You know those movies where the characters happen upon a Christmas town they didn’t expect and have a magical time. Maybe I’ve been watching too many Hallmark movies, but that’s a little like our recent trip back from Moab, Utah. We decided to check out Christmas in Sedona on the way home and were a little too excited when we saw the whole town lit up. Was it Christmas excitement or were we under the influence of the Sedona Vortex?
At this point, if you’ve never heard of it, you’re probably saying what the heck is the Sedona Vortex. It’s supposedly a place where energy lines converge that make you feel good. There’s a better explanation of the vortex below and whether or not we believe in it but I’m just sayin’ we instantly felt amazing in Sedona. Either way, December in Sedona really is beautiful with all the Sedona Christmas lights filling this beautiful red rock town.
Looking for trip ideas? Here are some other helpful posts.
If you are looking for a holiday trip in the USA or abroad check out The Best Places to Travel in December. If you know you want to stay in the US for the holidays, we highly recommend these 11 Amazing Places to Visit in California in December. Or if you are looking for the most bucket list hike in Arizona, here’s everything you need to know about Hiking the Wave.
Christmas in Sedona
Christmas in Sedona is awesome. When we initially drove into town past all the beautiful lights, you can’t help but feel the Christmas spirit. Our first stop was a place called Tlaquepaque that’s filled with art galleries and restaurants. This is where Sedona kicks off Christmas with the tree lighting on December 3rd and hosts the Festival of Lights on December 11 with the lighting of 6,000 luminarias.
We had the best time checking out all the pretty decor around every corner. You’ll also find various Christmas activities if you have kids. One of the most exciting is the Magical Christmas Journey™ on the Verde Canyon Railroad, a one hour train trip to the North Pole and back.
RELATED POST: 25 Bucket List USA Trip Ideas
Sedona Weather in December
December is a perfect time to go to Sedona. Aside from all the fun Christmas festivities, the weather is temperate in the low 60s during the day and dips down to the mid 30s at night. All and all, pretty comfortable for hiking and only needing a warm jacket at night.
Since Sedona is in the desert, December only has 3-4 days of rain. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get some snow. Sedona’s red rock landscape looks amazing covered in a blanket of white. Best of all, Sedona is not crowded in December so you’ll get a chance to hike to your favorite spots without tons of people.
RELATED POST: Best Places to Travel in December
Best Places to Stay for a December Visit to Sedona
We did a last minute trip and stayed at the Arabella Hotel Sedona (8.5). It was well situated, moderately priced and the room was comfortable. It’s nice to be walking distance from town so you can go shopping and out to eat without having to drive. Being on foot allows you to explore the areas that have been decorated for the holidays.
More luxurious and just a short drive to all the major sights in Sedona is the L’Auberge de Sedona (8.6). It’s the perfect place to be papered with beautiful views, luxurious accommodations and spa services that will add to your Sedona experience. Another favorite spa hotel, perfect for a romantic couple’s getaway is the Enchantment Resort (8.8).
RELATED POST: The Most Beautiful States in the USA to Visit
What is an Energy Vortex?
Sedona is known for having something called an energy vortex, which is a swirling center of energy. There are multiple places around Sedona that are supposed to have vortexes and Sedona itself is one big center of energy and healing. If that sounds kind of woo woo to you, it does to me too. BUT, seriously, there is something about Sedona that just feels good. You can’t help but feel happy and energized there.
It had been years since we had visited Sedona on a Southwest USA road trip. I honestly don’t remember hearing anything about the vortex at that time. But, the Sedona Vortex was discovered in the 1950s by a psychic named Page Bryant. She was living in Sedona when she identified specific energy locations and called them vortexes. People that physically feel the vortex describe a tingling sensation or vibrations. Others feel an energy ranging from psychic to excitement. Near a vortex, healing energy is supposed to be at an all time high.
In case you are wondering, there are other places on earth that are thought to have an energy vortex including the Great Pyramid of Giza, Mount Shasta in California, Machu Picchu, and a handful of others.
Is There Scientific Proof of the Sedona Vortex?
I read everything from articles about the physics of a vortex to new age positive and negative energy vortices and there does not appear to be a scientific explanation or proof of the Sedona vortex. There are people who use terminology about energy lines and energy fields but there is no factual scientific information. That said, there are definitely things I believe in that would not pass the scientific test.
While we are pretty much the opposite of new age, we are always intrigued by interesting ideas. It’s exciting to have new experiences, especially in beautiful places like Sedona. From the second we entered Sedona and felt great, we were eager to venture out and see if we could feel the vortex. We decided to tour Sedona by hiking the various vortex sites.
Hiking in Sedona to Find the Vortex
Four spots in Sedona are supposed to be the strongest vortex locations, They all happen to be hiking trails – Airport Mesa, Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, and Boynton Canyon. If you love getting out in nature, it’s a fun assignment to do a bunch of Sedona Vortex Hikes. If you are not a hiker, some of these are easily accessed with a short walk from the road.
Devil’s Bridge Trail is not a Sedona vortex hike, but it does have a really cool rock bridge, making it highly popular. The vortex hunting was on hold until we could experience Devil’s Bridge. It’s such a fun hike with the best payoff ever. But don’t worry, we got to the Sedona vortex hikes later in the day. If you want to hike Devil’s Bridge, go first thing to avoid crowds.
