Visiting Arizona? Check Out This Airport Often Called America's Most Scenic

Sedona, Arizona, with its spectacular red rocks, forested canyons, and luxury resorts, is a must-visit U.S. destination for those seeking a relaxing getaway. But what many people don't know is that it also has a private airport, which some say is the most scenic small airport in the country. The aerial views around the Sedona Airport are simply jaw-dropping, with towering red rock columns and buttes visible in every direction, casting eerie shadows in the bright Arizona sun. 

As you land (or take off) from the airport, you might fly over famous rock formations, such as Airport Mesa with its brilliant multicolored striations or Cathedral Rock, which really does look like a cathedral with rock spires that pierce the blue sky. The enormous Bell Rock is just east of the airport, and it's so truly bell-like it looks like it may ring any second. Early settlers of the area gave many of these formations their funny names, which aptly describe the landscape and bring it to life in the imagination. 

The views continue even after you disembark the plane and enter the airport. Inside the terminal, the observation area features breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding area. From here, you can watch planes and helicopters taking off and landing against the brilliant backdrop of the crimson canyon. 

Flying into Sedona Airport

There's just one little catch about flying into Sedona Airport: You need access to a private or charter plane, as currently, the airport is not set up to receive commercial flights. If your private jet happens to be in the garage or you just haven't gotten around to purchasing one yet, no worries. There are other ways to experience the grandeur of Sedona Airport and its surreal surroundings. 

First, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, happy hour, or dinner at the Mesa Grill, which is located right next to the Sedona Airport's runway. Whether you're seated inside the restaurant, on its heated patio, or outside near the fire pit, you'll have a front row seat to the landscape views and to any aircrafts' comings and goings. Another way to experience the Sedona Airport is to attend something like Wings and Wheels, an annual event presented by the airport and sponsors. The day-long autumn event features static (not aerial) military aircraft and a range of other small and large planes scattered around the airport grounds, plus luxury cars, food, drinks, and plenty of Arizona fresh air and sunshine (most likely).  

Adventures around the Sedona Airport

The best way to experience the scenery around the famous Sedona Airport is on your own two feet, via the Airport Loop Trail. This 3.3 mile path near the airport loops around Airport Mesa, mentioned earlier as one of Sedona's most iconic rock formations. The moderately challenging trail boasts spectacular panoramic views, winding through scenic desert along the way with the potential to see wildflowers in spring. Bring plenty of water and solid, supportive shoes, as the trail is rocky and shade is hard to come by. While there are dozens of amazing hikes in Sedona, this one is centrally located with convenient access from the airport. For a more off-the-beaten-track adventure in Sedona, consider hiking to this hidden rock cave.

If you won't be able to fly into Sedona Airport on your private plane this time around, the easiest way to reach Sedona is to fly into Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (25 miles from Sedona) or Phoenix Sky Harbor (120 miles from Sedona) and rent a vehicle. A stay in Sedona can be part of a longer tour of central Arizona, where there's so much to see and do, from wine tasting to learning about Indigenous heritage and outdoor adventures galore. You can also visit Sedona on a scenic road trip from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon