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Camping in Sedona

Janet Serra
Oak Creek & Cathedral Rock, Sedona AZ

Sedona's striking red rock buttes, canyons, creeks, mesas, and hoodoos that loom majestically against the blue desert sky make a perfect backdrop for camping. The Sedona area offers a variety of camping experiences from resort RV parks to tent camping that will suit the needs of just about every visitor to the region.

Getting Situated

Sedona is a two-and-a-half hour drive from Phoenix, Arizona. Flagstaff is 27 miles to the north. U.S. Highway 89A and State Route 179 are Sedona's main highways and the point where they intersect is used as a navigational point by many visitors. The popular attractions include red rocks that dot the desert landscape, Oak Creek Canyon that runs alongside Highway 89A for 16 miles, Boynton Canyon, Cathedral Rocks and the many hiking trails that wind their way through this amazing landscape.

The National Forest Service offers most of the campgrounds for Oak Creek Canyon and the Sedona area with campgrounds located in Coconino National Forest and the Prescott National Forest. There are also several private RV parks in Verde Valley.

Plenty of Camping Options

Sedona offers a variety of camping experiences and amenities in a variety of settings, perfect for singles, couples and families. The campgrounds listed below are typically open during the months of April to mid-November; others are open year-round but offer fewer amenities in the off season. Summer and weekends are the busiest time in this area so it is best to travel mid-week. If you are visiting in the summer or on a weekend, plan your time carefully and arrive early.

Lo Lo Mai Springs

Lo Lo Mai Springs, located at 11505 East Lo Lo Mai Road in Cornville, Arizona, offers cabins, tent and RV camping on Oak Creek. This campground offers many amenities including three bathroom and shower facilities, swimming pool, spa, shuffleboard court, horseshoe pits, convenience store, club house, free DVD library, a children's playground and a laundry service. Cell service is not available but there is a Verizon Hub that works in the office and clubhouse area. Also notable is that there is no cable TV because signals are blocked by the trees.

Reservations are for guests that have paid in advance. Visitors may be allowed when the park is not at capacity; however, a day use fee will be charged. Visitors are not allowed on holiday weekends. Check-in time is between noon and dark for RV and tent sites and between 3:00 p.m. and dark for cabins. Check out time is 11 a.m. Outdoor radios may not be used on the property and quiet hours are from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. Rates are $65 for an RV site and $42 for a tent site. Cabin rentals start at $142.

There are a three cabin options that run from 120 square feet to 250 square feet, offering air conditioning, heaters and basic kitchen supplies. Tent sites are situated along a ¾-mile stretch of Oak Creek and are sheltered under cottonwood and sycamore trees. Each site has a fire ring and picnic table. RV sites are situated along Oak Creek and have water and 30-amp electrical service (some have 50 amps). Some that are a bit farther from the creek also have sewer hookups and patio slabs. All RV sites have a fire ring and picnic table. Note that access is limited to RVs of no more than 40 feet.

Lo Lo Mai Springs has a 3.5 average rating on TripAdvisor with the most recent reviews finding the campground setting lovely with good bathroom facilities. The recurring pet peeve is the lack of Wi-Fi access and some found that the staff were rude.

Pine Flat Campground

Pine Flat Campground
Pine Flat Campground

Located at 12240 AZ-89A in Sedona, this campground is in Coconino National Forest. Pine Flat Campground is ideal for those who crave outdoor adventure. Campers here can fish in a stream stocked with trout, hike trails in search of birds, go mountain biking and afterward go for a swim. Amenities at the park include water, grills, fire rings, picnic areas and vault toilets. No radios are allowed outside and quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.; note that running generators is not permitted during quiet hours. Pets are allowed but must be kept on a leash.

Tent camping and camping trailers are allowed here. The campground remains open until mid-November. Of the 56 campsites, 18 can be reserved. The best time to secure a campsite is between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. on non-holiday Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Campsites are $22 a night for up to eight people per site, a second vehicle is $10 and firewood is $7 per bag. Senior and Access Interagency passes are accepted for a 50% discount on single-site camping fees. Other Interagency passes are not accepted

A highlight here is that many of the campsites are located on Oak Creek, and none are very far from it. This campground is minutes away from Slide Rock State Park, listed by Life Magazine as one of America's ten most beautiful swimming holes. Most visitors to Pine Flat Campground found this to be a beautiful and peaceful camping site. Just be careful not to get a site that is downwind from the bathrooms.

