It’s been said that God created the Grand Canyon for the world, but Oak Creek Canyon for himself. Oak Creek Canyon is a picturesque, intimate canyon, carved by the perennially flowing waters of Oak Creek . A 14.5-mile paved, meandering road through the canyon (89A) links Sedona to Flagstaff, Arizona, and offers memorable views all year long from either direction. This drive is “must-do” for anyone visiting the area.
Travelers pass colorful canyon walls (dusted with snow in winter) and lush greenery, which explodes into brilliant hues in the fall. Because the canyon has an elevation gain of nearly 2,500 feet from one end to the other, 89A traverses five ecosystems, which add great variety and their own signature beauty. At the top of the canyon, sightseers may want to stop at the scenic overlook, which offers a panoramic view; road amenities, such as restrooms; and a visitor’s center from March through October.
Finish your day with a stop at Slide Rock State Park for a dip or see the sunset at Crescent Moon Recreation Area!
Spend the morning discovering ancient native american ruins at the picturesque Palatki, a heritage site in Red Rock Canyon just outside of Sedona, Arizona. The site has remnants of dwellings, a granary and possible kiva (or ceremonial room), and ancient rock art. Travel a few miles west and check out the three-story ancient dwellings of the Honanki ruins.
In the afternoon, make your way to the Cliff Castle Casino on the Yavapai-Apache Nation. Try your luck in the casino or enjoy a delicious lunch at one of their popular restaurants.
After lunch, check out the nearby Montezuma Well, which features deep sinkholes, underground caverns, and prehistoric Sinaguan cliff dwellings.
Play a round of golf at Verde Santa Fe or Pine Shadows Golf course and then cap off your afternoon at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, where you can fish, hike, horseback ride, or bird watch.
If you’re still up for a little adventure, take a Jeep tour in Sedona or go on an African Safari at Out of Africa Wildlife Park, where you can see giraffes, lions, wildebeest, and tigers.
Wildlife and Birding
With over 300 species of birds, the verde valley is a birding and wildlife haven. Wildlife seen along Verde River includes otters, beavers, whitetail deer, javelina, bobcat, coyote, and many birds (favorites include: red-faced and olive warblers). In fact, you will find remarkably high bird diversity and densities; the Verde River boasts several of Arizona’s Important Bird Areas (IBAs). Wetland birders won’t want to miss the Tuzigoot Important Bird Area, near Tuzigoot National Monument. Its centerpiece, Tavasci Marsh, is home to such “checkables” as least bittern, sora, Virginia rail, and yellow-breasted chat. After visiting the marsh, travel to Red Rock State park for a guided walk (offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays only).
History and Culture
Stop by Jerome’s Mine Museum and discover Jerome’s rich copper mining past. The compact museum boasts a beautiful hammered tin ceiling and interprets Jerome’s early history, from gambling and the red light district to education, mining, commerce, medicine, the arts—even El Barrio Chicano, the city’s Mexican town. Afterwards, stroll through town and check out the superb galleries and artistic community that popped up after the mines closed.
In the afternoon, journey by train through the Verde Canyon, where eagle and wildlife sightings are common!
Top of the perfect day with a visit Old Town Cottonwood, a national historic place, where you can sip locally crafted wine and explore Cottonwood’s fine shops and galleries.