The Best Time to Visit Sedona

older couple sitting down and looking out at a red rock landscape in Arizona

Steve Smith / Getty Images

The best time to visit Sedona is typically in the spring (March to May) and during the fall (September to November), especially if you want to explore the outdoors. With mostly clear and sunny days and average highs of 70 degrees F (21 degrees C), these months are the ideal time to hike in, mountain bike through, and take a 4x4 tour of Red Rock Country.

However, they are also the most popular and expensive times to visit. For the best deals, come in January or February. Although snow is possible, most tours operate year-round.

Whenever you decide to go, use this guide to help plan your trip to one of Arizona’s most popular destinations. 

Weather

Sedona sits in the state’s “Goldilocks Zone,” where temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold, but just right. During the spring and falls, daytime temperatures peak in the 70s while the nights become brisk enough to warrant a light jacket. In the summer, the heat ramps up, averaging in the 90s, while in the winter, snow is not uncommon on nearby red rock formations even though temperatures remain in the 50s in Sedona during the day.

The city gets an average of 18 inches of rain annually, most of which comes during the monsoon season, from mid-July to September. During this time, days typically begin clear and sunny, but clouds build throughout the day, unleashing powerful but short-lived rainstorms in mid- to late afternoon. If you visit during monsoon season, hike early in the morning and stay away from washes and dry beds.

Peak Season Sedona

Because the weather is ideal in the spring, March through May is peak season. Tours will be booked in advance, trails will be congested, and parking, especially in Uptown, will be a challenge. If you want to go in the spring, plan a mid-week visit when most Phoenicians will be working. Or, start your day early before they can make the drive to Sedona from Phoenix. 

An early start is a good way to avoid Sedona’s crowds, in general, year-round. In the summer, arriving early is the only way to ensure you’ll be able to enter Slide Rock State Park and cool off in its waters, and it’s a good way to beat the heat—and crowds—on local trails. 

Popular Events and Festivals

Most of Sedona’s events are held in the spring and fall, adding to the draw during the peak season. If you plan on attending events at these times, book accommodations early and make reservations before arriving if you want to dine at Sedona’s best restaurants. See a more complete list of events by month listed below.

Traffic can be an issue, especially on days celebrating popular events and festivals. Park and walk to your destination—Sedona is a very walkable city, especially in Uptown—or park and rely on rideshares. 

January

The coldest month of the year offers the best hotel rates and fewest visitors. The trade-off? Snow. It’s not uncommon for the red rocks surrounding Sedona to be capped with the white stuff in January. However, because of the snow, winter is also one of the most beautiful times to visit.

Events to check out:

  • Vegfest: This annual, zero-waste event promotes healthy, plant-based eating with expert speakers, cooking demonstrations, and vendors selling sustainable, humane, and healthy products.

February

Although the temperatures start to slowly climb into the high 50s, you’re still likely to see snow at elevations and find some of the year’s best hotel rates, especially early in the month. The exception is Valentine’s Day when Phoenix couples escape for a romantic getaway. Otherwise, the city is fairly quiet with few crowds.

March

Things start to pick up in March with spring break. Temperatures hover in the mid-60s, perfect for hiking, 4x4 tours, and shopping in Uptown, although there’s always the possibility of a spring rain shower. Be sure to pack a jacket and umbrella, and book accommodations and tours well in advance.

Events to check out:

  • Sedona Food Truck Festival: Come hungry to sample Sedona’s best food trucks, beer, and local wines at Posse Grounds Park.
  • Sedona’s Stumble 5K and 10K: Runners participating in this trail run set the pace on the dirt bike tracks at Posse Grounds Park.

April

Tourism peaks this month as the days get even warmer. Look for temperatures in the low 70s during the day and low 40s at night. Flowers begin to bloom, making April one of the most popular times of the year to hike Red Rock Country.

Events to check out:

  • Earth Month: Sedona celebrates Earth Day the entire month of April with volunteer activities, music at Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village, and nature walks.
  • Spring Open Studios: Meet more than 50 Sedona and greater Verde Valley artists when they open their private studios for a weekend celebrating the arts.