Rancho Sedona RV Park

For those that like to camp in the heart of a city, but with a touch of wilderness, this RV park is a great choice. Offering fully shaded sites, Rancho Sedona is located in the center of Sedona on 135 Bear Wallow Lane next to Oak Creek. It is within walking distance of Sedona's galleries, shops and restaurants. A highlight here is that this park is for RVs only; tent camping is not allowed.

Check in time is 12 noon and check out time is no later than 11 a.m. Quiet time is from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Campers cannot hang their laundry outside, and excessive noise and the washing of vehicles is not allowed. Sewer hoses cannot lie on the ground unless you are dumping and as mandated by the Health Department you must unhook and put your sewer hose away as soon as you have completed dumping.

Site amenities include full hook up, picnic tables, electricity, water, sewer, digital cable TV and Wi-Fi. Partial sites have picnic tables, electricity, water and Wi-Fi. Most sites come with cement patios. There are also analog-to-digital converter boxes available with a refundable $40 cash deposit.

Rates are seasonal for two people and range from $40 to $80 per night. There is a $5 charge for each additional person aged 5-17 per night, a $10 charge for each additional person over 18 and $2 per dog. A monthly fee of $750 is available for adults only. RV Park reviews are generally high, noting the site is well maintained and conveniently located, though it can be expensive.

Oak Creek Mobilodge

Tlaquepaque
Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village

Located on 1156 Highway 179 in Sedona, Oak Creek Mobilodge offers easy access RV sites on the banks of Oak Creek shaded by cottonwood and sycamore trees. Located in a setting of great natural beauty, this park is a short drive away from Hillside Plaza, Tlaquepaque, art galleries, shops, and some of Sedona's finest restaurants. Campers will enjoy swimming and fishing in Oak Creek, picnics, and easy access to nearby trails for hiking and mountain biking.

This park has both large and small pull through sites in addition to big rig access. Amenities at the park include a laundry room, water, sewerage, Wi-Fi and 20/30/50 amp sites. Monthly rates for a full hook-up and up to a 40-foot rig (slide outs, self contained, pull through or back-in) are $525 regularly and $495 for seniors 62 and over with AAA, AARP or Good Sam memberships.

Reviews of the Oak Creek Mobilodge note that there are not a lot of transient sites available because most sites are taken up by permanent trailers; some called it rundown. Big rigs may have difficulty in navigating into the park because of the steep drive in. On a positive note, it is within walking distance of shops and restaurants in Tlaquepaque Village and the hook-ups and Wi-Fi work well.

Page Springs Resort - Sunrise Resort

Part of the Sunrise Resort chain, Page Springs Resort is located at 1951 North Page Springs Road in Cornville on the banks of Oak Creek. It offers tent and RV camping sites and booking is available online. At certain times of the year, membership is not required to camp here; check the website for details. The average cost is $40 a night.

Resort amenities include a clubhouse, creek swimming, fishing, hiking, horseshoes, a playground, shower facilities, electrical hook-ups, big rig access, restrooms, showers, water, sewerage and Wi-Fi. Throughout the peak season, this resort campground offers a number of special event activities such as an ice cream social, crafts, bingo, campers breakfast, horseshoe tournaments and potluck dinners. Visitors to the park can explore nearby Jerome Ghost Town and King Gold Mine, the town of Sedona, Tuzigoot Indian Ruins and Montezuma Castle.

Reviews on Yelp noted that this is a basic campground that offers shaded sites and it is difficult to get into with a big rig. Visitors also note that water pressure is not good for an RV when hooked up. The price was considered reasonable for amenities offered.

Cave Springs Campground

Cave Springs Campground
Cave Springs Campground

Located at Oak Creek and popular because of its proximity to Sedona (13 miles away) and Slide Rock Park, Cave Springs Campground is located at 11345 North State Route 89A and is open from March through November. It offers 82 shaded sites, 11 of which can be reserved; there is one tent-only area. A highlight of this park is the access to many popular hiking trails with a bird's-eye view of the canyon.

