Travel Guide: Immerse Yourself in Arizona’s Sedona Vortex

Sandstone and spirituality mingle in the high Arizona desert.

Photo via Amit Basu Photography/Getty Images

The distinctive red-rock formations and hauntingly beautiful high-desert scenery of Coconino National Forest draw travelers to Sedona, no doubt, but it’s an ineffable something that spiritualists have dubbed the Sedona Vortex that keeps them coming back. Visitors feel it the moment they immerse themselves in the area’s otherworldly landscape, which sets the stage for myriad recreational activities. Among the most popular? Hiking or biking the more than 400 miles of well-maintained trails within the city. For off-the-beaten-path options, check out the “Sedona Secret 7,” the Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau’s guide to lesser-known routes (see: the decidedly Insta-worthy Airport Loop Trail) that locals love best.

Of course, given the grand scale of the landscape, exploring by foot or bike will only get you so far. Luckily, there are numerous mechanized ways to go deeper into the surrounding area, from helicopter tours to the Verde Canyon Railroad, which provides four-hour train excursions via cozy passenger cars and shaded, open-air viewing cars. A Polaris RZR ATV rental through Sedona ATV, meanwhile, offers the thrill of bumping and bouncing over the sandstone, free from the parental voice of a tour guide.

Once your appetite for adventure is slaked, you’ll surely want to satisfy your craving for sustenance (and a little souvenir shopping). Refuel with prickly-pear-barbecued baby back ribs at the Hudson, then head to Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village. A charming miniature re-creation of its namesake Mexican city, it’s the perfect place to snag locally made jewelry, American Western paintings and sculptures, or artisan-crafted home goods. Looking for something a little different? Tap into your artsy side at the Melting Point, a glass-blowing and torch-working studio and gallery where visitors can craft their own masterpieces.

However you choose to spend your time, you’ll find there’s something undeniably magnetic about Sedona, which brings us back to the vortex. Believers maintain that healing “energy fields” swirl around the area, particularly in the locales of Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and Boynton Canyon. Witness the phenomena with Pink Adventure Tours, which offers custom Jeep Wranglers for guided visits to the vortex sites. Whether you credit their power or not, no visit to Sedona is complete without experiencing them. After all, they’re what give the city that quality no one can quite put their finger on.

Photo via L’Auberge de Sedona

Getting There

JetBlue and American Airlines both have nonstop flights from Logan to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. From there, it’s roughly a two-hour (120-mile) drive to Sedona.

Staying There

Nestled by a peaceful creek, L’Auberge de Sedona feels a world away from the bustling downtown, which sits uphill from the resort but is well out of earshot. Bonus points for the five-star property’s ultra-romantic restaurant Cress on Oak Creek, where al fresco tables overlook the rushing stream.