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Nestled amid striking red rock formations in Arizona, Sedona Airport is one of the most scenic landing sites in America. This desert oasis offers jaw-dropping views the moment you descend upon its runway.
Surrounded by the stunning topography of Sedona’s upper Sonoran Desert, it’s easy to see why this airport provides an unforgettable travel experience.
Sedona Airport sits at an elevation of 4,500 feet and is enveloped by the area’s iconic sandstone formations. To the north, you can see Coffee Pot Rock rising high above the desert landscape. It got its name from its unique shape that resembles an old drip coffee pot. Adjacent to Coffee Pot Rock is Snoopy Rock, with its beagle-like profile and a spire that looks just like Snoopy’s nose.
To the east lies Bell Rock with its distinctive bell shape and large size making it one of the most recognizable formations. The massive red rocks look as if they have been meticulously carved by hand. Their smooth rounded edges create a silhouette against the blue skies that is instantly identifiable as the Sedona desert.
Scenic Approaches and Views
The approaches to Sedona Airport offer amazing aerial views of the red rocks from all directions. Pilots and passengers can take in the full expanse of the beautiful topography during arrival and departure.
As you descend towards the airport, your aircraft may need to maneuver gently around the rocky pinnacles. One moment you’re gliding past a 300-foot stone column and the next you’re sailing over a mesa top. It’s an adventure in itself navigating the topography surrounding the landing strip.
Inside the terminal, the observation area provides panoramic views of the canyons and formations beyond. There are many excellent spots for plane and helicopter watching. Gaze down the runway and you can see aircraft departing with stunning backdrops of the iconic red rocks.
Popular Tourist Destination
Over 300,000 tourists fly into Sedona Airport each year to explore the striking landscape up close. Jeep, helicopter, airplane, hot air balloon, and off-road tours depart daily from the airport grounds. Guided tours allow visitors to marvel at the rock formations and canyons from new perspectives.
Pink Jeep Tours takes travelers off-road through the rough desert terrain to ancient Native American cliff dwellings and archaeological sites.
Sedona Air Tours provides a bird’s eye view of the giant stone monoliths and slot canyons for a breathtaking experience. They even offer “Doors-Off” helicopter tours so you can feel the wind in your face as you soar over the rock formations.
Visitors also come to hike the scenic trails through the red rocks right from the airport. Both Bell Rock Pathway and Red Rock Crossing offer moderate hikes between the iconic Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock. These trails showcase the majestic desert environment with views into Oak Creek Canyon.
Wildlife Encounters at Sedona Airport
In addition to scenic desert views, you may also spot unique Sonoran wildlife around Sedona Airport. Rabbits scurry across the grounds while roadrunners dart after lizards.
Raven, falcons, and golden eagles soar on thermal winds above the runways. Herds of pronghorn antelope can even be seen grazing just beyond the airport fence.
Sedona Airport provides a chance to experience desert fauna against the backdrop of striking red rock vistas. Keep your eyes peeled when visiting America’s most picturesque landing area and you just may have a memorable wildlife encounter.
Sedona Airport was constructed in the 1950s, with the first runway simply consisting of compacted dirt. It was originally named Sedona Air Terminal and catered mainly to small private aircraft.
In the early days the terminal was a simple wooden shack. Pilots had to physically push their planes away from the hut to depart. In 1959 Bonanza Airlines landed the first commercial airliner at Sedona, a Douglas DC-3. That year the runway was paved, measuring just over 5,000 feet.
Over the decades, ongoing improvements have allowed Sedona Airport to serve major carriers and accommodate increased tourism. In 1989 the runway was expanded to its current length of 6,339 feet. This renovation enabled larger jets to fly in. A new terminal building opened in 2008 with modern amenities and restaurants inside.
Today Sedona Airport hosts over 100,000 flight operations per year, from Cessnas to Boeing 757 airliners. It serves as the gateway to the scenic red rocks for visitors from around the world.
While the Sedona Airport can be reached from any number of local lodging establishments, here are two of the closest:
Just five minutes from Sedona Airport lies Sky Ranch Lodge, a stunning hotel situated right among the red rocks. Guests can take in spectacular views of the Chapel Rock, Bell Rock, and Courthouse formations from their private balconies. Amenities include a seasonal outdoor pool, hot tub, tennis courts, and free shuttle service to nearby hiking trails and attractions. Watch the planes come and go overhead as you relax at Sky Ranch Lodge.
Another excellent hotel option just minutes from the airport is Sky Rock Sedona. Guests enjoy private balconies showcasing stunning views of the iconic formations. Onsite amenities include a restaurant with southwestern cuisine, an infinity pool, spa services, and yoga classes. Sky Rock Sedona also offers complimentary shuttle service to and from Sedona Airport for easy accessibility. Staying at this premier resort allows you to experience Sedona’s magnificent scenery with modern comforts and conveniences.
Both Sky Ranch Lodge and Sky Rock Sedona put you close to the scenic flights, tours, and trails just minutes from the landing strip.
With its naturally stunning surroundings, Sedona Airport offers one of America’s most remarkable travel experiences. The views of sandstone towers, cliffs, and mesa tops inspire as you arrive and depart. Sedona Airport’s unique geography and scenic approaches showcase the area’s quintessential desert landscape.
After visiting its picturesque landing zone and witnessing the iconic red rocks first-hand, it’s easy to see why Sedona Airport deserves the title of America’s most scenic. This destination provides lasting memories of the beauty of Arizona’s high desert.