As the Arizona weather heats up, Sedona and the nearby attractions are preparing for an increase in weekend visitors. Several popular destinations remain closed and others are restricting the number of visitors allowed.
“My guess is that it’s about one-third of our regular visiting numbers,” said Hank Vincent, who is the park manager at Slide Rock State Park.
Vincent says he is limiting entry to just 75 cars at a time, with no walk-ins or drop-offs. The idea is to make it easier for people to socially distance and to keep groups down to ten people or less.
Ramadas and charcoal grills are blocked off at the park and are not accessible to park attendees.
“You know, it was getting a little warm in the Valley, so we just ventured up north a little bit. We wanted to go hiking, but this place was open so we came to enjoy the water and the weather,” said Richard Moreno, who was visiting the park with his family.
Down State Route 89A in Sedona, the cars and crowds are also returning.
“We saw a spike, but it’s still drivable,” said Penny Gilbert, who has lived in Sedona for 11 years. She says the crowds started returning two weeks ago, even though much of the town and its most stunning trails remain closed.
Governor Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order has exemptions for hiking and other outdoor recreational activities. But for those that are looking to get out of the heat and considering a drive north to the Sedona area, Hank Vincent has some advice.
“What I’ve been telling people is to plan alternative destinations. If you’re going to take the two hour drive out of Phoenix, you should have something in your back pocket in case we have our gates closed,” said Vincent.
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