May

Along with June, this month is one of the driest of the year, but heat isn’t yet an issue. Temperatures hover around 80 degrees F (27 degrees C) during the day and drop to the 50s at night. Towards the end of the month when it gets hotter, consider planning outdoor adventures earlier in the day.

Events to check out:

  • Cinco de Mayo: Sedona celebrates this festive holiday with mariachi music, folklorico dancers, traditional Mexican food, and a chili cookoff at Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village.
  • Illuminate Film Festival: This film festival is dedicated to creative works that uplift, inspire, and transform.

June

It’s hot and dry in June, but even at 90 degrees F (32 degrees C), Sedona is on average 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix. As a result, people come from Phoenix to escape the heat most summer weekends. Expect the city to be more crowded by mid-day.

Events to check out:

  • Sedona International Film Festival: One of Sedona’s most anticipated events, this film festival shows more than 100 films in nine days.

July

Temperatures edge up into the mid-90s, but monsoon season starts, cooling things off on afternoons when it rains. Definitely plan physical activities, like hiking, early in the day, and cool off later in the waters of Slide Rock State Park. Events this month are limited to community-sponsored Fourth of July celebrations.

August

With the continued heat and monsoons—the city typically gets nearly 2.5 inches of rain in August—you’ll typically find slightly lower rates at hotels and fewer crowds.

Events to check out:

  • Piano on the Rocks International Festival: This three-day music festival features internationally-acclaimed musicians and storytellers.
  • Sedona Photography Symposium: Held by the Sedona Camera Club, this photography symposium welcomes enthusiasts of all level.

September

Daily highs drop slightly into the 80s, but the monsoon lingers at the beginning of the month. Now’s a good time to visit before tourism ramps up again in the fall.

Events to check out:

  • Sedona Winefest: This annual wine fest features approximately 25 Arizona wineries as well as local restaurants and vendors.

October

This month is one of the busiest when it comes to events and festivals. Depending on weather conditions, the sycamore, oak, and maple trees just north of Sedona in Oak Creek Canyon begin to change colors.

Events to check out:

  • Sedona Arts Festival: This arts festival showcases more than 125 juried artists, music, food, raffles, and a KidZone.
  • Sedona Plein Air Festival: Attend workshops, listen to keynote speakers, and watch plein air artist at work at the Sedona Plein Air Festival.
  • Slide Rock Fall Fest: Also known as the Sedona Apple Festival, this annual event held at Slide Rock State Park features u-pick apples, games, entertainment, vendors, and displays.
  • Red Rocks Oktoberfest: Held at Posse Grounds Park, this Oktoberfest celebrates with craft beer, food trucks, and live music.

November

You’ll want to pack a jacket as temperatures top off in the mid-60s during the day and edge towards freezing at night. By now, leaves on the trees in Sedona are changing, and crowds begin to thin at the end of the month.

Events to check out:

  • Sedona Mountain Bike Festival: A this three-day event includes a mountain bike expo, bike demonstrations, a beer garden, live music, and of course, single track rides.

December

Winter arrives with highs in the mid-50s and the possibility of snow at higher elevations. Most of December’s events focus on the holidays, including Sedona’s annual tree lighting ceremony.

Events to check out:

  • The Festival of Lights: Celebrate the lighting of more than 6,000 luminarias at Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village with live music, cider, and a visit from Santa. 
Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is the best time to visit Sedona?

    The best time to visit Sedona is in the spring (March to May) and during the fall (September to November), especially if you want to hike and mountain bike in Red Rock Country.

  • What is the high season in Sedona?

    Spring is Sedona's busiest season, with average temperatures ranging from 65 degrees F to 80 degrees F. Expect lodging prices to be high and book your activities well in advance.

  • What is the Sedona known for?

    People are drawn to the Sedona area for its beautiful red rock scenery and evergreen vegetation. It's is also internationally known as a spiritual mecca, complete with several vortex sites (centers of energy conducive to healing, meditation, and self-exploration).

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