Is camping in Sedona on your bucket list? Sedona is one of the most unreal places you will ever visit and camping in Sedona AZ is a great way to commune with nature and be steps away from natural beauty! Sedona is easy to get to from Phoenix, Flagstaff, or even Las Vegas so it is the perfect stop along an Arizona road trip.
If you love sleeping under the starts then Sedona camping will be a real treat for you! Before you go, there are a few things to know to make sure your trip is memorable and safe. When in doubt, always consult a local Sedona ranger station to get any additional questions answered before you head off to camp in Sedona!
5 Things To Know Before Camping In Sedona
#1. Sedona is actually located at a high elevation so the nights may be cold
Even though Sedona is a desert, it is located at an elevation of 4,300 feet above sea level. This means that if you are camping in Sedona, you will want to be prepared for warmer days and cool nights. Even if you are visiting Sedona in the summertime, plan for the nights to be cooler. This means dressing in layers, packing warm blankets for sleeping, and making sure you have enough wood for a campfire.
If you are camping in Sedona during the winter, you can expect snow! Winter isn’t the most popular time of the year for Sedona camping as a result of the snow, but be prepared if you decide this is when you want to visit! Although Sedona is technically in the desert, the city and surrounding natural areas are covered in snow during the winter. It isn’t a lot of snow, just a dusting, but it will make the experience of camping in Sedona just a little bit different.
#2. If you are camping in Sedona during the summer be prepared for rain and thunderstorms
Beleive it or not, mid-end of summer in Sedona is actually the rainy season! You may not expect this because you would think Sedona is located in the desert and it will be hot and dry during the summer but that simply isn’t true! If you are camping in Sedona, particularly in July or August, be prepared for rain and lightning. Rain is the last thing you want as part of your Sedona camping experience, so be sure to plan accordingly by bringing tarps, waterproof bags for your clothing, and more.
You may even want to consider camping in Sedona before the rainy season so you can avoid summer thunderstorms altogether. If you are looking to go this route, choose an earlier month in the year like April or a later month like October when the weather is still nice but there isn’t such a huge risk of getting rained out. Rest assured that camping in Sedona is very popular and many people do it a year, we just want you to be prepared in the event that you didn’t know Sedona’s rainy season was in the summer!
#3. Free camping in Sedona is allowed, but only in certain designated areas
If you are looking to camp off-road anywhere in Sedona, you are not in luck. In years past, people camping in Sedona have started numerous wildfires and as a result, backcountry camping is very limited. If you want to camp in Sedona in the backcountry, the locations are usually away from water sources or in locations that aren’t suitable for camping. Although it isn’t technically in the city proper, there are places for camping near Sedona that allow you to camp for free and not in a campground.
Free camping near Sedona is located at the Schnebly Hill Vista and I-17. This is where you can camp on your own but be sure to look for the designated “camping allowed” signs to be sure you aren’t camping anywhere illegal. Free camping in Sedona is essentially located east of the Schnebly Hill Vista so simply plug that location into your GPS or look for it on your map or on the roadway and you are good to go!
In addition, the Coconino National Forest offers more remote or at least less-crowded camping options if you are looking to get away from the crowds.
#4. Most campgrounds in Sedona are really not that remote
If you are looking for remote campgrounds, Sedona really is not the place for you. Most Sedona campgrounds are located close to the city of Sedona or within a few miles so you are never too far away from a store. There is camping in Oak Creek Canyon right outside of Sedona, but even still, the canyon is next to one of the main roads out of Sedona so you are hardly in the middle of nowhere.
That being said, camping in Sedona is still a beautiful way to be near nature! Although you are located a few miles away from town, campgrounds in Sedona make you feel secluded and you receive stunning views of the famous red rocks! Yes, you will most likely have neighbors as backcountry camping is not really popular or encouraged in many areas of Sedona, but the experience of sleeping under the stars is still just as magnificent!
If you are looking for RV camping in Sedona you are in luck as many Sedona campgrounds have enough space to accommodate RV’s of all sizes. In addition, there are also cabins in Sedona you can rent if you aren’t quite into tent camping but still want to experience the thrill of being close to nature in Sedona! There are many ways to camp in Sedona so make sure to choose the one that best fits your travel style!
#5. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen and sunglasses and to pack lots of water when camping in Sedona
Since you will be camping Sedona, you will be spending a lot of time outdoors. You will be hiking in Sedona, cooking outside, setting up your tent, and overall enjoying nature. As a result, your skin and eyes will be exposed to the sun. Although this should go without saying, Sedona is a desert environment even though it experiences rainstorms and snow!
The light reflects off the red rocks and the red ground and can easily give you a sunburn and damage your eyes. You may think that sunscreen should only be reserved for the beach, but make sure to pack extra when camping in Sedona. In addition, make sure to pack more water than you think you should need! Consider bringing one gallon of water per person per day, especially if you are camping in Sedona during the summer. The beating sun is no joke and you need to protect your skin and hydrate your body!
Have you ever gone camping in Sedona? What was your favorite part of the experience? Let us know about your plans to camp in Sedona in the comments!