Can I tell you guys how much I love our Facebook community? While in the throes of planning Thanksgiving dinner and getting ready to host my in-laws for a long weekend last month, I posted this question on the SMB Facebook Page:
Lucky for me, SMB reader Lauren replied right away with this:
Had I not had this resource, I would have wandered aimlessly around Google looking for “hikes with kids” … and then most likely would have wandered aimlessly again around the red rocks of Sedona with my family. Instead, we got a great tip and had a PERFECT day trip.
Here are the details, for anyone interested in doing a day trip to Sedona with little ones:
What: A non-hike in Sedona for families of various ages and hiking abilities. We had two grandparents, two parents, and two kids ages 3 and 18 months.
Why: We wanted to see the gorgeous scenery, take some pictures and let the kids play without having to commit to a hike or stick to a trail.
Where: Verde Valley School Road in the Village of Oak Creek (just outside Sedona, a few miles before you actually get to Sedona proper). Total drive time from our house in North Phoenix was under two hours.
How to get there: From Phoenix, take I-17 North toward Flagstaff (approx. 85 miles). Take exit 298 for State Hwy 179 N toward Sedona. Follow 179 about 7 miles until you enter the Village of Oak Creek. At the large roundabout, follow signs to Verde Valley School Road (3/4 of the way around the roundabout). Take Verde Valley School Road to the very, very, VERY end (approx. 6 miles). You’ll pass through residential areas and continue onto a red dirt road. Keep going. At the VERY end there is a parking lot and trailhead. You can park in the lot using your Red Rock Pass (download and print yours here). Once you park, walk about ¼ mile to the end of the road (do not take the trailhead – although it seems like a lovely hike, it won’t lead you to this magical spot). When you’ve reached the end of the road, you’ll see this:
What you’ll need: A Red Rock pass to park (purchase and download/print here). A change of clothes for every member of your family (if you’re like us, you’ll get wet and dirty – this is nature, people!). There is plenty of space to spread out and have a picnic, should you choose to bring food.
Why it’s perfect for families: You don’t have to stick to a trail. You don’t have to walk very far. There is space to run and play. There is a bathroom in the parking area. It offers the gorgeous views of Sedona without having to hike. Also, pants on preschoolers are optional:
To complete your trip: We were celebrating a very special father-in-law’s 60th birthday, so we splurged on a gorgeous brunch at l’Auberge in downtown Sedona. While the prices put this place in the “special occasion” category, the dining experience was totally kid-friendly. We sat creek-side and the kids got to play along the banks, feed the ducks, and play in the autumn leaves (YES! Fall colors in Sedona!).
Thanks again to Lauren and the other mamas who chimed in with Sedona tips on Facebook. It’s such a gift to be able to give and receive valuable local insight from other moms. If you’re not a part of our Facebook community, head on over to “Like” us and join the conversation!