Exploring Sedona and the Grand Canyon

Five Days in Sedona Equals Five Great Adventures

Don’t make the mistake of taking a trip to Sedona for a night or two, three to five days is the time needed to see Sedona, the Grand Canyon and beyond. Red Rock Country has numerous things to do for pet owners that can be enjoyed any time of year. This five-day itinerary of adventures is provided to help you on your Sedona travels, and are just a sampling of the many things to do.

Day One: Arrive at El Portal Sedona Hotel

El Portal Sedona Hotel - Beautiful Courtyard

El Portal Sedona Hotel is located in the heart of the Historic Arts District. Here at El Portal, we don’t just hand you a key, we welcome you to our home, where you are no longer strangers. El Portal is a unique lodging experience; it is not a large resort, nor a bed and breakfast.

El Portal is a great place to bring your pets. We were one of the first pet friendly hotels in Sedona, and we truly welcome you and your pet. The inn is a short stroll away from Oak Creek Canyon where pet owners can spend quality time with their furry friends along the cool water.

Day Two: Tour the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is considered to be one of the most impressive natural “wonders” of the world. With nearly two billion years of history written into layer after layer of rock, the Grand Canyon is as breathtaking as it is popular. Scenic overlooks are accessible both on foot and by car. Although there are multiple entrances, the North Rim holds a Grand Canyon bridle trail for dogs to walk along that is 2.7 miles each way. Leashed dogs are allowed on any paved rim trail, providing ample opportunities for pets and their owners to explore the Grand Canyon with ease.

Enhance your Grand Canyon journey with a private tour by Sedona Philosophy. You will travel in comfort in a quiet, climate-controlled electric vehicle, and be led by expert guides to the best views and hidden spots away from the crowds. This completely unique and exclusive experience will lead to insight, serene exploration, and is perfect for a memorable journey.

Day Three: Visit Indian Ruins and Jerome

Travel along the 89A to explore Jerome, a thriving tourist and artist community. It is often promoted as a historic ghost town after disastrous fires destroyed large sections of the town, and dozens of buildings, including the post office and jail, were lost as the earth beneath them sank away. Visit Montezuma Castle with its beautiful and ancient architecture, and surrounding trails for you and your pets to explore. End the day with a visit to the Montezuma Well, home to species of animals and Indian ruins found nowhere else on the planet.

Day Four: Take in the High Country

Things to do - Meteor Crater - El Portal Sedona Hotel

Take a peek into the history of Arizona on your Sedona travels by visiting the best-preserved meteorite crater on Earth. The astonishing result of a collision between a piece of asteroid traveling 26,000 miles per hour and planet Earth more than 50,000 years ago. You can also take a moment to explore the Petrified Forest which features one of the world’s largest and most colorful concentrations of petrified wood. The park is also home to the Agate House, a Native American building of petrified wood reconstructed during the 1930s.

 Day Five: Hiking the Sedona Area

Hiking Sedona - Sedona Travel - El Portal Sedona Hotel

Photo credit @VisitSedona

Sedona is home to wonderful hiking trails. From the Devil’s Bridge, which is considered the largest natural arch in Sedona at 54 feet high, to the Wilson Mountain Trail, which is the highest of the red and white sandstone peaks in the Sedona area; at 7,122 feet breathtaking views are more than abundant. Trails can be as short as a pleasant 1.6 miles or as long and strenuous as 10+ miles.

At El Portal, we will help you plan what things to do on your Sedona travels,
and book any day adventures!

Your Trip to Sedona

Before you book your trip to Sedona, there are some things you need to know about this incredible city. Our guests tell us that when they leave there was so much more to see than they thought, and wished they had booked for a night or two more! So when you come to Sedona, plan to stay at least three or more nights, you’ll be happy you did! Please ask us for the Sedona Visitors Guide it is filled with wonderful information!

Sedona Tourism - El Portal Sedona Hotel

Sedona – the most beautiful place in America is the perfect place as a base for your adventures of the southwest. Fly into either Phoenix or Las Vegas, or start in one and leave from the other; both will work for a trip to Sedona.

