Best Road Trip Drives: Red Rock Scenic Byway, Arizona
Beginning in the town of Sedona, Arizona, the Red Rock Scenic Byway is the perfect road trip if you’re looking for a short drive that is packed with fascinating geological features. While it might only be twenty minutes long, this stretch of highway offers a number of different adventures, whether you’re looking to hike, bike, golf, or just enjoy the view.
What You’ll See
The Red Rock Scenic Byway is the perfect place to go if you want to see the beautiful, iron-infused red rocks that gave the road its name. In its short 14 mile stretch, you’ll see natural bridges, canyons, and numerous hoodoos, which are thin spires of rock that seem to stretch to the sky. The views are so breathtaking, you might want to have a driving partner, just so you can switch driving duties while enjoying the scenery!
While the drive is a pretty easy one, you might want to be aware of the roundabouts once you enter Sedona—there are some people that know how to drive in them. Remember: when you’re in the roundabout, you have the right of way!
Where to Stop
Along the drive, there are a number of sights you will want to stop at, both man-made and natural. We suggest you check out the Chapel of the Holy Cross, even if you’re not religious. The Chapel, which is located close to Sedona, is open to all faiths and built into the red rock mesas with a beautiful view of Cathedral Rock. Hiking trails are also abundant, ranging from the easier Little Horse Trail, which is a 3-mile round trip hike, to scurrying over massive rocks while climbing Cathedral Rock. For an exceptional experience, stop at Bell Rock Vista—but make sure you have your camera ready. Its beautiful views will dazzle you. For the prime viewing experience, we suggest you attempt to time it so you’re driving along the Byway during sunrise or sunset. We promise you won’t regret it!
While the red rocks it is named after have existed for millions of years, the Red Rock Scenic Byway was established much after that. In 2005, it became the first road to receive the All-American Road designation, signifying that the road was a road trip destination all on its own.