s at night was the forecast for the entire week and into the weekend. Well that solves that problem- Sedona here we come!
What really sealed the deal was when I learned about some boondocking spots in the national forest near Sedona. Not just any boondocking spots either- ones with awesome views of the red rocks.
So what if we had to drive 8 miles down a dusty, bumpy dirt road to get here. The view alone was worth the layer of red dust that now covers the back end of the airstream. We’re perched high up on bluff above the town with views of the famous red rocks and a really nice “yard” of red clay and scrub brush. Our location is off Forest Rd. 525, a long dirt road that forms a wide loop on the east side of town that travels from Hwy 89A about 7 miles south of town to 89A in the center of town. It appears to be a popular sight-seeing road and we’ve seen a ton of the pink jeeps from Sedona’s Pink Jeep Tours go by. FR 525 has roughly 4 or 5 spots suitable for boondocking off the side of the road. Most are large enough for more than one RV or tent set-up. Some have views of the red rocks and some don’t. We were surprised by how few people are utilizing these spots, especially since most of the national forest land around Sedona is closed to camping. This road seems to be one of the few that allows dispersed camping. Click here for our GPS coordinates.
In addition to a great view we also get a strong AT&T 4G signal (not so good Verizon), plenty of over the air t.v. stations and close access to town and tons of hiking trails. If you’ve been to Sedona then you know just how much hiking there is to be done around here. So much in fact, that it’s almost overwhelming trying to choose a hike. Yesterday we set off on our first hike and instead of reading through the descriptions for hundreds of trails we decided to keep it simple and choose one recommended by a fellow traveler.
The trail was called Devil’s Bridge and it was a short, steep trek up to a natural rock bridge that you could walk across. School vacation is in full swing around here and the already popular trail was pretty busy. Normally you can drive down a 1.5 mile dirt road to the trailhead, but due to some road improvements (they appear to be making a new parking area and paving the first section of the road) it was closed and we had to park on the main road and walk. We didn’t mind since the hike itself was only 2 miles round trip and it was nice to add in a little extra walking. The trail starts off with a gentle incline through some Juniper trees and gradually gets steeper. The last half of the trail is fairly steep, but the stone stairs make it a hike that most people can tackle. The reward at the end of all this climbing is a pretty amazing view.
I even got brave and ventured out into the middle of bridge for a photo. The bridge is actually wider than it looks and walking on it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.
The plan for now is to stay in Sedona for at least a week. From here we’ll continue north to Lake Powell before heading over to Utah where we can’t wait to explore Zion National Park!
Outstanding spot! We may well hit this towards the end of the month.
By the way since you’re going north want to make sure you’ve seen the closure on Hwy 89…http://arizonageology.blogspot.com/2013/02/alternate-routes-around-us-89-landslide.html
It’s a 45-mile detour to get round it.
Enjoy UT! We’ll be about a month behind you.
Thanks Nina. I remember hearing about this, but at the time it was not on our route so I didn’t pay much attention. Guess we should plan it taking us longer to get from here to Lake Powell.
Thanks for sharing – it looks awesome!
You guys would love it here! Plenty of room for more rigs at our spot. Too bad you’re sooo far away :(
I have a picture in that same spot. So glad our blog was helpful. Beautiful site. We just love red rocks. Enjoy your visit.
It was a pretty popular photo op spot. One after another people walked out and posed above the bridge!
What a great boondocking spot you snagged and I love the red rock view off the side of your Airstream. We love Sedona and go back every year, having lived there for 5 years. The hiking is second to none and there have been many new trails added recently. We have done Devil’s Bridge and it has some pretty fantastic views. I recently did the HighLine Trail with a girlfriend when we visited. If you are interested in other hikes, it is about 7.5 miles and has some spectacular views. My husband and I worked at Pink Jeep Tours for a couple of years when we were stepping back from corporate life. He was a jeep tour guide and I was the Reservations Manager. It is a great company and their tours are fabulous. Enjoy Sedona.
I’ll check out the Highline Trail- sounds like one we would enjoy. Working for Pink Jeep Tours must have been so much fun! We have been seeing the jeeps all over the place as we explore the area.
What a perfect spot -the pictures are gorgeous Thank you so much for sharing this spot-we will definitely be stopping here when we hit the road in December. Your blog is so helpful to us in planning our adventure. Your combination of spontaneity and planning is what I love ! We hope we cross paths with you in the future. By the way, how bumpy was the road into this spot-we have a Roadtrek-and don’t mind the bumps but we don’t have a lot of clearance. Wishing you many more happy adventures !
The road is bumpy and dusty but doesn’t have any big ruts or pot holes. Our Airstream is pretty low to the ground and we didn’t have any problems so I think you’ll be fine. I am sure you will love it here! Happy travels and hope we meet up somewhere down the road!
Hey, thanks for this. I’m in Flag and it just occurred to me I’m close to Sedona and don’t have to shiver as much as I’ve been shivering. Sedona would be a nice stop-off on my way to wherever it is I go after.