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Sedona - Flagstaff

chapjim

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I'm planning a trip for next March. I have nine or ten days to spend in the two locations but I'm not sure how to split it. I was looking at three or four days in Sedona and five or six in Flagstaff. Is that a good split?

We can walk around but we are too old to be serious hikers, if that helps.
 

JeffC

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I'd flip that; 5-6 days in Sedona, 3-4 days in Flagstaff. Unless you're planning a lot of day trips that are close to Flagstaff I think there's more to see and do in Sedona. March in Sedona will be comfortable, Flagstaff will be cold.
 

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I have never stayed in either place due to having vacation property in Prescott. Flagstaff in March can have snow and likely cold. Sedona is lower in elevation and snow is less of an issue. IMO, both are close enough to each other that similar locations can be reached by both. Thus, unless there is a specific reason to be directly in Flagstaff. I would consider a reverse ratio.
 

easyrider

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Personally, I like Sedona better than Flagstaff and would day trip to Flagstaff from Sedona. Our Sedona trips usually include a visit to the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Jerome, Cottonwood and driving around the Sedona area. The one place we haven't day tripped too is that corner in Winslow Arizona but it's on the list.

Bill
 

HenryT

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Sedona should be your base. You could day trip to Flagstaff as others have said but I would recommend 2 or 3 days in Flagstaff and 7 or 8 days in Sedona.

While in Flagstaff you would do a day trip to the Grand Canyon (if that was on your itinerary. Of course, it could be very cold at the canyon that time of year) and any other activity around Flagstaff.
 

Sandy VDH

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I agree with the others. would spend less time in Flagstaff and more time in Sedona. March is cold and snow likely. One good thing with Dark Skies communities in those areas is to see if your stay aligns with a meteor shower or at least a new moon, as the skies there are fabulous. If there is a Meteor shower than likely Sunset Crater NP often has telescopes set up in the parking lot.

I did this exact trip in August, so heat was the issue and Flagstaff is cooler, but in March the reverse is true. Even with the summer I spent more time in Sedona.

Nice thing with Wyndham is you have both choices. Sedona is going to be a harder booker, especially March, but Flagstaff will be wide open. Book your days in Sedona first then find Flagstaff to add on.
 

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Be sure to take a day trip to stand on the corner in Winslow and have lunch at La Posada. La Posada is a restored Harvey House hotel. The restaurant and gift shop are wonderful and we enjoy sitting in the lobby and viewing the continuously running tape that shows the restoration of the building and grounds. We stayed one night for our 30th anniversary, and were scheduled for another in spring 2020 before everything shut down. Definitely hope to do it again, if only as a meal stop between Santa Fe and Sedona.
 

TheHolleys87

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We stayed in Flagstaff back in the 90s with my parents in their TS exchange. In addition to sites others have mentioned, we enjoyed the Meteor Crater and the cliff dwellings at Walnut Canyon National Monument - I’m not sure how convenient those are to reach from Sedona. And of course don’t miss Hwy. 89A through Oak Creek Canyon - it’s a beautiful drive, great place for a picnic lunch (if weather allows). And between Sedona and Jerome is the Tuzigoot National Monument.
 

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I have a reservation in Sedona at Sedona Summit (DRI) and will see if I can extend it and flip the two locations around.

The Grand Canyon is definitely on the itinerary, cold or not. I was looking at Zion NP (a very rigorous day trip even from Flagstaff). Also thought about Vermillion Cliffs but the main attraction (The Wave) requires a permit and a hike that I don't think we're up to. Also, Petrified Forest is an easy day trip but also could be a quick stop heading east to Santa Fe. I've been there (1968?) and don't remember any reason to spend a lot of time.

Thanks for all the tips. I'll look them up and make some adjustments.

From Northern VA, I have planned stops in Nashville, New Orleans, San Antonio, and El Paso. Wyndham resorts in all but El Paso. Heading east from Flagstaff, I plan stops in: Villas de Santa Fe (DRI); Wyndham Grand Lake in Afton, OK; Nashville; and home. Door to door is just short of a month, partially due to the three night minimum stay at most Wyndham resorts. One night is too short. Three is too long unless there are new things to do and we've been to Nashville, New Orleans, and San Antonio.
 

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I agree with all the comments...except Sedona has become a parking lot. The traffic is terrible, and March is nuts - Spring Break. Ever since CV and Instagram, visitors to Sedona have triple. You will find yourself sitting in traffic a great deal of time. Luckily, you can enjoy the beautiful views.

