12 Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Sedona, Arizona (Must-Visit Spots)

Sedona, Arizona, is renowned for its stunning red rock formations and picturesque landscapes, offering breathtaking sunset views at any time of year. 

The unique landscape of this quintessential Southwest town (and its surrounding areas) combines with the vibrant colors of the sky to create a truly unforgettable experience at the end of every day.

When visiting Sedona, Arizona, the 12 best places to see the sunset are: 

  1. Airport Mesa/Vortex
  2. Red Rock Crossing
  3. Cathedral Rock
  4. Bell Rock
  5. Devil’s Bridge
  6. Boynton Canyon
  7. Oak Creek Canyon
  8. Doe Mountain
  9. Bear Mountain
  10. Schnebly Hill Vista
  11. Arabella Hotel Sunset Vista
  12. Vultee Arch.

Keep reading to learn more about the best locations to watch the sunset in Sedona, Arizona, including where they are, how to get there, and what you can expect when you visit each spot.

12 Best Places to See the Sunset in Sedona, Arizona

View of Cathedral Rock at Sedona Vortex.

1. Airport Mesa/Vortex

Situated approximately 2 miles (about 3.2 kilometers) southwest of Sedona, Airport Mesa is a popular destination for watching the sunset.

The Airport Mesa Viewpoint is an easily accessible drive with ample paid parking. To get there, head to the Sedona Airport Scenic Lookout.

Just note because this is the most convenient place to watch the sunset in Sedona, it attracts large crowds throughout the year. 

It’s usually recommended to arrive early or visit during weekdays to avoid the crowds.

Those looking for a more peaceful spot to watch the sunset can hike up to the Aiport Vortex Summit. 

The location is renowned as one of Sedona’s four main vortex sites, believed to emit spiritual energy conducive to healing and meditation. 

The hike up leads you through stunning red rock formations and desert flora. At the top, you’ll be encircled by 360-degree panoramic views of the majestic Red Rock Country.

The trail to the summit is a mainly flat, circular path of about 1.2 miles (approximately 2 km).

It’s a rather accessible hike for most, requiring roughly 1 to 2 hours to complete, but this varies depending on personal pace and how frequently you stop to take in the sights.

2. Red Rock Crossing

Located roughly 7 miles (about 12 km) southwest of Sedona, Red Rock Crossing is another iconic place to watch the sunset. 

The trail begins in Red Rock State Park and is about 2 miles (3.2 km) of paved pathway along Oak Creek. 

The walk is easy and suitable for all ages, taking approximately 1 to 2 hours. 

Red Rock Crossing features one of the most photographed scenes in the southwestern United States – the distinctive Cathedral Rock formations.

As the sun sets, the area around the Crossing transforms the color of the sandstone from a bold red to a deep, radiant orange. 

Besides the photogenic scenes, visitors can enjoy picnicking, bird-watching, or just hanging out in the serene atmosphere. 

3. Cathedral Rock

Cathedral Rock, one of the most famous formations in Sedona, provides a stunning setting for sunset viewing. 

Located approximately 4 miles (or 6.4 km) south of Sedona, the spires of Cathedral Rock are a popular hiking destination and are considered one of Sedona’s most beautiful sites.

Cathedral Rock is approximately 5,000 feet (~1,525 meters) high, accessed via the Cathedral Rock Trail.

The trail is about a mile (1.6 km), but despite its relatively short length, getting to the top requires scrambling uphill on loose rock. 

The hike requires a decent level of fitness, appropriate hiking footwear for the rocky terrain, and sufficient water, especially during the hotter months. 

There are also no facilities on the trail, so any necessities should be brought along.

Additionally, given its popularity, the trail can be crowded, particularly during peak hours and weekends, so getting an early start or visiting on a weekday is recommended.

4. Bell Rock

Bell Rock can be found about 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Sedona near the Village of Oak Creek.

This distinctive rock formation was formed over millions of years from what used to be an ocean – before Arizona was the arid desert it’s known as today.

Visitors can access Bell Rock via the Bell Rock Pathway, an easy 1.5-mile (2.4 km) trail round-trip. 

