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All Rights Reserved - ArizTravel.com

All Rights Reserved – ArizTravel.com

UPDATED OCTOBER 3, 2013: Many updates are available in the comments. Please read the comments to stay abreast of the latest news.

We published this post on our website Sedona.net today.

It’s a good thing you can’t shut out the 360° views of the red rocks in Sedona. Visitors from all over the world alight in Arizona every day, but the government shutdown that began on Tuesday, October 1 is causing many to scramble to change their Arizona travel plans. It may be hard to know what businesses and services are still available during this unfortunate stall in federal government services, but one thing is fairly clear: Sedona is definitely open for business, so it is the PERFECT alternative to Grand Canyon National Park and the other national monuments and forests in the area. True, Sedona is located in the heart of Red Rock Country, a district of the Coconino National Forest, who’s offices are closed thanks to the nationwide shutdown. The closure has affected the National Forest’s developed campgrounds and picnic areas, several of which are located in Oak Creek Canyon, one of Sedona’s premier natural attractions. However, Sedona is graced with several state parks and native American heritage sites that remain open, and there are dozens of other commercial tours, indoor attractions and outdoor adventures to be had, making Sedona seem almost immune to the shutdown. Here is a list of alternative things to do, places to see, and accommodations likely to be available in Sedona without any effect from the federal standstill:

Things to Do in Sedona and the Verde Valley

  1. Red Rock State Park
  2. Slide Rock State Park
  3. Jeep tours with Pink Jeep or A Day in the West
  4. Hot air balloon tours with Red Rock Balloons
  5. Verde Canyon Railroad (Clarkdale)
  6. Honanki petroglyph and cliff dwelling site
  7. Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village
  8. Hiking and mountain biking trails
  9. Horseback riding with A Day in the West
  10. Wine tours with Sedona Wine Adventures
  11. Out of Africa Wildlife Park (they have a new white rhino you must see!)
  12. Sedona Art Center
  13. Hozho and Sedona Hillside galleries and shopping
  14. Uptown Sedona shops, restaurants and activities
  15. Photography workshops with Brent Jones
  16. ATV tours with Sedona ATV Adventures
  17. Kayaking down the Verde River with Sedona Adventure Tours
  18. Fly fishing on Oak Creek with Sedona Flyfishing Adventures
  19. Vortex hikes or a psychic experience with Greg Drambour, Kavitaa, Nirup, or Eos Yolanda
  20. Relaxing, restorative massage and therapy treatments with Uptown Massage, A Spa for You, or Authentic Ayurveda

Places to Stay

Under normal circumstances, it doesn’t make much sense to book your accommodations in Sedona based solely on the view from your guestroom; the red rock views are EVERYWHERE and you won’t want to stay on your suite’s balcony anyway. However, with the shutdown affecting many of the places Arizona visitors want to go to see great views, (such as the Grand Canyon, or Walnut Canyon National Monument) visitors will want to get as much out of their stay as possible. Here are a number of accommodations in Sedona that can get you close to the red rocks, and allow you to commune with nature in a way that no silly lawmaking stalemate can deny.

  1. Boutique hotels like Sedona Reãl Inn, Las Posadas, El Portal, Sedona Rouge, Amara Resort, or Arroyo Pinion Hotel
  2. Brand-name hotels and resorts like Best Western Inn of Sedona, Best Western Arroyo Roble, Hilton Sedona Resort or L’Auberge de Sedona
  3. Bed & breakfasts like Moestly Wood, Creekside Inn, A Sunset Chateau, Canyon Villa, Adobe Village Graham, Adobe Grand Villas, Casa Sedona, Cozy Cactus, Sedona Views, Boots & Saddles, Sedona Dream Maker, Desert Rose, or The Lodge at Sedona
  4. Cabins along Oak Creek like Briar Patch Inn, Junipine Resort, Butterfly Garden Inn, and Canyon Wren
  5. Dispersed camping is allowed in Coconino National Forest, while the developed campgrounds are closed. Be sure to follow the National Forest Service’s posted guidelines for dispersed camping, outside of developed campgrounds. The guidelines are posted here.


Several campgrounds and fee sites, managed by Recreation Resource Management, the private company that contracts with the Forest Service, remain open:

  1. Crescent Moon/Red Rock Crossing
  2. Grasshopper Point
  3. West Fork/Call of the Canyon
  4. Manzanita
  5. Cave Springs
  6. Chavez Crossing
  7. Pine Flats, east and west
  8. Oak Creek Visitor Center
  9. Clear Creek
  10. Beaver Creek
  11. Honanki petroglyph and cliff dwelling site

What’s Closed?

There are a few Sedona area places you won’t be able to go in Sedona during the government shutdown.

  1. Palatki petroglyph and cliff dwelling site
  2. Banjo Bill Picnic Site
  3. Bootlegger Picnic Area
  4. Call Of The Canyon Picnic Site
  5. Encinoso Picnic Site
  6. Halfway Picnic Site
  7. Midgley Bridge Observation Site
  8. Stoneman Lake
  9. White Bridge Picnic Site

Are you curious about your particular travel itinerary? Got questions about where you can go or where to find accommodations? Did we miss one of your favorite Sedona activities or places? Leave your comments below.

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24 Responses to “Sedona’s Views Can’t Be Shutdown”

  1. Just a quick update: the campgrounds in Oak Creek Canyon are open (as of 10/4/13). You can always check our website for most updated information: http://www.VisitSedona.com. Thank you for a great article about Sedona – we can’t be shutdown!
    Jennifer Wesselhoff,
    Sedona Chamber of Commerce

  2. Nasir Raza says:

    Are hiking trails in national forest such as bell rock trail open?

  3. Our understanding is that although facilities throughout the Coconino National Forest are closed, trails remain open for individual recreation.

  4. Jennifer, thank you so much for the update! I will edit the post accordingly. Great to have your help in spreading the word about Arizona travel options during the shutdown.

  5. Michael Gersh says:

    Dear Christina and Jennifer,

    During this shut down, is it permissible to park in Coconino National Forest (Sedona area) at trailhead parking areas without Red Rock Pass?

    Will be parking lots even open?

    Will be hikers fined for parking without permit?

    Will be trails open to hiking?

    Please response. We have only couple days to change our travel plans.

  6. The Sedona Chamber of Commerce is a wonderful resource and they’re doing a great job of monitoring the shutdown and its affect on the area. They sent a helpful email on Oct. 3 that answers your question and many others. From the email:

    The Grand Canyon is not the only famed Arizona attraction that is currently closed to visitors. The Arizona Office of Tourism has posted a full list of the closed parks and monuments on http://www.ArizonaGuide.com, as well as suggested alternatives for visitors.

    As of today, October 3, 2013, the following areas are closed:

    All National Parks and Monuments
    National Monuments in Red Rock District: Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well, Tuzigoot
    Heritage Sites: Palatki, V-V Petroglyph Site

    The following sites are open as of today, 10/3/13

    Honanki heritage site
    All trailheads in the Red Rock Ranger District
    All USFS campgrounds are managed by Recreation Resource Management and are open today.
    RRM fee sites are open today: Crescent Moon Ranch/Red Rock Crossing, Grasshopper Point and West Fork Trail/Call of The Canyon
    All State Parks

  7. Michael Gersh says:

    During this shut down, is it permissible to park in Coconino National Forest (Sedona area) at trailheads parking areas without Red Rock Pass?

    Will be parking lots even open?

  8. No, Michael. You’ll still need a Red Rock Pass or pay the posted usage fees to visit the following OPEN places in the CNF:
    Honanki heritage site
    All trailheads in the Red Rock Ranger District
    All USFS campgrounds are managed by Recreation Resource Management
    Fee sites that are open: Crescent Moon Ranch/Red Rock Crossing, Grasshopper Point and West Fork Trail/Call of The Canyon
    All State Parks

  9. Michael Gersh says:

    Hi Christina,
    I have a simple questions that I still did not get an answer to:
    During this current government shutdown where can I get this Red Rock Pass or pay the fee to visit the trails in the Red Rock Ranger District that you mention as being open in your last posting? Also, will the parking lots be OPEN in the CNF near the trailheads?
    Thank you,

  10. Hi, Michael. I’m sorry you didn’t get a clear answer. Let me try again.

    There are dozens of businesses, kiosks and visitor centers from which to obtain the RRP. They are all open and available. Here is a list: http://www.redrockcountry.org/passes-and-permits/where-to-purchase.shtml

    Yes, the parking lots associated with the trails that are open will also be open.

    Hope that clears things up for you.

  11. Jodi says:

    hi if these areas are open then why are some of the parking lots closed??????? soliders, and the jordan road lot. I live here and our properties are being over run by tourists parking in our lots and yards. Why would they shut down the parking lots if the trails are open.

  12. Jodi, I’m sorry to hear that that is happening to you. I’m sure it is frustrating. I admit, I live in the Cave Creek area and do not have daily access to Sedona to check out and report on exactly what is happening. Forgive me for assuming and remarking affirmatively that the parking lots would be open if the trailheads are open. I cannot find definitive information about the parking lots specifically.

