- Where to Go
- The Best of the Valley of the Sun
- Wild West Adventure
- Let Scottsdale Rock Your World
- Finding Water in the Sonoran Desert
- Spring Training
- Arizona Family Road Trip
- Phoenix Points of Pride
- Southwestern Culture and Heritage
- Nocturnal Scottsdale
- Exploring Phoenix’s Architecture
- Unexpected Arizona
- Desert Chic
- Chilly Drinks and Cool Eats in Scottsdale
Sedona’s landscape, punctuated by soaring buttes and green forests, seems made-to-order for a gentle hot-air balloon flight. That said, only an handful of ballooning companies are permitted by the Coconino National Forest to fly in the red-rock area, so be sure to check when booking a tour operator not listed here.
Northern Light Balloon Expeditions (928/282-2274, www.northernlightballoon.com, $195 per person) is the oldest and largest ballooning company in Sedona, offering red-rock air tours since 1974. The daily sunrise flights provide visitors with one of those “only in Sedona” experiences. And unlike some other tour operators that maintain fleets of larger balloons that accommodate more than a dozen people, Northern Light’s balloons hold up to seven passengers, making for a less touristy feel. The free hotel pickup is a handy option, especially after the champagne picnic after landing. Day-before reservations are usually available.
Promising the closest views of the Sedona’s famed buttes from the air, Red Rock Balloon Adventures (800/258-3754, www.redrockballoons.com, $195 person) offers stunning sunrise-only tours. The 60- to 90-minute adventures—depending on weather—drift through Sedona skies and conclude with a mimosa picnic. Brides and grooms may want to consider the Wedding Package ($2,500), which can accommodate up to six people on a private flight and includes a “commemorative picnic” with wedding cake.
© Jeff Ficker from Moon Phoenix, Scottsdale & Sedona, 1st edition