Crescent Moon Ranch Picnic Site
Location: 333 Red Rock Crossing Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336
Entry fee: $11 per car
These photos were all taken in October on a partly cloudy day around 3 p.m. This location is a great combination of grass, water, forest, and mountain views of Cathedral Rock. All locations are an easy, flat walk, with a little bit of creek hopping depending on water levels. Sometimes I recommend to bring an extra pair of shoes just in case!
Sedona Scenic Byway
This is an easy pull off on the road near the start of the Bell Rock Pathway. The first two photos were taken on an overcast day, and the second two on a partly cloudy day. The sun will set on your right hand side of bell rock, which makes for super glowy orange colors and great dimension. This lot has limited parking, and is restricted Thursday through Sunday to using the Sedona shuttle service (there's no fee for parking at the park and ride location listed here). Parking at the trail Monday through Wednesday is $5 per vehicle, and tickets can be purchased in the on-site kiosk with a credit card.
Location: 500 Back O Beyond Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336
Cathedral has iconic views, with about a 1.2 mile hike (more like scramble) to the top. They just did construction on this path so it's a little more passable, but it's not for the faint of heart. Wear shoes with good tread and ankle support. This spot can get especially busy on weekends, so getting iconic shots at the very top is going to be limited to sunrise only, and a climb starting in the dark. This trail is now accessible via Sedona's Thursday through Sunday shuttle service which will definitely help with accessibility! Otherwise, there are two small parking lots which fit about 30 cars combined. Passes for the lots can be purchased at the on-site kiosk for $5 per vehicle. It's gorgeous at the bottom of the trail, too, with lots of great views to explore without doing the whole climb, and sunset times work really well during the off-season weekdays, May through August.
The first two photos were taken at the top of the climb, around 9 a.m. during October. The third was taken on the way down, at about 11 a.m.
Schnebly Hill Road
From Sedona to Merry Go Round Rock (4x4 road only): 167 Schnebly Hill Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336
From I-17 to Schnebly Hill Road Vista: Take exit 320 for Schnebly Hill Road
The first two photos were taken at the vista point on Schnebly Hill Road in Sedona. This point is only accessible outside of winter months (generally closed from November through April, depending on weather) via I-17 going down the mountain facing west. This trail sees a lot of weather, but the forest road leading from I-17 is generally easily passable with a high clearance vehicle. Forests lead up to the vista, and you can walk right up to the rim without hiking at all. Lots of space for parking and photo taking.
Anything past the vista, or if you're traveling east up the mountain from Sedona village, you'll need a 4x4 or ATV vehicle to pass safely. The road gets progressively rockier as you climb, and is extremely bumpy the whole way. From the bottom parking lot to Merry Go Round Rock (third photo) takes about 45 minutes to an hour depending on the condition of the road. This is also a route accessible via a schedule Pink Jeep Tour, and guides can take you up. Merry Go Round Rock is accessible at most points during the year, except on rare occasions when the road from the bottom is impassible because of snow. You can reach this point and turn back during winter months. Parking is limited by the rock, there's generally room for about 10 vehicles. I don't recommend the bottom half of the road if you're afraid of heights — the (tiny) clients pictured were experienced climbers, taken in March.