The trek provides panoramic views of the surrounding red rock landscape, and during sunset, the play of colors against the red rocks makes it a must-visit spot. 

Given the trail’s moderate gradient and well-marked path, it’s suitable for all age groups and fitness levels.

Guests can park at ‌the Courthouse Vista Parking Area or the Yavapai Vista Parking Lot and access the trailhead from there.

5. Devil’s Bridge

Situated approximately 7 miles (11.3 km) northwest of Sedona, Devil’s Bridge is an impressive natural sandstone arch located in the Coconino National Forest.

The hike to Devil’s Bridge is 4.2 miles (6.8-km) roundtrip along the Devil’s Bridge Trail.

This uphill hike is moderately strenuous, and the last section requires scrambling over steep and uneven surfaces.

Depending on your pace and how much time you spend at the top, plan for approximately 2 to 3 hours to complete this hike.

The parking lot near the trailhead can become congested, so it’s advisable to arrive early or consider using the area’s shuttle service. 

6. Boynton Canyon

Boynton Canyon, located approximately 8 miles (12.9 km) northwest of Sedona, offers a more private setting to watch the sunset. 

The round-trip hike to Boynton Canyon is approximately 6 miles (9.65 kilometers) and takes the average hiker 3-4 hours to complete.

Several optional trails along the way include the Boynton Vista Trail, the detour to the Subway Cave, or the spur trail to the Boynton Canyon Vortex summit.

7. Oak Creek Canyon

Situated 4.3 miles (6.9 km) north of Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon is a picturesque spot to enjoy a scenic drive and take in the beautiful Arizona sunset. 

The canyon stretches approximately 12 miles (19.3 km) and features several overlooks along the route that afford breathtaking views of the red rock cliffs at all times of the day.

The most accessible way to enjoy this stunning locale is via State Route 89A, a winding road that meanders through the heart of the canyon. 

Key stops along the route include Oak Creek Vista, Slide Rock State Park, and the Midgley Bridge Observation Site, all offering panoramic views of the canyon.

While the drive through Oak Creek Canyon can be enjoyed anytime, it’s particularly magical at sunset. 

Plan to spend a few hours on this journey – you’ll likely want to stop at various overlooks, take a short hike, swim in Oak Creek, or enjoy a picnic along the way.

8. Doe Mountain

Located about 9 miles (14 km) west of Sedona, Doe Mountain is a flat-topped mesa that provides panoramic 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape. 

Its elevated vantage point makes it an ideal location for watching the sunset, but the best time to arrive is about 2 hours before the sun goes down to catch the changing colors. 

The trail to the top is a 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) round-trip hike from the Doe Mountain Trailhead. 

This hike is short (approximately 1-2 hours) but moderately difficult due to its steady ascent and the rough terrain near the summit. 

9. Bear Mountain

Approximately 9 miles (14 km) west of Sedona lies Bear Mountain, a spot known by experienced hikers for its challenging trails and secluded sunset views. 

The Bear Mountain Trail is a strenuous 5-mile (8-km) round-trip hike, including an elevation gain of about 1,800 feet (approximately 549 m).

The journey to the summit can take roughly 4 to 5 hours, but it’s absolutely worth it – the view from the top is a sweeping panorama of Sedona’s red rock country.

Given the difficulty of this trail, preparation is key. 

Bring enough water, snacks, and sun protection, and wear appropriate footwear to ensure a comfortable hike. 

10. Schnebly Hill Vista

Schnebly Hill Vista is a favorite destination for visitors to the Sedona area.

This elevated area is approximately 7 miles (11.3 kilometers) east of Sedona and provides a spectacular view of the‌ red rock landscape.

The vista can be accessed by the rough, unpaved Schnebly Hill Road, so a high-clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicle is highly recommended.

(Several Jeep tours are available in the area if your vehicle can’t make the drive.)

Once at the Vista, you’ll be treated to incredible views of sandstone mesas, open desert, and the Casner Canyon.

