Winter Camping Sedona
Winter camping Sedona is a great way to take a break from the grey days of winter. This gorgeous area of Arizona exceeded my expectations and reminded me of how much beauty the desert has to offer during the colder months. The landscape changes gradually on the drive from alpine mountains to red cliffs as you go along making for scenic ride from our Salt Lake City Depot. From there, the drive can be broken up to see some other amazing sights along the way such as Capitol Reef Natl. Park, Escalante, Bryce Canyon Natl. Park, Zion Natl. Park or the Grand Canyon. From LA you can stop off in Palm Springs and Joshua Tree Natl. Park. From either of these locations Sedona is around a great destination for a week of winter camping Sedona fun.
There is camping just north of Sedona in the Coconino National Forrest in Oak Creek Canyon at the Manzanita Campground. For us, winter camping Sedona needs to fit a budget. Manzanita offers the basics: drinking water, vault toilets and picnic tables with a daily camp fee of only $20 it’s a great fit. This campground is tent camping only and does not allow RV’s so it is great to be in a campervan and know that you are good to go! This campground is lower in elevation and there was not snow on the ground as we had seen further up Oak Creek Canyon. We still recommend zero degree sleeping bags, thermals and anything else that will keep you warm through the chilly nights. Winter camping Sedona requires being prepared if you want to stay warm and comfortable Check out REI’s winter camping checklist to assist with your planning:
Manzanita campground is only 30 minutes from uptown Sedona where you can find eclectic shops and restaurants. For more info about this campground and Coconino National Forrest visit:
Trail heads are very easy to access in Sedona and there are literally over a hundred to choose from. We hiked Boynton Canyon to the vortex and to Dead Man’s pass. We hiked with our young son so we chose an easier hike that offered beautiful views. There are four well known Vortexes in Sedona. These are places where there is said to be a high concentration of earth energy. People visit the vortexes for reflection and healing as they are said to bring peace and rejuvenation. We visited the one of the Vortexes near the airport in addition to Boynton Canyon, it was very crowded and parking was difficult to find, however, this Vortex does offer an incredible panoramic view of all of Sedona. The Boynton Canyon Vortex was a better experience for us and we were happy to combine the 1/2 mile trip to the Vortex with another hike in the same area to make a day out of the journey. To plan your hikes we recommend stopping by the Hike House or take a look at their website for great information about the trails in this area: http://thehikehouse.com/ Winter camping Sedona is not an adventure until you take a nice hike!
Be sure to check out the surrounding towns. We really enjoyed visiting Jerome and Cottonwood. Cottonwood has a charming main street with loads of great thrift and antique shops. Jerome is an old mining town perched on a mountain side where you can find some of the most amazing artwork in the southwest. Be sure to take the legendary Jerome art walk to see creative and inspiring works from the gifted locals. We discovered Gold King’s Mine and Ghost Town while walking around Jerome. Throughout the ghost town there are really fantastic old vehicles that the owner of the mine has collected. Many of them are fully restored, some not so much, but they are still cool to look at. Our son enjoyed panning for gold and breaking open geodes. We wandered around for an hour checking out classic cars, motorcycles and old trucks- we even found an original Dodge Campervan there. Of course I had to take a photo in the spirit of the ancient lost campers that sought adventure before our time. The people of Jerome have managed to make a living doing what they love while residing in a very charming and unique little town. You can see this in the smiles on their faces and the feeling of pride they take in their work, we definitely recommend a visit to Jerome. Be prepared to navigate narrow streets and make sure to park in designated areas, this is a very pedestrian oriented town so watch for foot traffic along the way.
Another family friendly activity that was an unexpected find, is the Out of Africa Wildlife Park. This place is not a Zoo. It was refreshing to see the animals have acres and acres of space to roam and you can venture out on an African style safari to see them in action. You can even go big and take unimog tour or zip line between towers across the park. This ended up being one of the highlights of our trip. If you are traveling with kids or love animals, this park is a must see. I have to say that I have never seen animals living in captivity that were as happy and well adjusted as these animals. The owner of the park hosted some educational live shows where he educates people about the animals, our relationships with them and the life lessons that we can all learn from our fellow creatures. For more information visit: http://outofafricapark.com/
Your winter camping Sedona adventure awaits you. Lost Campers can get you there!
Submitted by winter camping Sedona, campervan fan- Launi Haygood