I would think that you can change your reservation this far in advance, but if you can't, don't sweat it. From Sedona, you can check out Jerome, Cottonwood and Clarksdale. There are beautiful Indian ruins in the area, both east and west which do not demand much hiking.

I love the hippie, college town vibe of Flagstaff. It is an alpine town and can be beautiful in March. The Grand Canyon is closer from there - expect it to be chilly and busy. There's an observatory for star-gazing. The Riordan Mansion is interesting. Heading East, yes, the Walnut Canyon Nat'l Monument. I think I heard Meteor Crater was effected by the fires. Winslow and La Pasada is an easy day trip or even running over there for dinner is lovely.

I would think Zion is farther than you think. However, driving up to Page for the day is very doable and it's easy to get tickets to Antelope Canyon which is spectacular. And, you can stop at Horseshoe Bend on the way. I would say these last two are a "Don't miss!" So easy to get there from Flag & you will not be disappointed. Enjoy your trip!
 

chapjim

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I agree with all the comments...except Sedona has become a parking lot. The traffic is terrible, and March is nuts - Spring Break. Ever since CV and Instagram, visitors to Sedona have triple. You will find yourself sitting in traffic a great deal of time. Luckily, you can enjoy the beautiful views.

I would think that you can change your reservation this far in advance, but if you can't, don't sweat it. From Sedona, you can check out Jerome, Cottonwood and Clarksdale. There are beautiful Indian ruins in the area, both east and west which do not demand much hiking.

I love the hippie, college town vibe of Flagstaff. It is an alpine town and can be beautiful in March. The Grand Canyon is closer from there - expect it to be chilly and busy. There's an observatory for star-gazing. The Riordan Mansion is interesting. Heading East, yes, the Walnut Canyon Nat'l Monument. I think I heard Meteor Crater was effected by the fires. Winslow and La Pasada is an easy day trip or even running over there for dinner is lovely.

I would think Zion is farther than you think. However, driving up to Page for the day is very doable and it's easy to get tickets to Antelope Canyon which is spectacular. And, you can stop at Horseshoe Bend on the way. I would say these last two are a "Don't miss!" So easy to get there from Flag & you will not be disappointed. Enjoy your trip!
Thank you for the thoughtful and detailed post!

I've heard traffic in Sedona can be brutal but as you said, going slow gives you a chance to look around. Plus, I'm from the Washington, DC area. We didn't invent bad traffic but we've made some improvements on it.

I canceled my original reservation at Sedona Summit and booked six nights instead of three. I haven't booked Flagstaff yet -- that's a Wyndham resort and I can't book more than ten months out. I'll probably book four nights in Flagstaff. One of the things I was looking at is the Grand Canyon Train out of Williams, AZ. It's just a hop from Flagstaff and might be a good way to get to the South Rim without driving there.

Meteor Crater and Petrified Forest are doable from Flagstaff but maybe better on the way to Santa Fe. I hope the southwest gets some rain this winter. The fires are devastating the area.

Thanks again!
 

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Spent a week in Sedona a few years back and took at trip up to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. Hubby is an engineer so he was in nerd heaven but it was a very interesting place and we both really enjoyed the tour. It was also my first introduction to "altitude". Even though I was in relatively good shape I felt a little winded walking around the grounds. If you are spending any time in Flagstaff I'd recommend checking it out.

I'd also second the meteor crater. It's an other worldly landscape.

Enjoy. Sedona is one of my favorite places on earth!
 

chapjim

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Early in my Navy career, I drove cross-country several times toward San Diego or Long Beach. I never took the interstate from Flagstaff to the Phoenix area. Always went down through Oak Creek Canyon. This was in the late 60s and early 70s. I don't remember Sedona at all. I do remember gorgeous, sometimes stark scenery and a principal reason for this trip is so my wife can see it. She has never been to that part of the US.
 

amycurl

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I've been on that corner in Winslow, AZ, and it's......not all that and a bag of chips. ;)
 

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One of the things I was looking at is the Grand Canyon Train out of Williams, AZ. It's just a hop from Flagstaff and might be a good way to get to the South Rim without driving there.
You are most welcome! Ah, trains....truthfully, I've never taken the train from Williams into GC, because by the time you drive to Williams from Flag, you can already be at the GC. I'd be interested in hearing other's experience though. If it's possible to get a reservation for lunch at the Inn in GC - do it!

I'm just not convinced there's much to see on that train ride. A better one is the Verde Valley train in Clarksdale. It can take you through beautiful wilderness which is a special treat for non-hikers. You'd want to do this on one of your Sedona days. There are lots of wineries near Page Springs and Cornville on the way to Cottonwood and Clarksdale if you like wine.
 

