Sedona, Arizona is known for its stunning scenery filled with red rock formations. It’s a favorite location for many photographers and an iconic location in the American southwest. While Sedona offers many wonderful views, Schnebly Hill Road provides one of the best views in the Oak Creek Canyon area. It’s also a historically-important road because it cut the trip from Sedona to Flagstaff in half.
Schnebly Hill road runs for about 12 or 13 miles and ascends about 2,000 feet. You can access the road from Route 179 near downtown Sedona (just south of the downtown area). If you are starting in Sedona at this end of the road you will be heading uphill. The road winds quite a bit before ending at Interstate 17 northeast of Sedona. You can also take Schnebly Hill Road the other direction, starting at Interstate 17 and riding down into Sedona. Either way, it is well worth the trip.
Along the way you’ll pass Schnebly Hill Vista Overlook and many other amazing views into the canyon. You’ll catch views of rock formations including Snoopy Rock and Merry-Go-Round Rock.
→ Related reading: Guide to Photographing Sedona, Arizona
Schnebly Hill Road provides plenty of great views right from the roadside, but there are also several hiking trails that are accessible from the road. Schnebly Hill Trail is a popular option that provides even more views. Casner Canyon Trail is a challenging hike that also rewards your effort with some outstanding views. Please note that the trails in this area can be quite difficult due to the steepness and elevation gain. Research a trail thoroughly before beginning a hike.
Getting Around Schnebly Hill Road
A high-clearance 4-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended for driving the length of Schnebly Hill Road. Some parts of the road are better than others, bit in some places it can be quite steep and rough. There are several operators of Jeep tours in Sedona that offer tours of Schnebly Hill Road. If you are on the road you are sure to see several Jeep tours in progress. Another option is to rent a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. This is what I choose when I was in Sedona, and I would highly recommend it. It’s a little more expensive than a Jeep tour, but you can move at your own pace have much more freedom than you will have on a tour. I think there are a few different businesses that rent 4-wheel-drive vehicles, but this is the one I used. I had it for six hours and was able to cover Schnebly Hill Road and a few other areas of Sedona in that time.
If you’re going to be in Sedona be sure to see our Guide to Photographing Sedona, which includes plenty of detail about the best places to photograph.