These are our top 10 places to see on your trip – Sedona tourism – the best!

1. Grand Canyon National Park. The Grand Canyon is a day trip from Sedona. If you leave around 8:00 or 9:00 am you can see all the spectacular views, doing some shopping for mementos and still be back in Sedona by 6:00 pm. A day trip to the Grand Canyon is an absolute must but the crowds can be intense; so stay in Sedona and take a day to do the Canyon. Sedona offers fine dining, incredible hiking, a variety of lodging choices and more. Highly recommended for Sedona tourism.

2. The Town of Jerome. Jerome is an old mining town nestled in the hills just half an hour south of Sedona. It is known as the most “vertical” city in the U.S. and the largest ghost town! It has unique shopping, beautiful views, a variety of dining options, including The Asylum Restaurant – located in the town’s old asylum! Jerome has beautiful views, interesting and diverse shopping, fun activities and events. Check out the museums and historical society as well. This makes a perfect day trip from Sedona.

3. Cottonwood and Clarkdale. These towns are literally minutes from Sedona, with fun, old fashioned main streets to roam, delicious diners and restaurants, wineries and more. Clarkdale is home to Tuzigoot National Monument that preserves the remnants of the Sinagua.

4. The biking paths and hiking trails in Sedona are what it is all about with over 30 trails in the area; from easy to extreme, along water, with elevation changes, canyon and mountain trails for both hiking and biking. Hiking in Sedona is the same terrain as the Grand Canyon but is more horizontal rather than vertical, and there is a trail for everyone from a challenging elevated hike to a nice walk. At El Portal we can make bike rental arrangements for you, and assist with mountain biking regulations. Highly recommended for Sedona tourism.

5. Indian Ruins. (Palatki Ruins and Honaki Indian Ruins). These valuable ruins give us insight to ancient peoples of the area. See petroglyphs, pictographs and more.

6. Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, these are two areas of Northern Arizona not to be missed. The Painted Desert is barren, but filled with color. The Petrified Forest is a National Park, and features one of the world’s largest and most colorful concentrations of petrified wood. The park is also home to the Agate House, a Native American building of petrified wood reconstructed during the 1930s.

7. Second Hopi Mesa. The Villages are among the longest continuously inhabited places in North America. Visit Hopi Villages, meet artists in their home workshops, enjoy unique Hopi food, and meet some of the friendliest people in the world – the Hopi people.

Sedona Tourism - Indian Ruins - El Portal Sedona Hotel

8. Montezuma Well & Montezuma Castle. It’s not a castle and Montezuma was never here! This five-level, 20 room cliff dwelling “Montezuma Castle” nestled into a limestone recess high above Beaver Creek served as a “high-rise apartment building” for ancient Sinagua Indians over 600 years ago.

9. State Parks. There are a number of state parks in the area. Fort Verde State Historic Park, Dead Horse Ranch, Homolovi Jerome, Riordan Mansion, and Verde River Greenway are state parks in Northern Arizona. West Fork Park has beautiful hiking, and is only a short drive from El Portal. Oak Creek Canyon offers hiking and strolling; it’s an incredible drive to just view the scenery. Highly recommended for Sedona tourism.

10. El Portal Sedona Hotel. Stay at this beautiful, boutique hotel located in the heart of Sedona. This is where your trip to Sedona begins and ends. These Sedona AZ accommodations have received AAA’s Four Diamond Award Rating. We offer our guests personalized concierge services for the Sedona area. We assist guests in planning day trips, jeep tours, hikes, make tee times, and dinner reservations. We will arrange helicopter rides, hot air balloon excursions, day trips on the Colorado River and more. If you need a spa treatment or tee time we will look after it. We want you to get the most out of your trip to Sedona, and will help our guests in any way we can. As a pet friendly hotel, there is no charge for pets (up to room limit). Our guests can enjoy access to a full gym and two swimming pools right next door at Los Abrigados – perfect for families! We can give you the Sedona Visitors Guide as well.

Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village - Sedona Tourism - El Portal Sedona Hotel
Less than 0.5 miles
• Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village – 300 yards
• 35 Art Galleries
0.50 – 1.0 mi
• Uptown Sedona – 1000 yards
• Sedona Art Center – 1400 yards
• Oak Creek
1.0 – 3.0 mi
• Radisson Poco Diablo Resort – 1.4 miles
• Sedona Airport (SDX) – 1.6 miles
• Chapel of the Holy Cross – 2.1 miles
• Coffee Pot – 2.2 miles

Biking - Sedona Tourism - El Portal Sedona Hotel
3.0+ m
• Cathedral Rock – 3.4 miles
• Devil’s Bridge – 3.5 miles
• Bell Rock – 4.3 miles
• West Sedona – 4.3 miles
• Flagstaff Pulliam Field (FLG) – 20 miles
• Prescott Municipal Airport (PRC) – 40 miles
• Polacca Airport (PXL) – 40 miles
• Payson Airport (PJB) – 48 miles

Grand Canyon Tours and In-House Private Tours

El Portal Sedona Hotel is one of the best hotels in Sedona to stay at to go on a Grand Canyon tour. We are less than two hours from this natural wonder. By staying with us you avoid the tourist congestion, as well as having to book far in advance for on-site Grand Canyon lodging.

Enhance your Grand Canyon journey with a private tour by Sedona Philosophy. You will travel in comfort in a quiet, climate-controlled electric vehicle, and be led by expert guides to the best views and hidden spots away from the crowds. This completely unique and exclusive experience will lead to insight, serene exploration, and is perfect for a memorable journey. On this tour you can leave El Portal in the morning and be back at the hotel by 6:00 p.m. the very same day and relax in the El Portal courtyard with a cool beverage.

El Portal Sedona Hotel can book a variety of Grand Canyon tours for you; from guided tours to rafting the Colorado River. Seeing the Grand Canyon is a must on your Sedona vacation. For additional information on Sunset Crater, and other National Monuments please visit the Parks Service.

The fastest route is indicated in the map, but take the back way scenic drive to Grand Canyon National Park, via Cameron, and make your drive and park entry so much more enjoyable and rewarding.

El Portal Sedona Hotel is proud to partner with premier tour companies offering unique tours.

Sedona Philosophy Tours
Discover the wonder of Northern Arizona with Sedona Philosophy, offering a range of private tours that cater to every interest and ability level. Whether you’re seeking a serene drive through majestic landscapes or an enlightening sunset hike under the stars, each tour provides a unique perspective on Sedona’s natural beauty and the deeper meanings of life.

  • Grand Canyon Driving Tours: Experience the grandeur of the Grand Canyon from the comfort of a luxury vehicle. Enjoy a quiet hike along the rim to absorb the expansive vistas at your pace. These tours are customizable, including a sunset option.
  • Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon driving tours. See the most iconic sights of Sedona from the comfort of a quiet, climate-controlled electric vehicle. Includes up to 3 short hikes, customizable depending on your interests and abilities.
  • Sunset and Stargazing Hikes: As the sun dips below the horizon, explore Sedona’s terrain under a blanket of stars. These hikes offer a magical experience, combining natural beauty with cosmic wonder.
  • Easy Walks: Enjoy a gentle stroll through stunning sites, including the lush Oak Creek. This relaxed pace tour is perfect for all fitness levels and allows you to soak in the natural beauty around you.
  • Meditation Hikes: Engage in deep meditation sessions surrounded by Sedona’s calming landscapes. Ideal for those looking to find inner peace and to reconnect with nature.
  • Rigorous Hikes: For the more adventurous, these challenging trails provide not only physical exercise but also exceptional views of the landscape.
  • ADA Accessible Tours: Ensuring everyone can enjoy the beauty of Sedona, these tours are designed to be accessible for all, regardless of mobility.

No matter how you choose to explore, Sedona Philosophy tours promise to leave you with a new appreciation for landscapes and life’s deeper questions.

