This fall, USA Today published an article naming Sedona number one among “The 10 Most Beautiful Places in America”. Every year, over four million tourists visit the beautiful red rocks of Sedona, Arizona.
The first tourists arrived in 1895 to hunt and fish in the area. Mayhew’s Lodge, now Garland’s Oak Creek Lodge, was the first guest house open to the public, and such notable figures as Zane Grey, Clark Gable, President Hoover and Walt Disney were among the initial visitors.
In the 1930s, local residents began building cabins in the area to rent to tourists. Once World War II ended, the tourism industry in Sedona experienced a boom and further construction began to fill the need for overnight accommodations. In the late 50s and early 60s, road improvements brought more guests. The 1970s saw a boom in the sale of property by farmers and ranchers, which was purchased primarily by resorts and satellite businesses which supported the tourism industry. Another period of growth came from the mid 70s to the mid 80s, which more than doubled the tourist related business in the Sedona area.
Visitors to Sedona today will still see changes taking place in the ever evolving Uptown Sedona. Known as the hub of the tourist industry, Uptown offers everything from area tours to fine art. The sidewalks are lined with beautiful bronze sculptures by local artists, against a backdrop of red rock spires.
The most popular activity visitors partake in is jeep tours. They allow tourists to get out in the back country and see the majestic rock formations up close, bouncing over boulders and brushing manzanita trees along the trail. In addition to these types of tours, Sedona offers air tours by plane or helicopter, historic train trips, hot air balloon rides, ground tours by Hummer or coach, horseback rides, ATV, dune buggy or jeep rental. If you can’t find a way to see Sedona that meets your needs, you aren’t looking.
The Harmonic Convergence in the 1980s brought spiritualists to Sedona, and their presence is seen throughout the town in the form of New Age and crystal shops, psychics, Tarot and palm readers. Many of the shops also conduct Sedona tours on everything from meditation in the red rocks to alien expeditions.
Sedona has something to offer everyone, whether they come to simply experience the grandeur of her red rock monuments or have a spiritual experience.