11. Arabella Hotel Sunset Vista

The Arabella Hotel in Sedona offers a private, easily accessible spot to watch the sunset.

Just 5 mins from the hotel, the Sunset Vista provides panoramic views of the majestic red rock formations. 

Given its location within the hotel grounds, amenities such as restrooms and dining options are readily available, including the famous Mole restaurant. 

12. Vultee Arch

Vultee Arch, a natural sandstone formation, is located approximately 10 miles (16 kilometers) northwest of Sedona. 

The road to the trailhead is rough, so you’ll need a high-clearance vehicle to get in.

Once you’ve arrived, you’ll head out on the Vultee Arch trail and trek around 5 miles (about 8 km) through a changing desert landscape.

You can’t miss the Arch, as it’s a large red rock bridge stretching over Sterling Canyon. 

This natural bridge is 50 feet (around 15 m) tall and includes a bit of a scramble to get to the top.

The hike can take 2 to 3 hours, all said and done, but the views alone are worth the trip.

Best Times and Seasons to Watch the Sunset in Sedona, Arizona

The weather in Sedona can vary by season, so it’s always best to check the forecast and prepare accordingly. 


During the spring months, the temperatures in Sedona are pleasant and get progressively warmer from March to May. 

Average temperature in March and April is between 68 and 77ºF (20-25ºC), with May seeing daytime highs of around 86ºF (30ºC).

Temperatures drop after dark, ranging from 40 to 54ºF (4 to 12ºC).

In March, the sun sets between 6:15 pm and 6:45 pm, but by the end of May, the sun will set around 7:30 pm.


Summertime in Sedona offers the latest sunset times, hitting 7:45 pm mid-June. 

During the summer, the weather is typically hot, averaging as high as 95ºF (35ºC) during the day.

Summer monsoon storms can bring in cooler temperatures, with August being the wettest month.

Generally speaking, evening temperatures are milder in the summer, with lows of about 68ºF (20ºC).


As the season changes to fall, the weather becomes milder and more comfortable in Sedona.

Like the spring, average temps range from around 86ºF (30ºC) in the early fall to around 68ºF (20ºC) by November.

Although specific sunset times vary in the autumn, they generally range from 6:50 pm in September to 5:30 pm in November.


Sedona’s weather can be quite cold in the winter, especially after the sun goes down. 

Daytime temperatures range from 60 to 65ºF (15 to 18ºC) but can drop to 33ºF (1ºC) at night.

Sunsets are quite early in the winter, with the shortest day of the year losing light by 5:15 pm. 

By the end of February, however, you can expect the sun to stay up for at least another hour until about 6:15 pm.

Things to Note When Watching the Sunset in Sedona, Arizona

A man sitting on top of Devil's Bridge.

Generally speaking, when checking out the sunset in Sedona, it’s best to wear good shoes for walking, such as hiking boots or sneakers.

It’s also usually a good idea to bring hats, sunscreen, water, and any snacks you may need, especially if you’re heading on a longer hike. 

In the cooler months, you may want to consider bringing long pants or a jacket, as it gets chilly at night once the sun sets. 

During the rainy season (June to September), you may need a raincoat or other waterproof gear, particularly in the afternoons/early evenings.

Please remember to adhere to “Leave No Trace” principles and treat the area respectfully by staying on the trails, obeying all posted rules, and taking any garbage with you when you leave.


Sedona, Arizona, is known for its dramatic red rock formations and picturesque landscapes that are particularly stunning at sunset.

If you find yourself in the area, the best places to view the sunset are:

  1. Airport Mesa/Vortex
  2. Red Rock Crossing
  3. Cathedral Rock
  4. Bell Rock
  5. Devil’s Bridge
  6. Boynton Canyon
  7. Oak Creek Canyon
  8. Doe Mountain
  9. Bear Mountain
  10. Schnebly Hill Vista
  11. Arabella Hotel Sunset Vista
  12. Vultee Arch.

Each location offers a distinct experience that can be enjoyed at any time of year.

The climate varies from season to season, so check the weather daily and pack appropriately for each location.