Sedona, Arizona – Enjoy The Beauty of Orange Red Rocks!

Here are only a few tidbits about Sedona, a small town (around 11 thousand people) in Arizona and one of the most visited natural attractions in the USA. The reason is sandstone formations of spectacular red color which got the name after Sedona Arabella Miller Schnebly (1877-1950). We collected several beautiful photos of Sedona Rocks from, all Public Domain, to give you a hint of the awesome landscape, the main reason for all tourism facilities.


Geography and Geology

Sedona lies at an elevation of 4500 feet in the Upper Sonoran Desert. Sonoran Desert is a large desert (approx. 100 thousand square miles) covering parts of California and Arizona in the USA and Baja California, Baja California Sura, and Sonora in Mexico. It is also the hottest desert in Mexico.


The City of Sedona was funded in 1902 but officially became a city only in 1988. It lies 110 miles north of Phoenix and almost 500 miles east of Los Angeles. While it’s Sedona Rocks count as one of the major natural attractions, we should mention one even bigger in the ‘neighborhood’: Grand Canyon is located just above 100 miles to the north.

Famous Sedona canyon walls consist of six layers of sandstone, two layers of limestone and a layer of basalt on the top. Layers were formed by mud deposits and the wind blows. The upper level made from basalt stone is a result of several volcanic eruptions taking place between 6 and 15 million years ago. The major component of Sedona Red Rocks is Schnebly Hill Formation, made of wind-blown quartz grains, stained by hematite (iron oxide, with the same chemical structure as rust), thus of distinctive red color.


Sedona is positioned on the so-called Colorado Plateau, which, thanks to pressures from North American and Pacific geological plates, is rising around one inch per century. One of the effects of this constant uplifting is exposure of sediments, created hundreds of millions of years ago. You can see different layers in different colors with fascinating red as a dominant tone, just like a picture book of geological history.

Part of Sedona Red Rock was under the ocean many millions of years ago and we can still find numerous fossils to witness the old history of the Sedona area. The oldest (and lowest) layer is named Redwall Limestone, was formed more than 300 million years ago and contain fossiless of trilobites. This stratum is of dark brownish color.


Sedona’s climate is temperate with an average 57 F in January (coldest month) and 97 F in July (warmest month). On average less than 20 inch of rain falls per year. With more than 300 sunny days per year, it has more sun than Florida.

There are more national parks and monuments in Arizona than in any other state of USA. Sedona is located close to most of them!


Short History

First settlers in the area of Sedona came there at least 7 thousand years ago. They were hunters and gatherers. First farmers were members of a Hohokam culture around 300 BC. They already used canals for irrigation, but abandoned the area around 1000 AD. Sinagua Indians dominated for next few hundred years. Apache and Yavapai Indians were next and first Europeans came in 1583.

After gold and silver diggers first farmers and ranchers settled in the area and in 1902 the settlement got its first post office. It had 55 residents and was named after the wife of the postmaster: Sedona. Development was slow until the 1940s and 1950 when several western movies used the spectacular scenery of the area. John Wayne, Elvis Presley, Humphrey Bogart, James Stewart, Robert Mitchum, Henry Fonda, Rock Hudson and Robert De Niro all stared there.


Did you know?

The name Sedona is made out. Amanda Miller, the mother of Sedona Arabella, coined it ‘because it sounded pretty’. It is a relatively unique name in the USA, but quite popular in Arizona (among top 1.000 baby names for girls).

Sedona Rocks are so popular, a specific tone of orange-red got a name after it. Several tones, actually. Just like there is no definite hue of red among Sedona rocks, there is no consent among paint producers who added prefix Sedona to several orange-red and brown-red colors:



Sedona has the first McDonalds in the world where the signature arches are not golden but colored in pastel green. The reason is the background of the area, where too many new facilities started to ruin the beauty of the view.

More than four million people visit the area of Sedona every year. Apart from ordinary tourists, there are thousands of artists, campers, hikers, mountain bikers and people who search for spiritual enlightenment. The so-called New-Agers found several energy-charged places in the area (vortexes – points where the energy of the Eart is focused) what somehow directed the development towards high-end tourism.


Some of the more popular attractions in the area are The Chapel, Slide Rock and Sedona Heritage Museum with hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Will you become one of them?

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