Scenic route from Phoenix to Sedona

If you are looking for a scenic drive, then pack your bags and get ready for a road trip because Phoenix to Sedona will not disappoint you. A typical road trip from Phoenix to Sedona should cost you just over 2 hours without unnecessary breaks. The route you will be taking on this journey will see you cover around 121 miles of smooth flowing road.

Start on the I-17 in Phoenix, and you will reach Sedona after going via the Red Rock Scenic Byway. While you are driving on this relaxing trip there, you must catch a gaze at some of the fantastic scenery along the way. You will visually experience places like the gorgeous Lake Pleasant, Montezuma Castle National Monument, and the Red Rock Scenic Byway’s sandstone formations, trails, and other landmarks.

For those in a hurry, it may seem more practical for you to attempt the drive in a single morning or afternoon. If you have time to spend, then it is a better idea to make regular pit stops along the way. This is because the route you will be driving has an exciting number of landmarks in the relatively short distance it covers.


Table Of Contents

Scenic route from Phoenix to Sedona

Phoenix, AZ

  • Travel Time & Distance: 1 hour 32 minutes — 94 mi

Montezuma Castle National Monument

  • Travel Time & Distance: 15 minutes — 11 mi

Red Rock Scenic Byway

  • Travel Time & Distance: 17 minutes — 14 mi

Schnebly Hill Road

  • Travel Time & Distance: 5 minutes — 1 mi

Sedona, AZ

– Travel Time & Distance: 6 minutes — 1 mi

Driving at an average speed of about 60mph will see you complete the task in about 2 hours 15 minutes. You can expect a total of 121 miles to be your total driving distance when you finish the journey. Driving at this speed for the entire length should typically set you back about $20.36 of fuel.

Black Canyon City

Black Canyon City is an old town that has been around since 1800. It will take you about 40 minutes of driving to reach there after leaving Lake Pleasant. You can use this location to stop enjoying the views, and the regroup. It is a very desert-like area meaning that you will not see much forestation. The barren nature of the land makes it perfect for trail biking. There are trails of up to 70 miles in this area.

It is advisable to spend around 15 minutes here before continuing your journey.

Agua Fria National Monument

Agua Fria National Monument is a magnificent preserve that spreads over a momentous distance of 113 square miles. It is home to almost 450 Native American structures with a rich history that you can enjoy while driving. Combine these structures with the two mesas and the Agua Fria River and canyon, and you have yourself a very visually appealing area to go by.

When driving by the preserve, if you are lucky, there is a chance the presence of some energetic wildlife will greet you. Bobcats, coyotes, mule deer, javelina are some of the most popular animals found in the area. You may be fortunate enough also to get the chance to see a wide variety of reptiles and birds. Agua Fria can be located off Interstate 17. It will take you close to 20 minutes to arrive north of Black Canyon City.

On your drive, you can spend 30 minutes to one hour here taking in the sights.


If you continue to drive another 1.5 hours east, you will come to Arcosanti, a bucket-list level sight. You won’t want to miss this contemporary and experimental community built-in 1970 by an Italian architect named Paolo Soleri. It is well thought to be one of the first eco-friendly buildings.

The buildings are incredibly unique and likely stick in your memory long after you leave.

Camp Verde

This cliff dwelling is truly magnificent to witness. Here you will be able to bask in the glory of a nearly 1,000-year-old geological formation. You should consider dedicating an hour to pass by Camp Verde, believed to have been constructed by the indigenous Sinagua people who lived in the Verde Valley.

Schnebly Hill Road

When driving, using the Bear Wallow Canyon, you should get to Schnebly Hill vista after about 7-miles. The mountain is vast and boasts more than 20,000 acres that support scores of different habitats. The road is made from gravel, called Schnebly Hill Road. During this trip, you can get the rare chance to marvel at the fantastic sky views of Sedona Valley.

Where to stop:

Montezuma Castle National Monument

Montezuma is a location that has many ancient dwellings. You will thoroughly enjoy this well-preserved location. It offers quite a spectacular view being a 5-story building designed on a white limestone cliff that hangs around 70 feet above the ground. It has about twenty rooms. It is an excellent location because it’s easy to spot on your drive. The area is well looked after and tourist-friendly.

Bell Rock Pathway

The Bell Rock Pathway is a must-see when undertaking this scenic route. It is a short-lived view that is worth it. You will drive on a 3.5-mile trail that connects the towns of Oak Creek and Sedona. These two towns have fabulous views of the glory of Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, and many other mind-blowing rock formations. If you want to get out of the car and use the trail, the good thing is it is easy to navigate. The easy route will help prevent any injuries on your trip.

Little Horse Trail

For a quick 30-minute break, you can consider going on the short 1.5-mile easy hike. Little Horse Trail is a prime location to stop because it will take you into seeing the natural rock formations in the Coconino National Forest. These formations are located deep within the Colorado Plateau, including Cathedral Rock.

Is the drive from Phoenix to Sedona safe?

The drive to Sedona from phoenix is safe. Accidents on this travel route are rare. It is quite a short drive that should allow you to get there even if you have a poor sense of direction. Make sure that your car is well serviced before you go on the journey, and you shouldn’t encounter any difficulties along the road.

How far is Sedona from phoenix

The total distance between Sedona and Phoenix is 121 miles.

Leave a comment