How to Travel from Phoenix to Sedona by Bus, Shuttle, and Car

Sedona road

 Melanie Hobson/Getty Images

With its red rock landscapes and upscale resorts, Sedona is one of the most popular getaways from Phoenix. There are three main ways to get from Phoenix to Sedona and vice versa: bus, shuttle, and car. Driving the 116 miles between the two cities yourself is by far the easiest and quickest way to get to Sedona from Phoenix, although it can be frustrating to drive when there’s an accident on I-17. Another option is to hire a tour guide who will take you to the area’s highlights and back in one day. 

Here’s what you need to know about getting from Phoenix to Sedona. (Note: If you're traveling from Scottsdale to Sedona, you can follow the guide below, as Phoenix is about a 15-minute drive from Scottsdale and the route is the same.)

How to Travel from Phoenix to Sedona
  Time Cost Best For
Bus 2 hours  from $10  Budget conscious travelers
Shuttle 2 hours  from $50 Those staying at a Phoenix area resort
Car 2 hours  116 miles Travelers who want to maximize their time

What is the Cheapest Way to Get From Phoenix to Sedona?

Traveling by car is usually the cheapest way to get from Phoenix to Sedona. However, if you are on a budget and would need to rent a car in order to make the drive, you probably will want to opt for a bus or shuttle instead; renting a car in Phoenix can be extremely expensive, especially during the winter and spring. To get to Sedona, take I-17 north to Exit 298 and turn left on SR 179.

What is the Fastest Way to Get From Phoenix to Sedona?

Driving is also the fastest way to get from Phoenix to Sedona. It takes about two hours to get from downtown Phoenix to Sedona, depending on traffic and accidents on I-17.

While you’ll be on the same route and subject to the same traffic delays regardless of whether you take a car, bus, or shuttle, buses and shuttles have designated pick-up times and may drop off or pick up other passengers; as such, this could add to your travel time.

Is There a Bus That Goes from Phoenix to Sedona?

German-based FlixBus has a direct route from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport/44th Street Station to Sedona. However, service is only available on Saturdays and Sundays. Note that Greyhound Bus does not have a route from Phoenix to Sedona, direct or otherwise.

Is There a Shuttle That Goes from Phoenix to Sedona?

Groome Transportation offers daily shuttle service from Phoenix to Sedona. Generally, you will be sharing the shuttle with other passengers who may be picked up from other points in Phoenix—including Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and airport hotels—and dropped off at various locations in Sedona. The shuttle may also make stops in Cottonwood, Camp Verde, and the Village of Oak Creek. 

What's the Most Scenic Route to Sedona?

Driving into Sedona along SR 179 is scenic enough, affording views of the red rocks and Chapel of the Holy Cross as you approach. If you have the extra time and want an even more scenic route, though, take I-17 all the way to Flagstaff. Watch for Exit 337, and follow signs directing you to South 89A. This winding, two-lane stretch is one of the most beautiful drives in the state, particularly as you near Oak Creek Canyon. Make a point to stop at the overlook for breathtaking canyon views before snaking down to its floor.  

Day Tours From Phoenix to Sedona

If you want a more personal experience, book a tour of Sedona with Detours American West. A shuttle will pick you up in the Phoenix area between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., and stop for a tour of Montezuma Castle National Monument on the way to Sedona. Once in Sedona, you can explore the uptown area as well as add a Pink Jeep tour, visit to Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village, and other activities to your itinerary. Rates start at $139 per person; you’ll be back in Phoenix by 6 p.m.

When Is the Best Time to Travel to Sedona?  

Fall is arguably the best time to visit Sedona. Temperatures during the day average 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and if you head north on SR 89A through Oak Creek Canyon, you may see fall colors. Spring in Sedona is also pleasant, but it can get busy as it's peak season for out-of-state tourists.

If you plan to visit in the summer, bear in mind that it will be 90-plus degrees and probably too hot to hike in Red Rock Country. In the winter, don’t be surprised by chilly days and the occasional snowfall. 

In general, weekends are very busy, and I-17 to SR 179 can be congested, especially at the multiple roundabouts leading into the city. To avoid the crowds and traffic, visit earlier in the week. 

Oak Creek Canyon
GaryKavanagh/Getty Images

Getting Around Sedona

If you choose to take the bus or shuttle, note that Sedona doesn’t have public transportation. However, the Sedona Trolley offers two scenic tours of the area. Tour A makes a 15-minute stop at the Chapel of the Holy Cross while Tour B takes you to Boynton Canyon. While these tours are not hop-on, hop-off tours, they are a good way to see some of the outlying sites. Both tours are 55 minutes and cost $19.95.

What Is There to Do in Sedona?

Sedona is known for its outdoor activities. Plan to spend some time exploring the beauty of the red rocks by hiking, mountain biking, hopping on a Pink Jeep tour, or off-roading. (ATVs and Jeeps are available for rent by the day or half-day.) For a more spiritual experience, visit a vortex, a pocket of energy believed to aid in prayers, healing, and meditation.  

In the city, browse the art galleries and boutique shops in the uptown area and Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village. Or, make a pilgrimage to the architecturally impressive Chapel of the Holy Cross. Between stops, break for lunch on a restaurant patio overlooking the postcard-worthy landscapes.

If you stay overnight at one of Sedona's resorts, book a spa treatment, and after dark, be sure to step outside to see the Milky Way and other celestial wonders. Sedona is one of the few International Dark Sky Communities in the world.

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