Driving to Sedona from Scottsdale

Old Jun 6th, 2005, 12:10 PM
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Driving to Sedona from Scottsdale

Hi!

I was wondering what kind of a drive it is from the Scottsdale area to Sedona. I would rather drive it on my own but I am also considering taking a tour. I have driven in cities such as Nashville or St. Louis but I have been to LA and wouldn't even consider getting behind the wheel there. Also, what would be the easiest way to get there - even if it does require a bit more time. If I wanted to stop at Rawhide on the way home is it a good idea to take the Carefree Hwy exit to Scottsdale Rd? This is my 1st trip to Arizona and any advice you can give me will be greatly appreciated!
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Old Jun 6th, 2005, 12:37 PM
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We just did this drive over Memorial Day. Left our hotel (Westin kierland) around 9am arrived in Sedona around 11am, stopped a the Chapel of the Holy Cross on the way into town. The views from the top are wonderful. Drove into Sedona Main Street area, walked around, had lunch at Oxcaxa (spelling, sorry I think it's wrong), stopped at the Italian Village shopping area on the way out of town and back to the hotel around 3:30pm.

The easiest route is just right up I-17, to the Sedona exit. it is very easy, I would do it on my own if I had a reliable car. there is not much but desert on the way there. I would not take a tour if I had a car.
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Old Jun 6th, 2005, 01:25 PM
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It is a beautiful, scenic ride, with no confusing areas. It is nothing like LA. However, there are hills, and sharp turns, and you may run into heavy traffic. I would not bother with a tour.
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Old Jun 6th, 2005, 04:23 PM
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I'm from Hawaii and am chicken about driving on the mainland. However, I did this very drive all by myself last month! And boy, it was easy. Stop at Montezuma's Castle along the way....this is actually a good spot because it puts a break in the drive and you can use the restrooms there! And it is a very interesting place.

The next good stop is at the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

If I had to do it again, I'd also stop at Tlaquepaque on the left upon entering Sedona to get refreshments (maybe the Secret Garden Cafe). I was so rabid about getting to Boynton Canyon for my hike that I made the mistake of not stopping there!
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Old Jun 6th, 2005, 04:40 PM
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I agree w/the other posters, but I recommend not doing this drive alone at night. As said above, you are out in the desert. There are long stretches of road w/no exits. Would not want to break down out there in the dark.
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Old Jun 6th, 2005, 05:43 PM
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I think it would be better on the way back to take the freeway (I-17, loop 101) all the way to Scottsdale Rd and then drive the few (3-5?) miles up to Rawhide.
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Old Jun 8th, 2005, 12:21 PM
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Thanks for all of the great tips. I now feel comfortable making the drive. My husband does most of the driving on vacations but he is not going to be able to make this trip. It will just be me and my son. I will be sure to stop at Montezuma's Castle and the Chapel of the Holy Cross. I am really looking forward to visiting Arizona!
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 03:43 PM
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I wouldn't compare it to LA. From Scottsdale you just get on the 101 and between 7th ave and 19th ave get in the right lane and it will take you straight to the I17 north for pretty straight shot into Sedona. All you need to do is watch the signs around Camp Verde for a sign to go to Sedona. It's a really easy drive. I don't like driving it on Friday afternoon to Sunday evening because everyone goes north for the weekend. I'm not sure about the Rawhide route I went there when I was about 10 and don't really remember how we got there. I know Carefree Hwy is involved but thats it. Hope this helps
-Jenna
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 07:31 PM
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It's an easy drive. You can't get lost.
If you like outlet shopping, there are two outlet malls on your way there (Anthem and Sedona).
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Old Jun 13th, 2005, 07:44 PM
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We couldn't pronounce "Tlaquepaque" so one of us coined it "Take-your-pocket(book)" and called it that every time we passed it. I did buy Christmas presents there - handblown glass ornaments and paperweights.

Enjoy Sedona. If you like Frank Lloyd Wright, visit Taliesin West when you are in Scottsdale.
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 10:23 PM
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Just got back from the greater Phoenix area and I agree with everyone else...the drive is easy. The speed limit is 75 mph most of the way and the traffic wasn't bad even though we were headed to Sedona during rush hour traffic from North Scottsdale. The twists and turns happen once you are very close to Sedona and they aren't hairy during the day but might be at night for the first time.

We stayed at the Desert Quail Inn in the Village of Oak Creek (rec here on Fodors), about 6 miles from downtown Sedona, for $69/nt (online res). The rooms are large & clean and the front desk staff is very friendly. They provided fresh fruit (free) in the fridge for us and a selection of teas as well as coffee. There is a large grocery directly behind the motel so we stopped there for milk, cereal, bananas, plastic bowls and spoons.

I wouldn't bother shopping when there is such natural beauty to explore (even just outside the motel) but there is an outlet mall across the street if you are so inclined.

I know there are more upscale places to stay (Enchantment for one) if you want a luxury hotel. We don't bother with the expensive places as we leave the room by 9am, come back before dinner for a shower, and usually aren't back again until it is time to fall into bed.

You can hike from Bell Rock, not even half a mile up the road. In order to park by the trailhead you will need to buy a parking pass at the Circle K gas station just south of the parking area. The pass is $5 and is good for one day so if you choose to park at any of the little pull offs thru the area you are covered.

If you are feeling adventurous you can mtn bike from the same area and make a loop around Bell and Cathedral Rock(outstanding adventure for those that are in good aerobic condition). There is some uphill to it as well as boulders, loose gravel, tree roots, and creeks. There is a good bit of "hike a bike" where you need to get off the bike and push it up the hill briefly- usually only a few feet before getting back on. There is a bike shop across the street from Bell Rock called Bike and Bean.

Since your son will be with you, you might both want to take a pair of jeans and a bathing suit and head to the 70 ft long natural waterslide northeast of Sedona a few miles.
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 10:28 PM
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BTW, I'm not an expert but I think it is pronounced Ta-lak-a-pak-ee. We ate there at the Oak Creek Brewery which is upstairs, beer and appetizers were good. All the shops were closed by the time we got there but nothing looked of much interest to me anyway. Not much in the way of local arts.
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Old Jun 16th, 2005, 10:30 PM
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Better yet, Ta Lah Ka Pah Kee
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 05:07 AM
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I love "take your pocket book"! It's a perfect description.

=D> =D> =D>
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 02:34 PM
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I'M puzzled by the statement that there are no local arts at Tlaquepaque. I just returned from Sedona, and live in Arizona. Nearly all the little shops in Tl are owned by artists, and many of them do their art right there. Originally the concept was that the artists would live upstairs and have a shop downstairs, but real estate became to expensive for that to make sense, so now there are shops upstairs and down. But the artists are LOCAL.
Vera
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Old Jun 17th, 2005, 03:49 PM
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Sorry Vera, I'm sure you are correct rather than me. The shops were all closed up by the time I got there and when I peered in I tended to see antiques (Asian style statues and antiques in that setting puzzled me)and knick knacks rather than local art. Of course I didn't look in all of the shops as they were closed.
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