Last year, we ventured out in the dark to admire the stars, exploring locales like Thunder Mountain and Sugarloaf Summit.

This year, we opted for a professional touch on our Stargazing tour. Sedona Stargazing offers an excellent tour, utilizing large telescopes to reveal distant planets and stars.

We convened at a high school field enveloped in darkness, guided by flashlights to our designated parking spots. The site is roughly 20 minutes from Sedona's center, off Highway 179.

Once everyone was gathered, we proceeded to the telescopes set up on the school's field.

Our guide, an avid astronomer, began by identifying various constellations beforeSedona Stargazing tour showcasing several celestial bodies through the telescope.

Desert nights can be bitterly cold. Despite wearing coats, we felt the chill. Thankfully, the tour operator provided extra parkas and blankets to keep us warm.

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Unfortunately, a hazy sky that night obscured our view. Nevertheless, we observed Saturn and its rings, a binary star, and the moon's cratered surface.

Sedona Stargazing guarantees a full refund if fewer than six celestial objects can be viewed during the tour. True to their word, they issued refunds that evening without prompting.

Other Ways to Stargaze

Sedona's low light pollution and ideal weather conditions make it a superb stargazing site. Merely stepping outside the town limits offers a pristine view of the night sky. For an even better experience, position yourself behind one of the famous red rock formations, facing away from the city to plunge into complete darkness.

Discover more stargazing tips from the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau.

Tip: For nighttime navigation, a red flashlight or headlamp is recommended. This helps to minimize light pollution while ensuring you can safely find your way on trails.

After speaking with a ranger at the visitor’s center in uptown Sedona, I learned about some prime stargazing spots:

Thunder Mountain: Located in the Coconino National Forest, north of Highway 89A. Take Dry Creek Road to Thunder Mountain Road, proceed about 0.6 miles, then turn left onto the trailhead. A brief hike leads you behind the red rocks, enveloping you in darkness.

Sugarloaf Summit: Also in the Coconino National Forest and accessible via Coffee Pot Drive off Highway 89A. The trailhead is on Buena Vista Drive. A short hike takes you to one of Sedona's best spots for star viewing.

Astronomy Clubs: Joining an event hosted by local astronomy clubs is another fantastic way to enjoy Sedona's starry skies. Visit Astronomers of the Verde Valley for more information and to view their event calendar. The Sirius Lookers Club is also worth checking out.