    For now, I suggest we rely on each other for local information and continue to stay in contact with the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and the Visitor’s Bureau for updated and timely information.

  13. Brandy says:

    Hi – we planned on driving from Las Vegas to Page, AZ for the Antelope Canyons – then to Jerome for a tour and then down to Sedona for a few days. Are the highways in these areas still open? Thank you.

  14. Hi, Brandy. You’ll be fine. Arizona, Nevada and Utah departments of transportation are not reporting any road closures for your route(s).

  15. Michael Gersh says:

    Dear Christina,

    Could you, please, comment on the following information originated from your own Sedona Chamber of Commerce:

    “Here is important information for anyone heading to the Sedona area, courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce……
    All USFS public toilets have been closed and locked and the Red Rock Pass kiosk fee machines have been de-activated. At this point, the Chamber of Commerce has suspended the sales of the Red Rock Passes, as they require that all amenities be present in to order to be legally enforceable….”

    I do not ask you to drive to Sedona. Just call to Chamber of Commerce and let your visitors to know if Red Rock Passes are ACTUALLY being sold.
    Please give your guests some respect by providing clear and correct information.
    Thank you.

  16. Michael, thanks for forwarding this information. I had not received it. I’m gathering information the best I can, just like everybody else.

  17. Further update from the Sedona Chamber:
    As of tomorrow, October 9, the following areas will be CLOSED:

    · All USFS campgrounds (including campgrounds in Oak Creek Canyon)
    · Crescent Moon Ranch/Red Rock Crossing, Grasshopper Point, and West Fork/Call of The Canyon Parking Lots
    · All National Parks and Monuments
    · Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well, and Tuzigoot
    · Heritage Sites: Palatki and V-V Petroglyph Site

    As of today, October 8, the following sites are OPEN:

    · All trails in the Red Rock Ranger District (except noted above)
    · The gate has been opened at Jordan/Jim Thompson Trailhead
    · All State Parks
    · Heritage Site: Honanki

  18. Michael Gersh says:

    Hi, Christina!

    I am really sorry for the tone of my previous post. I got too upset.
    Along the way I missed the point that I am getting answers from you.
    I thought that I am talking to CEO of Sedona Chamber of Commerce.
    However I still did not get the answer to my original question
    “During this current government shutdown where can I get this famous Red Rock Pass or pay the fee to visit the trails in the Red Rock Ranger District?”
    Cristina, if you have contact with people at Sedona Chamber of Commerce, maybe they could answer to last 3 of my posts.
    My best regards,
    Michael Gersh

  19. Hi, Michael. Thanks for the apology. No worries. I get it; this is super frustrating for everybody. It sounds like, from the email you copied and pasted, that the Chamber has suspended sales for the pass, and that the Red Rock Pass isn’t being enforced since not all amenities are available. However, if you just want to be safe and still try to purchase the pass for $5/day or $15/week, you can try to buy it at lots of different gas stations, hotels, businesses and visitor centers in Sedona.
    Here’s a whole write up we did about the pass on Sedona.net: http://www.sedona.net/parking-in-sedona
    I put in a call to the Chamber but no luck. I tweeted them and I’ll let you know if I hear back.

  20. Michelle says:

    Hi Christina, thanks so much for publishing this information in a concise manner! I will be traveling from Boston to Sedona next month and am hoping to get some local hiking in. I am excited to hear there are still some hiking options open. One question for you, what does the Red Rocks Ranger District refer to? Thanks!

  21. Hi, Michelle. The Red Rock District is one of three ranger districts in the Coconino National Forest. It makes more sense when you see it on a map. Check out a map on the CNF’s website here: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/coconino/recreation. It’s in the right hand column.

    Glad I’ve been helpful and not confusing things more! ;)

  22. Thanks to @SedonaAZ for their tweet answering my question:

    Red Rock Passes are not necessary as of now. Most everything is open!!

  23. Cindy Cole says:

    Just thought that people should know that LEGALLY a Red Rock Pass cannot be required of someone who ONLY parks their car to go for a hike. The federal law that governs recreation fees states that a fee CANNOT be required “Solely for parking, undesignated parking, or picnicking along roads or trailsides.” The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling that, even if amenities are present, the USFS is prohibited from charging a fee of visitors that do NOT use the amenities.

  24. Robyn says:

    Indeed! Sedona views can’t be shutdown. And I agree with Ms. Cole that “LEGALLY a Red Rock Pass cannot be required of someone who ONLY parks their car to go for a hike,” or for viewing, for that matter.