Humans have been looking into the heavens at night in the dark skies above Sedona, Arizona, for thousands of years. If you’re seeking the perfect place to gaze at the stars on a clear night, you won’t be disappointed with this popular destination.
Let’s Discuss Ways to Experience the Best Stargazing in Sedona
With its incredible red rock formations, dark sky community, and uninterrupted view of the Milky Way, Sedona is one of the best locations for stargazing in the United States. In this article, I’ll discuss where to go for the best stargazing in Sedona. Along with recommending the best places to stargaze in Sedona, I’ve included some tips for things to do while you’re enjoying this unique experience.
Note: for a more comprehensive look at what the area offers, check out my guide: Unique Things to Do in Sedona.
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Table of Contents
What makes Sedona stargazing so exceptional?
International Dark Sky Community Designation
Sedona has been designated as a Dark Sky Community by the International Dark-Sky Association, which means that the city has taken steps to limit light pollution and preserve the night sky. The prestigious Dark Sky Community Designation acknowledges that Sedona and the surrounding area is an ideal location for star gazing, with many places to go in and around Sedona offering uninterrupted views of the night sky.
The dark-sky preservation movement has been instrumental in encouraging awareness of the harmful effects of artificial light and establishing preserves, primarily in National Parks, for future generations to experience a lack of light pollution, much as the ancients did.
The unique red rock formations
Sedona’s red rock formations make great backdrops for stargazers at various locations. The red rocks reflect the light of the stars and add to the overall beauty as you enjoy the night sky. It’s a unique and beautiful experience that you won’t find anywhere else.
The Milky Way visibility
Its location in the Verde Valley means Sedona is the perfect place for an incredible evening of stargazing. It offers one of the best opportunities in the world for stargazing in that you can frequently see the Milky Way with your naked eye. The Milky Way Galaxy coils inward from the location our own solar system occupies on its outer spiral. It will certainly make you feel small to learn that we are only one of the galaxy’s more than 3000 solar systems.
This has to be one of the best stargazing experiences: star clusters, meteor showers, and other celestial objects can illuminate the Sedona night sky with a magnificent display. The Milky Way appears stunningly close, and stars appear brighter and more vivid in the clear skies.
Where are the best places to stargaze near Sedona?
Beaverhead Flat Scenic Overlook
One of the best places in Sedona to see the stars is the Beaverhead Flat Scenic Overlook. It’s located near Sedona yet away from the light of the city, and offers a fantastic view of the stars.
To get there, make your way south of Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek along the Red Rock Scenic Byway (State Highway AZ-179) and turn on Beaverhead Flats Road (78). Alternatively, you can head southwest of downtown Sedona on 89A toward Cottonwood. Take a left on E. Cornville Road (30), go through Cornville and then turn on Beaverhead Flat Road (78). The trailhead parking area is large and, with its distance from the city lights, it’s a great place for viewing the stars.
Two Trees Observation Area
Another great spot for stargazing near Sedona is the Two Trees Observing Area. This is a popular observation area located on the West Sedona Plateau. The area offers a stunning view of the night sky, with the red rocks in the background creating a beautiful contrast.
To get there, head toward Cottonwood on 89A, but turn right toward Diamonback Gulch on Forest 525 Rd. Make the approach with your lights off, and just stargaze from your vehicle. This is a wide open area with plenty of places to safely turn off. Access to Two Trees on foot requires a short hike on a dirt road, but it’s worth it for the view!
Jordan Trailhead Observing Area
Jordan Trailhead Observation Area is another one of the spots for Sedona stargazing that gets rave reviews. From the heart of Sedona, take Jordan Road north to West Park Ridge Drive and take a left. Go respectfully through the residential area to the end of West Park Ridge Drive where you’ll see the trailhead parking lot. You can actually park in one of the several parking areas set up for hikers. This location is known for its quiet and serenity, making it perfect for a peaceful evening under the stars.
What are the best stargazing tours in Sedona?
Stargazing tour companies in Sedona
If you’re not comfortable exploring Sedona’s stargazing spots on your own, choose a tour. Sedona tour companies offer guided tours with expert astronomer support and may provide telescopes or night vision goggles for a more in-depth view of the stars, as well as blankets for colder temperatures.
What to expect on a Sedona stargazing tour
A typical Sedona stargazing tour usually takes place in a remote location away from city lights. The tour guide will provide explanations for what you’re seeing in the sky.
The best stargazing tour packages in Sedona
Some of the best stargazing tour packages in Sedona include night vision experiences, where you can explore the night sky using night vision goggles, and off-road experiences that allow a more remote experience.
How can I go stargazing in Sedona on my own?
Recommended trailheads for stargazing
If you’re up for a little adventure or a private romantic evening, there are plenty of trailheads near Sedona that are perfect for stargazing. Some of our favorite spots are at trailheads which include the dirt road near Lizard Head, the area near the end of Dry Creek Road, and Verde Valley School Road.
Tips for the best stargazing in Sedona
When stargazing in Sedona, it’s important to bring a red light flashlight to preserve your night vision. Dress warmly, as it can get chilly in the desert at night, and be sure to bring plenty of water. Lastly, be respectful of the environment and residential neighborhoods, pack out what you pack in, and try not to disturb the wildlife and residents. Also, avoid using your car headlights or any other lights that may disturb your surroundings and others who park on the side of the road.
What are other things to do in Sedona along with stargazing?
The best places to stay for a stargazing trip to Sedona
If you want to stay overnight in Sedona, there are plenty of lodging options available. Some popular places to stay include Sedona Real Inn & Suites, L’Auberge de Sedona, and the Adobe Grand Villas. These accommodations offer fantastic views of the stars and are located in some of the best stargazing areas in Sedona.
For other options, click on and book using the links in this interactive map:
Night sky photography in Sedona
If you’re into photography, Sedona offers some of the most stunning opportunities for night sky photography in the world. With the unique red rocks in the foreground and the Milky Way in the background, there are endless opportunities for beautiful photos. While your cell phone may be adequate for daytime photography, you may want to consider more sophisticated gear.
Sedona’s astronomy events and activities
Sedona also offers a variety of events and activities for astronomy enthusiasts and professional astronomers in some of its best stargazing spots. These events include meteor shower-watching parties, full moon hikes, and lectures. Check listings on the Visit Sedona Calendar of Events which will have upcoming opportunities. Also, check the Sedona Public Library events page for special programs geared toward all ages, from young kids to adults.
Overall, Sedona is arguably the best place to star gaze in the United States. With its unique red rock formations, dark sky environment, and unparalleled views of the Milky Way, a stunning view of the night sky in Sedona is pretty much guaranteed. Whether you’re looking to explore Sedona’s stargazing spots on your own or take a guided tour to find the perfect spot in Sedona to see what you came for, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience under the skies of Sedona.
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