First Class Charter & Tours is a private and small group tour company who specializes in scenic tours via a luxury SUV and/or by helicopter to the following destinations including Grand Canyon and Verde Valley wine tours.

Grand Canyon Tours by First Class Charter & Tours

Take an exclusive, tailor-made 8-10 hour excursion to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world! You will be picked up at El Portal Sedona, driven through Sedona’s unique landscapes, up the winding beauty of Oak Creek Canyon and through the ponderosa pines of Flagstaff. Arriving at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, your expert guide will share the history and geology of the area while you stroll along enjoying the spectacular views. Lunch is provided at the elegant and historic El Tovar Lodge. Your return journey provides a view of the Little Colorado River Gorge and the stunning Painted Desert. Make your day even more special by adding to this tour hiking, a Helicopter scenic tour, or a Helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon.

Other Tours by First Class Charter and Tours

Sedona Scenic Tour – Full or Half DayThe Sedona Scenic Tour is tailor-made according to your desires. Visit the landmarks and any other points of interest in Sedona, the Village of Oak Creek and Oak Creek Canyon Sedona is home of the enchanting red rocks. This tour is a memorable introduction to the Sedona area.

Visit the landmarks including the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Airport Mesa Overlook, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, and one of the most Beautiful drives in Arizona ~ Oak Creek Canyon.

Verde Valley Wineries Tour (3-4 hours)Home to quite a few wineries, vineyards and tasting rooms, the Verde Valley boasts many award-winning wines. With more than 100 varietals to choose from and savor, you will also be able to purchase light gourmet fare. Each winery tour is customized to your preferences. Includes 1 tasting per person.

Ancient Voices Tour (3-4 hours)Explore the ancient ruins of Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments while riding in style with an expert guide. You will learn about the legends and history of the Sinagua people from 1100-1425 AD. Make your tour extra special by adding on an incredible aerial experience in a helicopter!

Grand Canyon Tours by Great Venture Tours

Great Venture Tours and El Portal help guests get the most out of their trip to the Grand Canyon. At El Portal we can make all the arrangements for you, all you need to do is choose the tour you would like to take!

Grand Canyon Deluxe – with complimentary pick up, this is the ultimate when it comes to a full-day luxury coach tour from Sedona. Not only does this tour offer incredible views of the Grand Canyon, but you will make stops along the way to enjoy Native Arts and Crafts, have a delicious lunch, climb up to the top of the Watchtower Observatory and so much more! Grand Canyon Complete – you have the opportunity to view Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments, have a delicious lunch, learn about the history and peoples of the area, do some hiking and some shopping and much, much more.

Colorado River Rafting Tours – from serene to extreme!  Relax on a smooth water, scenic float rafting tour on the Colorado River through Glen Canyon.

For more adventure try a rowing tour through Glen Canyon on the Colorado River, or experience the thrill of whitewater rafting on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

More Grand Canyon Tours from Great Venture Tours

Grand Canyon Sunset Tour – See the Grand Canyon at its most majestic point on a Grand Canyon Sunset Tour. Enjoy a beautiful gourmet dinner at the Bright Angel Lodge. This is one of the best places to see the amazing array of colors, shadows and lighting during a Grand Canyon Sunset. Enjoy a beautiful sunset stroll to end your experience! Don’t just see the Grand Canyon – Experience it!

Monument Valley – Grand Canyon Tour

Join us for an extraordinary journey to the enchanted lands of the Navajo. You will travel through the beautiful red stone monoliths that are truly an icon of the Southwest. See and experience one of the most photographed landscapes in America. Along the journey learn about the Navajo – their stories, culture and history

When you are finished with your day trips, return to the best hotel in Sedona, El Portal, and enjoy our private, relaxing courtyard with a glass of wine and light snacks.

Sedona-Grand Canyon Loop Tour

A road trip to the Grand Canyon is a must on your Sedona vacation. It is definitely on El Portal’s “What to See in Sedona” list, as it less than two hours from Sedona! At El Portal, we will help you get the most out of your visit to Grand Canyon National Park.

