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Best Time to Visit Sedona | When to Go & Travel Tips

Best Time to Visit Sedona | When to Go & Travel Tips

Sedona is one of the most beautiful desert destinations in the world. Rocky bluffs, colorful wildflowers, vibrant leaves, and city lights create a stunning vista any time of the year. And in terms of seasons concerning climate and tourism, Sedona is a bit of an oddball.

Sedona is known for outstanding landscapes and nature, a thriving art scene, and New Age practices, and these are available year-round, making anytime a great time to visit Sedona.

It depends on what you want to see and do while you’re there.

However, Sedona does have fluctuations in weather, crowds, and attractions that may move you to visit at a different time of year. Essentially, there’s never really a better or worse time to visit Sedona.

Why You Should Visit Sedona

Man standing on Devil's Bridge Trail during the best time to visit Sedona with the sun rising on his left

Nikolas_jkd/Shutterstock

Sedona isn’t just a famous US vacation spot. It’s known for its beauty and artistry all over the world. The rising red mountains create an unforgettable landscape filled with desert flora and fauna.

The landscape is so beautiful that the setting sun that paints the red buttes in golden fiery light is known as the evening entertainment. But its stellar looks aren’t the only thing Sedona has going for it.

Sedona is near several national and state parks with hiking and biking galore, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s also home to a hopping city and art scene that sends tourists home with souvenirs galore.

Sedona is also known for New Age medicine and younger generation trends like yoga, which is perfect for getting back into shape or your chakras in line. Ultimately, you come to Sedona for the landscape and stay for the community, as there is much to see and do within the city itself.

Overall Best Time to Visit Sedona

Rushing waters at Slide Rock State Park during the best time to visit Sedona

Silvio Ligutti/Shutterstock

Spring is generally acknowledged to be the best time to visit Sedona. The weather is warm and balmy without the stickiness of Arizona heat

The wildflowers are in bloom, improving the landscape and the natural beauty of the surrounding area, and there are plenty of festivals to enjoy. This season has one major flaw. It is the high tourism season for Sedona, which means crowds and high prices.

It’s the best time to experience the majesty of nature surrounding Sedona. You will enjoy it with about a hundred people on the trails and vistas.

And the crowds apply to the city, where tourists bustle about in galleries and stores, hanging out in plazas and parks. However, if you don’t mind crowds and are more concerned with the weather, March through May is a great time to visit.

Flowers typically bloom from late March to mid-April, and the weather starts getting hot near the end of March, so plan accordingly. Festivals include the Sedona YogaMountain Bike, and Food Truck Festivals.

However, spring is just the opinion of some people. Others say the absolute best time to visit Sedona is in the fall.

This is when there are most festivals, the leaves paint the landscape in vivid red, yellows, and purples, and the weather is still warm, but not as hot as summer. Fall still has excellent scenery, just in a different way, and it’s not different weather-wise from spring.

While spring may edge out fall in terms of crowds, it’s still high-season for Sedona, with festivals like the Plein Air FestivalArts Festival, and Winefest filling the calendar with events. This makes it just as popular. 

Since the weather is balmy, hikers and nature enthusiasts come out full force to enjoy the trails and parks surrounding Sedona. The falling leaves attract a whole new kind of tourist with leaf peepers who try to catch Sedona at peak color in late September to mid-October. 

November is less busy when the season starts winding down, but it is a great time to visit, especially with end-of-season deals until Thanksgiving, when the holidays come in full swing. 

The holidays are also a great time to visit, filled with light, laughter, and cheer, especially with a Santa village in Tlaquepaque Arts and Shopping Village.

You can shop for the perfect gift for everyone in your family and let the kids enjoy telling Santa what they want for Christmas. The best time to visit depends on what you want to see. Do you want to see the wildflowers or the leaves?

Enjoy a food truck festival or an art festival? Or perhaps you want the brilliant lights of Christmas and get something for everyone on your gift list. Whenever and whatever you want to visit, Sedona will not disappoint.

