Finding Yourself in Sedona...or Anywhere
Sedona, AZ is known for its massive red rock formations and is considered a sacred land of peace and power. Many people travel here to find answers to help them on their path of life. It is recognized as an energy earth vortex, which some believe can offer healing powers and awaken creative energies.
I myself traveled here for a wedding, but I was most definitely open to the idea of “powerful” energy and losing myself in nature. I spent 10 days in this sacred land and thought I would try to “find myself” and do all the woo-woo hippy-dippy things like seeing a psychic, meditation, an aura chakra reading and beyond, and ya know what? I did find myself, but not in a “I know my life plan” and “I know exactly what I want” kind of way. I did not find myself by seeing a psychic, yoga, chakra readings or meditation. I do not think that is what finding oneself is about. I believe it is about finding yourself in a place or a moment that is so beautiful you forget any life stress or concerns – even for a moment – and you are utterly present. It’s when you cross paths with a stranger and have a pleasant conversation providing a smile or light in each other’s day, AKA someone gives you a heart-shaped rock from the sacred land and tells you it symbolizes “unconditional love.” It’s when you take risks and push yourself a bit further than your comfort zone, AKA hiking farther in the heat on a mission to find a swimming hole and getting slightly lost.
Most importantly, it’s when you take time for yourself and only for yourself, in any way that this may look. For me, it’s everything. It’s a massage. It’s cooking myself a salmon dinner with a white wine in a cozy Airbnb losing myself to music. It’s a nap. It’s an incredible act of awareness in myself and everything I’m seeing as I look at Sedona stars in the sky and nearly break down in tears from the beauty of it all. It’s a smile from a stranger. Petting a dog. It’s a shower after a long day of hiking. It’s a piece of dark chocolate made from tree bark and somehow it tastes like heaven on earth.
The point is, it’s not the BIG things that matter when learning about yourself. It’s the little things, which ARE the big things. Ideally this can be done anywhere, but Sedona is a great place to re-awaken this awareness and do things for yourself in a world where that can often get misplaced.
ALL THE FEELS IN HIKING IN SEDONA
If there’s one thing Sedona does best, it’s the incredible amount of accessible hiking with views of the spectacular rock formations. It is impossible not to be moved by the epic beauty. There are hikes of all levels surrounding the area and I was able to walk to four from my Airbnb alone. I have listed some recommendations below, but there are countless others.
Trail Markers: In Sedona, there are often trail markers made from a pile of stacked red rocks wrapped in wire. If you see these you are in good shape.
Little Horse - 3.6 miles out and back - Was one of my favorites for overall views and ease. Trail is not overly clear but manageable.
Boynton Canyon Trail - 6.4 miles out and back- Apparently, you can access some hidden Native American ruins near the “colored crosses,” but sadly I did not find them.
Midgley Bridge - Accidentally stumbled upon this ridiculously beautiful view while driving. Stop by for the views alone. Otherwise, you can hike 1.5 miles to a swimming hole and lay on smooth rocks taking in some vitamin D. I have heard it can get rowdy with a college vibe during the weekends, but there were only a handful of people when I went.
Buddhist Amitabh Stupa and Peace Park - This is not a hike, but a 10-minute walk to a 36-foot tall Amitabh Stupa/Buddhist shrine. I was completely alone during my visit, which aided in the peaceful experience, surrounded by only birds and soft wind chimes.
Chimney Rock/Thunder Mountain - This trail head was my morning go-to as it was walking distance to my Airbnb. A gorgeous hike and about 3.7-4 miles in length depending on which trail you take.
Airport Sedona Lookout is a good choice but can get busy. $3 to park and see the sunset from this location. I prefer to wander and get lost on my own.
NOM NOM IN SEDONA
There is a variety of food options in Sedona, and the best part is that most are locally sourced, organic, and healthy, meaning lots of options for food sensitive peeps. Tourism and hospitality is Sedona’s top industry, so it’s not a surprise that I had an enjoyable experience with food and service everywhere I went.
Mariposa - A Latin-inspired kitchen and crazy expensive, but crazy worth it. I cannot recommend this place enough, even if just for a drink and an appetizer. The views are some of the best in Sedona, the cocktails and wine are spot on, and the food is perfection. I loved this place SO much I decided to leave my credit card there so I had an excuse to go back...
Salt Rock Cafe - Good for lunch with outside seating and naturally gorgeous views.
Chocolate Tree - As a joke I asked a clerk while shopping if they had an organic, sugar-free grass-fed chocolate...and she recommended this place. Mind you, I was kidding and she was serious. Love this place. Hippy-dippy and healthy vegan restaurant with a glass case of the most amazing vegan chocolate when you walk in – and I’m not even vegan. Solid WiFi as well to get work done.
The Hudson - Well made cocktails and Sedona views.
Cafe Paleo Brio - Paleo-inspired cuisine offering meal plans and catering. Great for those watching macros. The design of the place reminded me of a cheesy “Rainforest Cafe” from back in the day but the healthy fare is worth it.