Sonoran Desert and Sedona, AZ


After buying tickets for the Copa America third place game in Glendale, the next step was to figure out where to sleep. Hotels would be expensive, so we decided to stop along the way for dispersed camping. Camping in the desert over summer would be tricky, but worth it for the clear views of the stars at night.

Trip Details:

Date Range – June 24-26
Campground – Dispersed Camping
Distance – 484 miles
Closest Town – Sedona, AZ

We arrived in Quartzsite, Arizona just before 2am and set up camp. The long 6 mile stretch of dirt road that took us into the Kofa Wilderness ended at the Crystal Hill Kofa campsite. We were the only ones there, and realized why once we stepped out of the car: it was over 100 degrees at 2:00 in the morning. Sleep was tough to come by that night, as the temperatures only dropped into the 80s. The sun came up around 5:15am, which meant we had about a half hour before the temperature became unbearable again.

Seats for the USA vs. Colombia Third Place Game in the 2016 Copa America

We got everything packed up and headed towards Glendale, where we were welcomed by even more heat. Temperatures outside quickly reached triple digits, and peaked at 115 throughout the afternoon. Even though we lost, I had a great time at my first USMNT (semi)competitive game.

After the game we headed north towards Sedona. The plan was to find another dispersed campsite along the way that would leave us with a short morning drive to Sedona. Exiting to the east of Highway 179, we headed towards Wet Beaver Creek inside Coconino National Forest. Just past the creek was an open pullout for dispersed camping. Temperatures at night were much more manageable, dropping into the high 60s at night with an sky full of more stars than you could imagine.

The moon was away and the skies were clear, providing for incredible views of the stars.

The sun greeted us to another early morning, as it again rose shortly after 5:00am. Everything was packed up and we were headed out within the hour, making it to Sedona for some hiking before the heat became too brutal. We started out on what would be a 5 mile round trip hike to Devil’s Bridge, the largest natural sandstone arch in the canyon. Despite the heat there were quite a few people on the trail, especially at the main attraction.

Devil’s’ Bridge, the largest natural sandstone arch in the Sedona Canyon

Even though the heat was a nuisance, this was a pretty good trip. Sedona was beautiful, and I can’t wait to take another trip in the winter when the temperatures are more moderate. The mixture of green pine trees scattered among the dark red canyons provide for some spectacular contrast, especially with one of the deepest of blue skies you’ll ever see in the background.

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