Cheapest Time to Visit Sedona

Courthouse Butte in Sedona Arizona during the worst time to go, the Winter

Alexey Stiop/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit Sedona is in the winter, when there are the fewest visitors. However, winter is covered more closely in the section below this one, and here, we cover summer, the most underrated season in Sedona.

If you’re looking for great prices, check out summer. Crowds tend to drop off in summer due to heat and thunderstorms, which means you can score great deals on airfare and hotels. Just pack plenty of water and sunscreen.

Summer is also when Phoenicians come up to enjoy lower temperatures. Yep, while Sedona gets up to the mid-nineties during the summer, it’s still twenty degrees lower than Phoenix.

So, plan your trip for the mid-week and get out there early before the day-trippers take the drive. June is dry and hot, but July is the beginning of monsoon season, and it gets about eighteen inches of rain.

Typically, the clouds build throughout the day until a mighty thunderstorm is unleashed in the mid to late afternoon. Then, it rains a short while before petering off into sunshine again.

Hike and explore the city in the morning, and get under cover before the thunderstorm starts. Avoid hiking trails near rivers and dry beds, as flash flooding is a genuine concern. Nevertheless, you can have just a good time hiking during the summer as in the spring.

The thunderstorms can be a draw as storm chasers explore the region, and the lightning offers a unique beauty to the surrounding landscape.

Ultimately, you’ll want to camp out on the porch to watch the wild thunderstorm rage over the rugged desert landscape, a truly humbling sight. The monsoon season ends in early September, and tourism picks up in the fall, meaning you’ll want to visit before that happens.

While prices dip during this period, winter often has the best deals available, albeit with low temperatures and snow. January and February are when prices are at rock-bottom, but it’s covered in more detail in the section below.

Least Busy Time to Visit Sedona

Downtown Sedona during the least busy time to visit with various old-time stores at the foot of the red rocks

Lynne Neuman/Shutterstock

Winter is the off-season for Sedona, but the off-season is just a way of saying there are no people and you can get better prices.

Temperatures tend to hang out in the high forties and low fifties during the day and drop to the thirties at night. You’ll want to avoid the holiday season if you’re avoiding the crowds, but the holidays are also a great time to visit Sedona and explore what they offer.

If you want the fewest people possible, stay in January or February (not Valentine’s Day) for the fewest crowds. Now, you might think people don’t visit Sedona during the winter because the beauty is disrupted, covered by snow.

Wrong. The hills get a light dusting of snow, about two or three inches, creating a dotted landscape of white and red. Winter is frequently called the best time to visit Sedona for beauty.

Winter is as beautiful as the other seasons, and you can also enjoy outdoor activities. The trails and outdoor areas are clear of snow. Most tours and attractions remain open during the winter, so you don’t have to worry about the point of interest you want being closed. 

When exploring Sedona during the winter, just keep sundown and the temperature in mind. Dress for the weather, and get indoors and curl up in front of a fireplace at night. Winter is also the perfect time to visit spas, and you can enjoy pampering yourself.

Winter has festivals and events like other seasons, including the highly anticipated Sedona International Film Festival. It’s the biggest festival on the calendar and kicks off the tourist season at the end of February or March.

You can also run in the Sedona Marathon or visit in January for Sedona Winterfest. So, even though winter has fewer visitors, there are still activities and experiences to enjoy, and you can enjoy them by yourself, without crowds of competing tourists.

Worst Time to Visit Sedona

Woman standing in a Winter Coat with clouds over the hills during the cheapest time to visit Sedona

Harry Beugelink/Shutterstock

There’s no wrong time to visit Sedona. There are just seasons with different stuff to see and do. Winter has fewer people, good deals, and snow, spring has excellent weather and wildflowers, summer has better deals and hot weather, and fall has beautiful leaves and festivals.

Sedona has fantastic festivals year-round, and they’re always welcoming to visitors. Each season presents a gorgeous collage of desert nature, from the striking snow, vibrant wildflowers, majestic thunderstorms, and stunning leaves.

