Day 3 of my solo trip in Arizona began early with a 5:00 AM sunrise hike in Sedona. One of the main reasons I picked the Arabella Hotel was because of the access to hiking trails. If you’ve been to Sedona, you know that parking at trail heads can be like the wild west. I was so lucky that not only was it just a mile hike out to a beautiful spot near Snoopy Rock for sunrise, but that I saw not one other person on the trail the entire time.
While popular trails are popular for a reason, I really have enjoyed going on some of the less popular trails in areas where you can just enjoy nature on your own. This sunrise hike was one of those moments.
Breakfast + Audio Tour in Sedona
After my morning hike, I grabbed the free breakfast at the hotel which had so many options. I had oatmeal with peanut butter, a breakfast taco, yogurt, and coffee. I was able to sit out on the patio and enjoy the morning views of Sedona. Because the hotel was a splurge, I tried to take advantage of the time I had before check out and read on my patio before packing up and checking out.
I had purchased an audio tour from Guide Along (formerly GyPSy Guides) of Sedona for about $12. I have used them in the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota as well as in Glacier National Park and I love learning about an area. The narrator does an awesome job sharing history, geography, helpful information and more. I followed the tour and picked up a local coffee along the way.
Hike at Fay Canyon Arch Trail
The Audio Tour takes you back through Boynton Canyon and while a very popular trail in the area is the Boynton Canyon Trail and the Subway Cave, I made a left instead of a right to avoid all the traffic and ended up at the Fay Canyon Arch Trail. I had read about the trail online and bookmarked it on All Trails before my trip. Since I knew it was a shorter trail, I found a parking spot and headed out.
This trail goes along a wash for the majority of it. It’s pretty flat but really pretty. What gets you though is the climb to the arch. Around .6 miles into the hike, you can go on the arch spur which is what I chose to do. Very quickly you ascend about 420 feet to the bottom of the arch. There’s a good bit of rock scrambling involved but the views into the canyon are beautiful and I thought it was worth it. Hiking boots are a must.
Lunch at Indian Gardens
After the audio tour and hike I was getting hungry so I drove into the northern part of Sedona for lunch. On both of my previous trips to the area I had wanted to stop at Indian Gardens Cafe and Market but didn’t have enough time. I made it a priority to stop on this trip and ordered the breakfast hoagie with bacon and a latte and they were divine. This is now my favorite spot for food in Sedona.
Jerome (Copper Mining Town)
About 1 hour southwest of Sedona is the town of Jerome. It sits quite high in elevation compared to the area surrounding it and to get there, you take a steep road up the mountain. The town was developed in the late 1800s. It had about 15,000 people during its peak around 1920. While copper mining was booming at the turn of the century, the town now has about 450 people and caters to tourists and has a vibrant arts community evident during my walk around town.
The town was quite busy when I arrived so I parked in the free overflow parking at the top of the mountain and walked a bit down into town past the fire station. On all of the streets were various shops, artist galleries, bars and restaurants, and quirky other spots. I popped into a few shops and purchased some stickers for my travels and enjoyed the 1 mile or so walk around town. I learned more of the history of the area and then continued to my next stop driving up over the even higher mountain pass behind the town of Jerome.
Goldfield Ghost Town
My next stop was another ghost town, but this one was a 2.5 or so hour drive east of Phoenix. I got there in the later afternoon and arrived just as a reenacted showdown had begun amongst the cowboys in town. I arrived to simulated gunfire and after it was over, walked among the old buildings and felt like I really was back in an old ghost town.
While at Goldfield, you can tour the historic Mammoth mine, visit the gold mining museum, and get a ride on a narrow gauge train. Or you can just walk among the shops, check out the horseback rides, go to the shooting gallery, grab a bite at the saloon or some caffeine at the coffee shop. This is a great spot for families and kids.
Dinner & Check In
At this point I was ready for dinner so I headed to my hotel in North Scottsdale, which was the Hilton at Cavasson. I would be staying here for the two nights so through my research online, I knew I wanted a place that had beautiful views for a decent price. I lucked out and was able to find a great deal on this spot and had a balcony (which terrified me because of the open glass) but also a restaurant and pool on site.
I picked up a Dutch Bros on my way to check in and then got ready for dinner downstairs. They had great food and I ended up with some chips and salsa and tacos for dinner. I was tired from the day so I went to bed right after to rest for the next morning’s early hike.
- Local Coffee Shop – While I did go to Dutch Bros again, I did get something local prior at the Indian Gardens Cafe which was excellent.
- Hike with a great view or end point – Both the sunrise hike seeing the cotton candy sky over sedona and the views from the Fay Canyon arch were beautiful.
- A few hours to relax – When I’m on any road trips, meals and watching sunrise or sunset are usually the “rest” that gets built into each day. I sat at dinner and took my time while I ate and then sat on my porch at night to just enjoy the views and reflect on the day.
- Learning – The audio tour through Sedona and then the history in Jerome and at the Goldfield ghost towns were all really interesting to me and I learned so much about the area that I would have had no idea of otherwise.
- Something novel – The views from Jerome at the top of that mountain as well as the arch on the Fay Canyon trail were both novel for the day.
- Something challenging – The .25 miles with 400 or so feet of elevation on the Fay Canyon Arch Trail. I was definitly winded but loved it.
- Scenic drive – The drive through Prescott National Forest behind Jerome was beautiful as was the drive through Sedona.
- Unique stay – I loved the amenities at the Arabella Hotel, specifically the access to hiking trails, the sunset spot behind the hotel, the pool, free breakfast, restaurant on site, beautiful views, live music, and patios. It was such a great location and exactly what I was looking for when I knew I’d be spending a night in Sedona.
- Vistas – The whole day was full of beautiful views but I think the sunrise view from my hike this morning takes the cake. A cotton candy sky never gets old.