Will Sedona's fall foliage be affected by the recent fires?
Q: I'm planning a fall vacation and was thinking about going to a spa in Sedona. But was the area damaged by the fires in June? Will the fall foliage still be as outstanding as I'm expecting it to be?
Meghan, New Jersey
A: Yes, you can still go gallery hopping, get a hot-stone massage, and even have your aura photographed. It's business as usual in Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon, and the area is as beautiful as ever.
Fortunately there have been no reports of lost lives, homes, or other structures from the Brins Fire, which scorched more than 4,000 acres of Forest Service land near this central-Arizona enclave in June. The fire reached scenic Highway 89A, but never jumped the road, sparing Sedona.
Jennifer Wesselhoff, vice president of Sedona's Tourism Bureau, expects that the fall foliage will not disappoint. "The fire acted like an open handin some cases, there were fingers of fire that may have made it down to the road. But the rest was undisturbed, and 90 percent of the canyon appears just as it did before the fire," she says. Of the more than 100 hiking trails in the area, Wesselhoff says that only nine are still closed. And the Forest Service reports that most areas of the Coconino and Kaibab national forests, where many of these trails are located, have reopened.
Part-time Sedona resident Rick Olson recommends the West Fork Trail. "It is one of the most spectacular areas for fall color, and the fire didn't reach that part," he says. The three-mile trail follows the West Fork Creek as it ripples along the canyon floor, shadowed by stunning red-rock cliffs high above.
Of course, you don't have to be on the trail to enjoy Sedona's fall splendor. Almost any room in this town is a room with a view. Check out the Enchantment Resort (1.800.826.4180; www.enchantment.com) and its Mii amo spathese Boynton Canyon gems are the cream of the crop. Visit the juice bar to balance your dosha, relax by one of several pools and hot tubs, or indulge in an aromatherapy massage.
All this doesn't come cheap, though. Rooms start at $295 per night. If that's a little too rich for your blood, visit the Sedona Tourism Bureau's website, www.visitsedona.com, where businesses have posted special offers to entice travelers. When planning your trip, keep in mind that the canopy of fall color can arrive as early as mid-September, but that the peak time is generally the second week of October.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication