Adventure Activities in Sedona -- Try if You Dare

Adventure Activity Sedona

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If you're looking to add an adventure activity to your trip in Sedona, these are a few ideas that will add some breath-holding to Sedona's already breathtaking scenery.

Off-Road Adventures

The red rocks and natural scenery look great from the highway, but they look even better up close in an open-air, off-road vehicle. For cautious daredevils like my dad, Pink Jeep Tours is perfect, offering a bumpy ride, beautiful scenery and enough thrills to satiate the average appetite for adventure. We did the Broken Arrow/Scenic Rim tour, which combines the two most popular off-road routes for a 3-hour tour of steep ups and downs punctuated with photo-ops you just can't get without a four-wheel drive and an experienced guide. I've owned a couple of Jeeps and never knew they were capable of conquering the steep inclines and uneven turf we drove on our tour. I frequently found myself grabbing for the convenient hand loops attached to the roll bars, and I would not recommend this for the easily nauseated, often carsick or otherwise compromised health-wise. The combined 3-hour tour costs $105 for adults and $79 for kids, but most of the fun comes on the Broken Arrow trail and its Road of No Return, so if you're pinched for time or money, I'd opt for that. It's two hours and costs $75/adult, $56/kid. All tours depart hourly from the Pink Jeep headquarters (204 N State Route 89a) in the heart of downtown Sedona.

Pink Jeep Tours
204 N State Route 89a
Sedona, AZ 86336

If you're really daring, you can try to impress your buddies with another adventure activity in Sedona, and rent a Jeep and explore the area yourself. Barlow Jeep Rentals sends you out in a new-model, air-conditioned Wrangler with all the tips, advice and info you need to have a fun ride with just the right amount of butterflies in your stomach. They give out maps for six trails of varying difficulty (Easy, Moderate, Adventurous and Difficult). These Sedona tours include the aforementioned and ever popular Broken Arrow trail, which Barlow rates as "Adventurous," meaning you don't need 4x4 experience but you better have balls to make up for that. You can either rent the Jeep for a period of time ($150/up to four hours, $250/up to 24 hours, custom deals available), do what you want and return the keys at the set time or pay for specific half-day trail packages, which are generally $150 and cover a couple of trails. An ex-boyfriend and I took one out for 24 hours, and the flexibility enabled us to have our own unique experience. We drove several of the trails, which take you to some otherwise inaccessible hiking spots. If you're a rock climber, you'll find plenty of opportunities to climb. I can't say enough about the value of independence plus access. If you're riveted by the Honanki ruins, you can spend hours there. If you want to explore the vegetation up close and personal, you can do that too. Every Jeep comes with an ice chest, so bring lunch along and pick out your own place for a picnic in paradise-- no hotel or restaurant in town can beat the views, I promise.

Barlow Jeep Rentals
3009 W Highway 89a
Sedona, AZ 86336

If you're truly trying to impress your buddies and avoid old folks and small children, even more daring adventures await at Sedona Off-Road Center, which rents out ATVs (somewhat dangerous) and Tomcars (safer) for rates ranging from $125 to $495 per vehicle. The ATVs have one seat or two, while the Tomcars have two or four. If everybody wants to drive, it is not a problem because you get 15 percent off each additional vehicle you rent, and a half-day on a 1-person ATV costs $125 to start.

Sedona Off-Road Center
211 State Route 179
Sedona, AZ 86336
Hours: 8AM-5PM

Sliding down Slide Rock, a natural water chute, can be a total blast and trip highlight, but if you want to make it through the day without broken bones or bruises, water shoes are a must for enjoying this adventure activity in Sedona. Some locals call it "Slime Rock" because it's so slippery and potentially dangerous for the unprepared. I've seen several people leave with injuries, but this can usually be avoided if you go in prepared. Don't wear your best swimsuit (if you do, wear shorts over it) because although this natural creek bottom is slippery, it's not entirely smooth. Also, E. coli and bacteria scares dating back to the 1970s have led to daily water quality monitoring on site. Unless you're germophobic, you can feel safe from infection when the park is open. Just be sure to call the Water Quality Hotline-- (602) 542-0202 -- after 9AM the day you plan on going to verify that the park isn't closed due to high levels of harmful bacteria.

Slide Rock State Park
6871 N. Hwy. 89A
Sedona, AZ 86366
Hours: Memorial Day-Labor Day weekend, 9AM-7PM
Entrance Fees: Per vehicle (1-4 adults) $20, Individual/bicycle $3

Hot Air Balloon

If a hot air balloon ride is on your bucket list, then check it off with one of the most daring adventure activities in Sedona. This dare involves waking up before the crack of dawn so the company can pick you up at your hotel, get you to the launch site and air up the balloons in time to catch the best winds of the day. Most trips also involve champagne picnics because this is a longstanding ballooning tradition. But even before the bubbly, berries and pastry at the end of our flight, I was glad we pulled ourselves out of bed and paid the $195/person to see Sedona from yet another angle. As we ascended, the natural beauty I had thought could not be more breathtaking proved me wrong. We got closer to the tops of the red rocks than would be possible without a death wish any other way. We rode with Northern Light, but friends tell me Red Rock Balloons is wonderful also.

Northern Light Balloon Expeditions
P.O. Box 1695
Sedona, AZ 86339
Rate: $195/person

Red Rock Balloons
105 Canyon Diablo Road
Sedona, AZ 86351
Rate: $195/person

Sedona is known for attracting kooks and "spiritual" types from all over the world with its famed vortexes of energy. This dare is to check out any of the oodles of free or donation-based events put on by the Center for the New Age. Options range from Crystal Bed Clinics to Psychic Message Circles to Chakra Balancing. 1) Don't get sucked in, and 2) Don't donate and risk the spells they may put upon you!

New Age experience
341 State Highway 179
Sedona, AZ 86336
(928) 282-2085

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