Campsites are situated in a heavily wooded canyon in Coconino National Forest. Many sites are located on the banks of Oak Creek and shaded by ponderosa pine trees. Radios or amplified devices are not allowed. This campground does not offer hookups. No horses are allowed in the campground and motorbikes may only be used for entering or leaving a campsite. A highlight here is that many of the campsites are located in a shady stand of ponderosa pines in the upper reaches of the canyon.

Cave Springs Campground offers coin operated showers, vault type restrooms, drinking water, picnic tables, fire pits and grills for cooking. Small RVs and motor homes up to 36-feet are allowed. Campsites are $22 per night and reservations must be made three days before and up to six months prior to arrival by visiting Recreation.gov. It is noted that the best time to reserve a site is between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. on non-holiday Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Summer and weekends are the busiest time here.

Campendium found that this was in a narrow forested and beautiful canyon. The sites are spacious. On the negative side, some reported highway noise, and that there is no cell service. Approach the campground from the south from Sedona.

Manzanita Campground

Manzanita Campground
Manzanita Campground

If you are looking for a small, quiet, tent-only campground open year round, then Manzanita Campground (5900 North Highway 89A in Sedona) located along Oak Creek in the Coconino National Forest is an excellent choice. Camp amid ash and box elder trees and enjoy swimming, fishing, bird watching and hiking in this small intimate campground. A highlight here is that anglers can cast a line to fish for trout from their creek side campsite.

The campsites here are fairly close together and tend to fill up fast because there are only 18 sites. Each site has a picnic table and a campfire ring and grill; wood is available for purchase. Coin-operated showers ($4 minimum) are available at Cave Springs Campground just up the road. There are no hook-ups here and radios or horses are allowed.

Manzanita Campground has rave reviews about the camping locations by the creek, the helpfulness of staff and the great location near many notable area attractions. Arizona Magazine notes this campground is popular and that the name means little apple.

Activities Not to Miss

Many visitors come to Sedona to experience the great outdoors and see the natural beauty of the famous red rocks that embellish the landscape. Visitors will find something for everyone in the Sedona area from shopping and swimming to Native American culture.

Cathedral Rock Trailhead
Cathedral Rock Trailhead
  • One of the most popular activities is hiking. This area has more than 100 hiking trails to explore from full day hikes to one-hour rambles. The Cathedral Rock Trail offers beautiful views of red rock formations. Go on this hike as early as possible to avoid the crowds.
  • If you like Native American culture, don't miss the hike to Palatki Ruins for a glimpse of what life was like in the red rocks between A.D. 1150 and 1350. These ancient cliff dwellings were once the home of the Hopi tribe and are now among the largest cave dwellings in the area.
  • For visitors who need a break from hiking and crave some retail therapy, don't miss the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village. This outdoor shopping village is located at the intersection of Routes 89A and 179 and evokes a traditional Mexican village. The quaint cobblestone streets wend their way past galleries, shops and restaurants.
  • Slide Rock Park is a highlight of the area that was named because of its slippery creek bed near the original homestead that now acts as a natural water slide. After slipping and sliding down this natural water slide, save time to explore the old farmstead and the various pools that are the perfect place to cool off on a hot summer day. Slide Rock State Park is located about seven miles north of Sedona along Route 89A. Entrance fees vary, but you should expect to pay between $20 and $30 per vehicle between May and September and $10 between October and April. Pedestrians and bicyclists owe $3 each.
  • Cathedral Rock is perhaps one of the most famous of the Red Rock formations and it is located in Red Rock State Park. This 286-acre nature preserve is located about 10 miles from the intersection of Routes 89A and 179 along Oak Creek. The visitor center has exhibits and special programming like guided nature walks and moonlight hikes. Entrance fees are $7 for adults (ages 14 and older), $4 for youths (ages 7 to 13) and free for children 6 and younger.
  • Go on a Vortex tour of Boynton Canyon Vortex, Cathedral Rock Vortex and Bell Rock Vortex.

Enjoy the Natural Beauty

Sedona offers visitors the chance to get away from it all in a setting of great natural beauty, a setting where cell phone reception is intermittent and there are rules for children and adults alike about "quiet time." In this work-a-day world, Sedona offers lovers of the great outdoors a myriad of opportunities to hike, spot colorful birds, swim in refreshingly cool creeks, talk quietly by a fire pit and experience the red rock beauty of nature in America's southwest.

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Camping in Sedona