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If you like craft beer check out the Oak Creek Brewery in Sedona. Not the fancier Oak Creek Brewery and Grill restaurant but the local brewery. We've hit it up couple of times after a hike. The place had lots of locals and we had a great time talking to a local artist at the bar. Fantastic beers and very reasonable. At least they were the last time we were there about 5 years ago. I recall our Happy Hour bill was incredibly cheap.
 

amycurl

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Waaaay back in the day, you could purchase a Getaway from II that gave you two nights in Tucson, two nights in Payson, and three nights in Sedona....all of them ILX Resorts, pre-diamond. We stayed at either Red Rock or Sedona Springs in Sedona, Kohl's Lodge in Payson, and the Varsity Inn in Tucson. This was actually one of our most favorite trips, as it seemed just the right amount of time in each place, (as an intro,) and you saw great things driving between the three resorts. Like the corner in Winslow, AZ. ;)

I had already rafted down and then hiked up the Grand Canyon, but I believe this was the first trip to the rim for my spouse. We added on a night or two in the park...I believe it was this same trip.

I wish more resort systems did this. It was quite brilliant, actually, in terms of "educating" us about the system and the resorts of ILX.
 
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Deb from NC

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We spent a week in Flagstaff at the Wyndham this past August and really enjoyed it. There’s plenty to do in the area…Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater, Lowell Observatory, Wupatki National Monument, the Riordan Mansion. We also drove up to Page and went on a tour of Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend For the day. And of course the Grand Canyon is not too far away. We loved the Wyndham in Flagstaff…our two bedroom unit was HUGE and we had our own hot tub on the deck!
Sedona is also beautiful, but we’d already been there twice so we decided to go to Flagstaff this trip…you can’t go wrong with either!
 

ScoopLV

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When we lived on the mainland, we visited Sedona multiple times each year. I like the area immensely, despite the "mystic crystal revelations" aspect.

1) Skip Flagstaff entirely.
2) Add Jerome to your itinerary.
3) Add Montezuma's Castle to your itinerary.
4) If you drink wine, add the wineries around Cottonwood and Cornville to your itinerary. They make very solid Zinfandel there.

Seven days in Sedona with day-trips to the above places. Particularly Montezuma's Castle. Any time I'm within 100 miles of it, I'm going to see it again.
 

learnalot

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I'd flip that; 5-6 days in Sedona, 3-4 days in Flagstaff. Unless you're planning a lot of day trips that are close to Flagstaff I think there's more to see and do in Sedona. March in Sedona will be comfortable, Flagstaff will be cold.
I second this.
 

jerseyfinn

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Agree more time to Sedona because March weather up on the Colorado Plateau can be sketchy.

But what I would suggest is thinking in terms of "trip segments" and how to leverage Flagstaff vs. Sedona during your March stay. March weather will set your real trip parameters so be ready to flow with it. This year we had some many cloudy, wet, windy March days here in Sedona and up on the Colorado Plateau including more snow up there.

If you want to hedge your bet, starting in Flagstaff not a bad idea since GC is your # 1 destination. Having a few days offers opportunity & time to altitude acclimate & achieve your GC goal sans worry.

Think Petrified Forest as an alternative for a so-so weather day to go for a ride to escape cabin fever waiting to do GC. Likewise, an alternative cabin fever drive could be a visit to Ash Fork west of Flagstaff on the I-40. AshFork is on part of Route 66 & has a nice little museum. Nothing fancy, but interesting. Once again, simply a way to rescue yourself from bad weather and still hit the road & see the AZ landscape.

If Zion remains your 2nd main Flagstaff goal weather allowing, assume a 5 hour drive in case there's some road issues. As you say, a long arduous days drive to Zion, . We do something similar years ago driving from flagstaff to North Rim of GC thinking we could make the RT that day.

We learn otherwise of course as we lingered in the beauty. We luck out finding a vacant room 20 miles north of the rim. So keep eyes open for any motels along the 89 on the drive up just in case. We're glad we spent a few $ to linger and avoid driving red eye.

Sedona is 40+ miles south of Flagstaff via I-17.

If the weather gods are really unkind during your visit & mar your GC dreams, keep in mind you could drive up to Flagstaff night before & stay in a hotel to get an early start to GC in good weather. Yes a few extra $, but worth it. Then again I speak of how we traveled and explored this region before we move from NJ to Sedona 6+ years ago.

If you get out here and want a short but beautiful hike that won't put you on a ventilator give a holler as we have a nice doable trail here in Village of Oak Creek where we are riding out our life's rodeo.

enjoy playing your trip

Barry
 
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