Best places to photograph Sedona
When you are visiting Sedona, it doesn’t take too much to see a spectacular view while you are driving around, taking a hike or just exploring around the stunning landscape. It’s easy to get inspired immediately with the surroundings wherever you are around the city or outdoors. But if you are looking for some of the most inspiring views to capture, take a look at some of these locations that will get you the best opportunities to photograph around Sedona.
Where to take the best photographs around Sedona
Airport overlook area
It’s interesting that the bluff where the airport is located in really in the central part of Sedona and commands impressive views to many of the stunning mountains, bluffs and outcrops around Sedona. It’s easy enough to follow the signs to the airport and go directly to the parking lot with the vista point. Further downhill is a smaller parking lot with a short hike for you to capture some extra spots of landscapes surrounding the city.
Red Rock ranger station and visitors center
One of the most scenic drives entering the Sedona area and scenic landscapes is taking Highway 179 from the Highway 17 junction all the way to downtown Sedona. Make sure that you stop and visit the Red Rock ranger station (One mile south of Oak Creek Village) for the magnificent views of the Sedona landmarks from the outdoor patio overlook. This first impression of Sedona gives you a wonderful view of the valley and many of the popular monuments/mountain ranges.
Tip – visit the information desk and ask for tips on other popular hiking trails, places to eat and personal photo opportunities in the area
Bell Rock – Parking lot and trails
Past the village of Oak Creek on Highway 179 is a parking lot to the Bell Rock pathway and vista point. There are a few scenic trails that you can take around this area with stunning views of Bell Rock, the Courthouse Butte and other outcrops in this area.
Tip – go to the hiking trail signs to check out the popular hikes in the area or you can just drive down to the end of the parking lot to get some magnificent views of Bell Rock and the surrounding buttes and mountains in the immediate area.
Cathedral Rock at OakCreek river – Back O’Beyond Road
The end of Back O’Beyond road is the parking lot with trails heading out around Cathedral rock and the river areas surrounding Oak Creek. For better images with Oak Creek in the foreground, you need to go across the other side from Red Rock State park or a private entrance down Chavez Ranch road. The views looking up to Cathedral rock are spectacular from this vantage point.
If you hike back to the creek from the parking lot, once you cross the fenced area, head left to get to the flat boulder areas which offer a different perspective to photograph the Cathedral rocks. Then you can walk along the river bank towards the rocks and loop back to the parking lot for some nice meadow views and a different vantage point of the Cathedral Rocks.
The Chapel of the Holy Cross
If your looking for spiritual fulfillment along with spectacular views then visiting the Chapel of the Holy Cross fulfills both objectives. Set directly into the solid red Sedona rocks, the chapel location commands magnificent views of the surrounding area and nearby Mystic Hills. The Chapel surroundings is also one of the famous 4 vortex in Sedona that is full of energy fields, so maybe you will feel and see somethings special at the same time that you visit.
Tip – parking is difficult mid day and in the upper parking areas so find something on the bottom and walk up to the chapel or visit early or later in the evening before closing time.
Looking out to the Mystic Hills
The trail up to Cathedral rock and vortex viewpoint
Taking the trail hikes to the overlook at Cathedral rock gives you a scenic viewpoint down to the Sedona valley and other surrounding rocks in the nearby area. This is an all uphill trek and a little challenging at some points, but the views from the top are quite spectacular.
Tip – try to get to the top later in the afternoon when you can get the beautiful golden light and sunset views of the valley.
Hiking up to the scenic overlook at Cathedral Rock
Scenic outlook from Cathedral Rock
Drive around Red Rock loop road and Red Rock State Park
South of Sedona city limits is the Red Rock loop road that you can approach from the lower to upper loop or the other way around. There are several shoulder turnouts and stops that you can make for impressive views to Cathedral rock and surrounding mountains and rocks. Also you can drive into Red Rock State Park to capture views with Oak Creek fronting Cathedral rock which is an iconic image to capture of Sedona’s impressive monument.
Scenic overlook from the Red Rock lower loop drive
Uptown Sedona – shops at Hyatt Pinon
At the Hyatt Pinon, go to the outdoor patio seating areas with gorgeous views of the popular Snoopy Rock and Merry Go Round Rock along with the mountain wilderness in the background. This elevated patio area gives unobstructed views of the upper town along with these wonderful landscapes that you can photograph easily and with plenty of parking available.
Tip – if you are hungry there’s a few really nice cafes and restaurants in this luxury Hyatt property.
Perfect views to Snoopy Rock
Panoramic views from the Hyatt Pinon, Uptown Sedona
You can visit most of these sites in a long day around Sedona, but I would recommend taking your time to get to these spots and find the just the right spots to capture. It’s also nice to be able to take a moment to also enjoy the wonderful views and being present at all these places. Thanks for visiting and I hope that this inspires to visit many of these wonderful scenic spots in Sedona.
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