If you leave El Portal Sedona Hotel by 9:00 a.m. you can be back by 6:00 p.m. On your road trip to the Grand Canyon you will see Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Cameron Trading Post, and Grand Canyon National Park.  You make a “loop” by entering the Park at the East entrance, and exiting on Highway 180, home to El Portal Sedona Hotel.

View El Portal Grand Canyon Tour Map in a larger map

Road Trip to the Grand Canyon – Trip Highlights

  • Sunset Crater National Monument
  • Wupatki National Monument
  • Cameron Trading Post
  • Entrance to Grand Canyon National Park
  • Desert View Drive, Hermit Road, Rim Trail
  • Yavapai Observation Station
  • Return to El Portal Sedona Hotel

Sedona Vacation – Include a Road Trip to the Grand Canyon

Before you enter the park you visit Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is a cinder cone that is part of the San Francisco Volcanic Field.  It is maintained by the National Park Service in close conjunction with nearby Wupatki National Monument.  Sunset Crater was declared a National Monument by President Herbert Hoover in 1930.

Then you’re off to Cameron Trading Post. One thing you’ve probably discovered about the Grand Canyon is that there’s no quick way to get across it – you’ve got to go around it!  That very fact, no doubt, troubled would-be settlers, travelers, and entrepreneurs back in the early 1900’s.  Their road trip was a bone-jarring stagecoach journey that took days instead of hours.  Folks soon discovered there were more riches to be found in tourism than in mining, so in 1911, a modest suspension bridge was constructed across the Little Colorado River Gorge at a lonely outpost on the Navajo Indian Reservation called Cameron. The Cameron Trading Post opened and soon established itself as integral commerce center for the Native American people who lived nearby.

Today, the Cameron Trading Post is enjoyed by visitors from all around the world as a gateway to the Grand Canyon.  A visit to Cameron is more than just a routine stop on your tour; it is a cultural experience, an opportunity to learn about Navajo culture first-hand. The Cameron Trading Post sells hand-crafted jewelry of silver and turquoise, colorful rugs painstakingly crafted on looms handed down through generations, as well as pottery, baskets and paintings from many tribes throughout the Southwest.  In the gallery you’ll find one of Northern Arizona’s most exquisite collections of Native made crafts.  In addition to the retail store there is a convenience store, gas station and a restaurant that has earned a cult-like following among people from all over the area, who gladly drive hundreds of miles to enjoy the house specialty, the Navajo Taco.

Located in extreme northern Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long and in some places is over 6,000 feet deep! Visitors see amazing rock formations, early petroglyphs, ancient ruins, learn the geological history of the area and more.

There are many scenic overlooks, accessible by car, that provide spectacular views of the Grand Canyon. Desert View Drive (Highway 64) follows the Canyon rim for 26 miles east of Grand Canyon Village to Desert View, which is the east entrance to the park. Desert View Drive is open to private vehicles throughout the year. Hermit Road follows the rim for 7 miles west of Grand Canyon Village to Hermits Rest. Hermit Road is closed to private vehicles from March through November. The park runs a free shuttle bus to many of the canyon overlooks for visitors’ convenience.

The Rim Trail is an easy hike that follows the rim from Pipe Creek Vista to Hermits Rest. The section between Pipe Creek Vista and Maricopa Point is paved, and mostly wheelchair accessible. Unpaved portions of the trail, between Maricopa Point and Hermits Rest, are narrow and close to the edge. Bicycles are not permitted on the Rim Trail.

The Yavapai Observation Station at Yavapai Point offers panoramic views of the canyon; including the Colorado River and Phantom Ranch. You can see the view from the Grand Canyon web cam.

The best light for viewing and photographing the Grand Canyon is early or late in the day. Mid-day sun tends to flatten the view and soften the colors. If you plan to see the Grand Canyon at sunrise or sunset, it is recommended that you be at the rim at least an hour before.

At the end of the day, you take Highway 180 South back to El Portal, Sedona’s luxury boutique hotel. This is less than a two hour, beautiful scenic drive. Call 1-800-313-0017 for additional details.