* www.visitsedona.com *
The infamous Red Rock Country and New Age capital of Arizona, Sedona is a hotspot for vortexes, hiking, camping, rock climbing, and sightseeing. It is a four seasons playground with venues for tourists, sightseers, new agers, outdoor sports, archaeology, history, art, culture, and high-end shopping. Got some money to blow? its a notorious place for the triple-fold price tag. The amazing pictorial backdrop makes up for that though as you’ll never run out of things to do in this magical wonderland. Red rock monoliths surround the city with picturesque monuments at Coffeepot, Thunder Mountain, and Cathedral, and Oak Creek Canyon. Hiking, Biking, atvs, jeep/hummer excursions, rock climbing, and outdoor sports abound here. First fridays host Sedona’s prominent art galleries with receptions, openings, and demonstrations. Sedona is a very small tourist town with a population of about 10,000 (ca. 2010 census). It is a geological playground with its array of red sandstone formations that draw in photographers from near and far. These red rocks bring in the new-agers, spiritualists, hikers, bikers, and mountain climbers as well. The town was named after Theodore Carlton Schnebly’s wife “Sedona Arabella Miller Schnebly” all of the first postmaster family of the area. The first humans to come to the area date from between 11,500 and 9,000 B.C.E. determined by discoveries of Clovis points in Honanki were hunting big game in the area. Pre-historic Archaic people were inhabiting the Verde Valley by 9,000 B.C.E. until 300 C.E. (Common Era) for not fully determined reasons (could have been warfare, droughts, viruses, etc.) They left behind some rock art at Palatki and Honanki to add to the mysterious tale left up to interpretation. The Sinagua entered the Verde Vally about 650 C.E. bringing to the area pottery, basketry, masonry, and architecture. The pueblos, cliff dwellings, and rock art are a major attraction to Archaeologists visiting the area. Honanki, Palatki, Montezuma Well, Tuzigoot, and Montezuma Castle are hot spots for the historian/archaeology tourist. The Sinagua left the area around 1400 C.E. most likely moving to the Hopi mesas in Arizona and the Zuni Pueblos in New Mexico. The Yavapai (arrive 1300 CE) and Apache (1450 CE) moved in from 1300 C.E. to 1450 C.E. (most likely driving out the Sinagua). These tribes were forcibly removed by 1876 C.E. from Euro-American homesteaders and settlers to the San Carlos Indian Reservation 180 miles southeast. The whites marched 1,500 of them during mid-winter losing many along the trail. Survivors were interned, the children sent to Euro-American schools, or orphanages. The populations were intentionally inter-bred out. The first White settler was John J. Thompson who moved to Oak Valley Canyon in 1876 C.E. as ranchers as farmers. They grew alot of peaches and apples in the area. The first post office was established in 1902 C.E. and the area’s population was about 55. By the 1950’s the population reached 155. Vacation homes and retirement centers were set up by the 1950’s. By 1956 the Chapel of the Holy Cross was built rising 250 feet out of a 1,000 foot red rock cliff attracting many spiritualists and New Agers to the area. Hollywood film productions came into the area by the 1970’s attracting more with productions such as Zane Gray’s Call of the Canyon, Kit Carson, Joseph P. Kennedy’s Doomed movie superstar Fred Thomson, many B movie westerns, Hopalong Cassidy, Johnny Guitar, Desert Fury, Blood on the Moon, Angel and the Badman, 3:10 to Yuma, Der Kaiser von Kalifornien (Nazi Western with Adolf Hitler), Stagecoach, Leave Her to Heaven, Broken Arrow, Hollywood Ten, and many other films depicting the area as either Utah, California, Texas, and Canadian border regions. So much film production took place here that it was called “Arizona’s Little Hollywood”. Sedona is home to many festivals including Sedona Bluegrass Festival, Sedona International Film Fest, Sedona Jazz on the Rocks, Sedona Marathon, Chamber Music Sedona, GumptionFest, NORAZ poets,and the Sedona Miracle Annual Charity Fundraiser. A signature stamp New Age tourist industry broke out in Sedona in 1987 during the Harmonic Convergence event put on by Jose Arguelles. Since then, New Agers have been converging on the area in increasing droves each year. Urban myths and spiritualist theory claim spiritual vortexes are centered in the Red Rock paradise most notably at Bell Rock, Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, and Boynton Canyon. Lots of new age shops, businesses, and healing setups are established in the area since.
In June of 2006 a wildfire broke in the area devastating over 4,300 acres on Brins Mesa, Wilson Mountain, and Oak Creek Canyon with over 6 million in damages to Sedona.