The Best Desert Getaways: 1. Sedona, Arizona

The ultimate desert paradise

L'Auberge de Sedona

Evening at L'Auberge de Sedona     Photo: L'Auberge de Sedona

This red rock wonderland 30 miles south of Flagstaff used to be the primary domain of Vortex seekers. But in the past few years Sedona has increasingly attracted serious athletes for its network of 100-plus hiking, running, and mountain bike trails. Take a sunrise six-mile run on the Big Loop-Llama Trail-Bell Rock ring around Courthouse Rock or a mountain bike ride on the 12-mile Slim Shady-Templeton-Baldwin loop. Follow either with a sunset six-mile round-trip hike to the saddle of Cathedral Rock from the North Bell Rock parking lot and you’ll be an instant convert.  Rest assured that you’ve ticked off roughly five percent of what’s out there.

At the end of the day vegans can go nuts with the 100-percent natural vegetarian menu at Chocolate Tree and its fully loaded case of—what else—chocolate made from raw Ecuadorian cacao. For a romantic splurge, make a reservation in advance to dine creekside at L’Auberge de Sedona. While you’re at it, book one of the creekside cottages, where you can rinse off the red dirt in an outdoor cedar shower, then build a fire inside ($450 per night).

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