RELATED POST: The Ultimate Guide to Hiking the Wave in Arizona
Sedona Devil’s Bridge Hike
Devil’s Bridge Trail is a 4.2 mile out and back hike. The beginning of the hike starts along a red dirt road. The cool, crisp air and beautiful vistas just made us feel great. From the base of the trail you head up a moderate incline up with a few spots of rock climbing. Overall, it’s pretty easy unless you have a problem with stairs or balance issues. Even if you don’t go all the way up, look back across the incredible valley and take tons of photos. A couple of tips about the Devil’s Bridge hike:
- It’s very popular. Go as early as you can. We went at sunrise around 7am and it was perfect. As we were headed back down there were more people but it still was decent.
- Getting there early will also help with the parking. There are approximately 50 spots in the lot that fill up quickly. If you have a high clearance 4×4, you can park in the small lot by the trail that get’s you 0.75 mile closer. We took our small SUV and ended up leaving it at the side of the road because the road was very rough. The 1 mile closer is all flat road and honestly really easy to walk.
- If you have an America the Beautiful National Park Pass, you can use it for free parking.
Sedona Vortex Hike #1 – Airport Mesa Vortex Site
There are a few different trails at Airport Mesa. This is the easiest vortex site to reach because you park your car and walk 500 feet. We went around a small portion of the 3.2 mile Airport Loop Trail. It has panoramic views around the relatively flat trail but it is rocky and uneven in spots. Be careful with kids.
I don’t want to burst your bubble but we didn’t feel anything there. We did, however, meet quite a few happy Sedona visitors and all had a fun chat about the vortex. We stayed for a bit to admire the incredible views.
Sedona Vortex Hike #2 – Bell Rock Vortex Site
On our way out of town, we gave the Sedona Vortex one more chance and did a short sunset hike at Bell Rock. The Bell Rock Trail is a 1.1 mile out and back hike. It’s a quick hike up with 318 foot elevation gain that is generally easy because it’s short and so worth it. The Bell Rock Pathway Loop Trail is a 4 mile busy trail that gives you panoramic views.
Although we didn’t feel the vortex, the Bell Rock hike was terrific. We saw quite a few people mountain bike riding. Sedona is a nature and adventure lover’s paradise. The America the Beautiful National Park Pass gives you free parking here too.
Sedona Vortex Hike #3 – Boynton Canyon Vortex Site
Since our trip was a stop on the way back home from Utah, we didn’t get a chance to do these hikes but this trip definitely got us excited about Sedona so you can expect a return trip soon.
Boynton Canyon Trail is a 6.1 mile out and back hike that has nice views and wildlife. It’s a popular spot so expect it to be somewhat busy.
RELATED POST: 20 Epic Places to Add to Your Utah Bucket List
Sedona Vortex Hike #4 – Cathedral Rock Vortex Site
Cathedral Rock Vortex Trail is a 1.2 mile out and back hike with a steep climb at the end that has spectacular views. While this hike is short, it has 741 feet of elevation gain and requires scrambling up rocks. You need hiking shoes or shoes with great traction. Use a backpack if you plan to carry anything because there are times where you’ll need your hands for the climb.
This is an amazing hike for sunrise or sunset. An important note is that parking is an issue here. If you can’t find a spot, you can add on to the hike with the Mystic trail, or Baldwin trail to Templeton trail to Cathedral trail instead. Adding another trail will give you more views and alleviate the parking issue.
If you have a fear of heights, this may not be for you. It’s also not great for dogs, especially little ones.
Sedona Vortex Tours
For those that prefer a professionally guided tour, this 2.5 Hour Sedona Vortex Tour will take you to all the vortex sites and stunning red rocks view points. There are some Sedona tours that go more in depth with meditations and vortex energy healing. There are medicine wheel tours with ceremonial experiences. And if you are really looking for a transformative experience, there are multi day spiritual retreats. You can experience Sedona so many different ways.
Our Opinion About the Sedona Vortex
We both felt terrific in Sedona. My energy level was significantly elevated, I felt really happy and I had an overall sense of well being. Guy just said he felt good. That’s men for you. I want to write a blog post about how I felt and he has one word for you – good!
Here’s the kicker, I don’t think it was the Sedona Vortex. One of the big things people talk about are the twisted trees. They had twisted trees in Arches National Park and no energy vortex. We went to multiple sites where you were supposed to feel the vortex and we felt nothing other than feeling great like we explained. Lastly, we asked A LOT of people and no one else felt the vortex but everyone said they felt great.
My hypothesis is that we felt great from the negative ions. Negative ions are negatively charged molecules that are known to make us feel good. The air is filled with them right after a rain storm and near the base of a waterfall. You know that good feeling in the air after it rains – I had that feeling the whole time in Sedona. There is a high level of negatively charged ions in Sedona. Perhaps the negative ions are coming from the vortex. Maybe we were just feeling the Christmas vibes!
Vortex or Not, Sedona is a Great Destination That’s Even Better at Christmas
Whether you go to Sedona for the exuberant Christmas spirit or any time of year, Sedona is a great place to go and feel good. You’ll get lots of fun outdoor time in the most beautiful red rock setting. You can partake in a Vortex tour, do some energy healing, eat delicious food and just relax. It’s a perfect healthy vacation, romantic weekend getaway, adventurous family trip or a stop on a Southwest road trip.
Other Posts You Might Like:
- ARIZONA: How to Win the Wave Lottery and Guide to Hiking the Wave Arizona
- TRAVEL: The Best Places to Travel in December
- USA: 25 Awesome USA Trip Ideas You’ll Love
- CALIFORNIA: 2 Days in Yosemite in Winter
- ALASKA: Alaska Summer Road Trip Itinerary