Nevertheless, there are downsides to each season as well. Spring is the high season of tourism in Sedona, with groups flocking in from all over the world as the downside to the gorgeous weather and wildflowers.

Summer has heat, and day-trippers from Phoenix flock in on weekends. The thunderstorms can also be considered a minus as you have to factor the inclement weather into your plans.

In fall, the crowds return for the balmy weather and falling leaves, and the festivals make it hard to find a time to visit them. The leaves also last a short while before the landscape is bare for winter again.

Winter has falling temperatures and chilly weather. Crowds flock around the holidays but leave shortly after. If you’re planning any outdoor activities, you must bring warm clothes.

Since the days are shorter, you can’t spend as long outside. Ultimately, every season has its advantages and disadvantages. But no matter what time you choose to go, Sedona is always beautiful.

Things to Consider

Welcome sign on the outskirts of town that says Sedona Founded 1902

Jim Vallee/Shutterstock

What you pack for Sedona depends on when you’re going. You’ll want an umbrella in the summer and warm clothes in the winter. If you’re allergic to pollen, bring allergy medicine and plenty of water if you’re spending time outdoors.

  • Bring a jacket. Sedona’s temperature drops after the sun go down no matter what season it is, so be prepared.
  • If you’re going in the summer, pack an umbrella, water, and sunscreen. Avoid trails where flash flooding is a concern. Go inside a building around mid to late afternoon.
  • Bring plenty of money. Sedona is a tourist town with plenty of souvenirs to buy. Art in the galleries is expensive, as are the shops around town.
  • Dress in layers during the winter, as the daytime temperature can fluctuate throughout the day. Plan to be indoors to avoid the cold after the sun goes down.
  • Get started early in the day to avoid crowds, and eat around mealtimes to get the best seating.
  • Avoid weekends in general. Phoenicians like to visit on weekends, which makes the city more crowded.

Frequently Asked Questions

Holy Cross Chapel built into the red cliffside with a gorgeous red sky above

Edwin Verin/Shutterstock

Sedona is beautiful no matter when you choose to visit, but there are some things you should keep in mind.

What is the high tourist season in Sedona?

The high tourist season is usually summer for most places, but in Sedona, it’s spring and fall. Summer gets more local visitors from Arizona, like Phoenicians trying to escape the heat.

How many days do you need in Sedona?

At least three days to see the bare minimum. If you’re planning to attend an event or festival, or explore certain attractions, plan at least five days. You could quickly fill a week with things to do, and don’t forget to plan for rest days.

What is the best month to visit Arizona?

The best month to visit Arizona is April weather-wise and October for festivals. Each season has its distinct character, but these two months are the most recommended.

What is the coldest month of the year in Sedona?

December is usually around thirty-six for the lows and fifty-five for the highs. However, all the winter months have similar temperatures, and it usually gets around the mid-fifties during the day.

What is monsoon season in Sedona?

July through early September is monsoon season in Sedona. Typically, the heat causes clouds to build throughout the day and thunderstorms in the mid to late afternoon. July gets the most precipitation, but if you’re planning to visit during the monsoon season, pack an umbrella and rain jacket.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Sedona?

With the fresh smell of wildflowers in the spring, the crackle of a thunderstorm in the summer, the falling leaves of autumn, and the striking snow of winter, Sedona is visually stunning any time of the year.

And since the tours and trails are always open, you can choose the landscape you want to see. And the town always has something going on.

The International Film Festival, a yummy Food Truck Festival, Plein Air Festival, and Fourth of July celebrations attract visitors worldwide and create lasting memories in the attendees.

So, there’s never a wrong time to visit Sedona, whether you save some money by staying in the winter, brave the harsh heat and thunder of summer, or frolic in the fresh blooms of spring.

So, plan ahead, pack for the season you choose, and bring your camera to capture the unforgettable landscape of Sedona. Happy travels!