It is no exaggeration to say that Sedona is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Visitors come from all over the U.S. and the rest of the world to take in the beauty of the red-rock-dominated landscapes and all that it offers. If you will be visiting Sedona to take in the Hummingbird Festival, be sure to plan to come a few days early or stay a few days later (or both!).
The Sedona Chamber of Commerce has created an extraordinary website, www.VisitSedona.com, which you should be sure to visit before coming to Sedona.
Red Rock Scenic Byway The U. S. Department of Transportation has recognized 120 designated roads as National Scenic Byways. Further, 31 of these are recognized as "All-American Roads," and Sedona is blessed with an outstanding one: the Red Rock Scenic Byway, a 7.5-mile stretch of Highway 179 leading into Arizona from Exit 298 on Interstate 17. Be sure to approach Sedona for the first time through this route and experience an amazing introduction to "Red Rock Country."
Oak Creek Canyon The highway leading down from the Colorado Plateau into Sedona from the northeast from Flagstaff is another of Sedona's most scenic drives. Don't miss it—and don't be in a hurry.
Scenic Tours From one's car it is easy to take in much of Sedona's scenic beauty. Yet many visitors choose to take jeep tours into areas that cars can never reach, letting a knowledgeable driver/guide introduce them to Sedona's wonders.
The attractiveness of Sedona as a travel destination goes beyond the scenery. Consider these possibilities:
Hiking Miles and miles of trails of widely varying length and difficulty offer you the opportunity to experience breath-taking views of the red rocks and valleys.
Biking Mountain biking is superb; one visiting biker told us recently that he felt it was the best he had ever experienced. The city and surrounding roads are also biker-friendly.
Winemaking Few people would suspect our dry land would be an ideal place to produce superb wines, but it is!
Galleries This small city of 9,000 residents has 44 galleries (!). Be sure to allow time to explore these. See this site.
New Age / Vortexes Sedona has a specialized tourist attraction built largely on the belief that several red rock formations are channels of strong electromagnetic energy called vortexes [our pronunciation of vortices]. Or something like that, anyway.
Other Travelers' Opinions can be found at TripAdvisor.
TRAVEL TO SEDONA
If you are traveling to Sedona for the first time, visit this page.
It is not uncommon for people unfamiliar with Sedona to assume its climate is like that of the southern half of Arizona—i.e., very hot in the summer. Not so! Sedona is in the mountains, and its elevation of 4,500 feet gives it quite different temperatures. In August, the average high is 92°F, and the average low is 62°F. All the presentations of this festival and the Hummingbird Mall vendors' area are in the air-conditioned Sedona Performing Arts Center.
The dry air and lack of heavy urban development leads Sedona to have very cool temperatures at night. Every day starts off pleasantly cool. Nearly all year, overnight low temperatures are lower than the daytime high by about 35 degrees (F.) . Cool mornings make it possible to play golf, go hiking, go birding, etc., on the hottest of days.
From time to time, we experience thunderstorms in July and August, as moist air blows north from the Gulf of California. With their scattered nature, it is possible to be standing in the sun while watching heavy rains, lightning, and rainbows just a few miles away. Temperatures can fall 25-35 degrees in just a matter of minutes. We call this period our "monsoon season," with tongue firmly in cheek, since we receive on average 3-4 inches of rain in the entire month of August (our wettest month, at that)!
Sedona has hummingbirds all year long, but the number of species and the number of hummingbirds varies with the time of year.
January – December
|The Anna's Hummingbird finds Sedona's mild winters and summers to be to its liking, so it does not migrate. This is much like it does in California and, in more recent decades, even Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and as far north as Anchorage, Alaska. Somewhat surprising is the timing of its nesting, which begins in January (!).
Mid-March – Mid-September
The Black-chinned Hummingbird arrives from southern Mexico in late March for its breeding season. While accurate data is not available, they appear to outnumber the Anna's, who now find competition for food resources.
Summer: Migrant species who do not nest in Sedona
Beginning the first half of July, migrant hummingbirds begin to arrive after completing their nesting season from regions to the north of Sedona. Some of these are Black-chinned Hummingbirds, which add to the local breeding population, but most are other species who have nested as far away as southern Canada.
Watch a video at Kathy's home in August (est. 1,500 hummingbirds per day)
Watch a video at Rita's home in August (est. 400-500 hummingbirds per day)
Watch a video at Barbara and Paul's home (est. 500+ per day)
The total number of hummingbirds can be impressive. Several sites regularly feed over 1,000 hummers a day in August, estimated from nectar consumed.
The Rufous Hummingbird has the longest migration of any North American hummingbird, between the Pacific Northwest as far north as Anchorage, AK, to southern Mexico, a distance as great as 3,000 miles. Summer migration is largely down the Rockies, although a small percentage pass through California. Their numbers in Sedona can be quite great, although this varies from year to year.
Broad-tailed Hummingbirds breed primarily in Colorado, although also in forests just to the north of Sedona.
The Calliope Hummingbird is America's smallest hummingbird. Its breeding area includes the states of MT, WY, ID, UT, NV, northeast CA, OR, WA and parts of Alberta and British Columbia. While this species comprises the smallest percentage of summer migrants, they are nonetheless regularly seen.
|Photo credits: Anna's Hummingbird, Ross Hawkins; All others, Beth Kingsley Hawkins|