There’s no shortage of places to travel in Arizona, and if there is one thing Sedona, Arizona, isn’t lacking, it’s tour companies. You can explore the red rocks, vortexes and sites of interest from a variety of vehicles ranging from hummers to jeeps. I took in the sights via the Sedona Trolley, which is considered one of the premier tour companies in the city.
The company offers two different touring options, both of which I had the opportunity to do thanks to the Sedona Chamber of Commerce:
The 55-minute Sedona Highlights Tour winds through Sedona from the popular uptown area past the gallery district and ends at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a picturesque church that sits high on the hillside, tucked into the red rocks that surround it. Along the way, the tour guide provides facts, figures and insights into the history, economy and culture of Sedona. The trolley stops at the church for 15-20 minutes and visitors can snap photos from the outside or enjoy the intimate atmosphere of the chapel from the inside (even with all the people taking photos, it’s still impressively serene). From there, the trolley makes its way back to the Uptown Trolley Depot, where the tour comes to an end.
Called the Seven Canyons Scenic Tour, this 55-minute tour makes its way out of town and into the natural setting that surrounds Sedona. On the way to Dry Creek Valley, the tour guide points out rocks that have been named or have provided inspiration for artists and other noteworthy people. (Side note: Did you know that Walt Disney wrote Snow White and Fantasia in Sedona?) The tour stops in two places for just a few minutes in each spot for photo opportunities before heading back to the Uptown Trolley Depot, where the tour comes to an end.
The trolley itself is spacious with clear, plastic sides that roll up in the summer but provide a breaker from the wind in the winter. I sat in the front by the real windows for one tour and in the back near the roll-up windows for the second tour and was warmer in the front, but both areas provide great views as the trolley is moving.
Our driver was fantastic. In addition to providing facts, he provided just enough cheesy humor to make the tour fun without going overboard. He also pointed out his favorite places to eat as well as tips on when certain places were closed or which places were best for taking photographs.
I love the idea of the Sedona Trolley offering two different tours. The Sedona Highlights Tour was a good choice for the people in our party who spent the day outside of town, hiking and exploring the natural parts of the area while the Seven Canyons Tour provided a chance for the shoppers and city dwellers a quick peek into the wild side of Sedona.
Both tours begin and end at the Uptown Trolley Depot. Tours run on the hour, alternating between the two (starting with the Seven Canyon tour at 9:00 a.m. and ending with the Sedona Highlights tour at 4:00 p.m.). There are additional Seven Canyon tours during the summer months. Sedona Trolley chartered tours are available for special events. Free parking is available behind the shopping center next to the depot.
Ticket prices for adults are $12.00 each, but if you want to take both tours, you only pay $22.00. It’s money well spent for those who want to hit the highlights but don’t have a lot of time to make their own way around town. It was particularly crowded when we were in Sedona, and we did spend some time sitting in traffic, which was a bummer, but the guide still provided us with the full tour.
This is where my last piece of advice comes in: Because there is only one trolley in circulation (not one trolley per tour type), as each tour falls behind (even if it’s just a few minutes each), it is very possible for later afternoon tours to begin much later than anticipated. I took the 4:00 Sedona Highlights tour, which didn’t even board until 4:30. Several people opted not to take the tour because they would have missed dinner reservations. By the time we reached the chapel, we only had five minutes to check it out because the church closes at 5:00. For the best tour experience, I recommend you reserve your tickets in the morning for an early tour.