If you are in Arizona, the town of Sedona is a must-see. It is excellent any time of year, but March is high on the list due to the moderate temperatures, especially if you will be doing anything active.
However, there are a few essential things to know to make the most of your adventure during this month. With our Sedona expert tips, you’ll get all the necessary details firsthand.
Sedona, Arizona is located 30 miles south of Flagstaff, nestled within red sandstone canyons. The water flowing along the canyon floor made it a prime place to farm, even though it is in the middle of the desert.
Weather in March
While the first three weeks of March are still technically in winter, the actual temperatures in Sedona will feel like spring if you are from a place like Minnesota or New Hampshire with constant below-freezing weather this time of year.
The Sedona weather is pleasant in March, with the average daily high being 65°F (18°C). The mornings are between 10-15°F (5-8°C) degrees cooler. In general, it is colder than in Arizona’s places at lower elevations, like Phoenix. It rains on six days on average.
- Average High Temperature March: 65°F (18°C)
- Average Low Temperature March: 41°F (5°C)
March daily high average temperatures start in the low 60s and end in the high 60s. For reference, most people set their home thermostat to 68°F. For many people, the end of March translates into t-shirt weather, especially if you are doing a high-output activity like hiking or mountain biking.
Temperature variation during March (average daily highs)
- Early March: 61°F
- Mid-March: 64°F
- Late March: 69°F
Daily Temperature Variation
At sunrise, the mornings start cool in March and warm up, with peak temperatures mid-afternoon. In the desert, the temperatures drop pretty quickly. When the sun goes down, be prepared with extra layers and a headlamp.
Good to know: Once the sun sets after 4 PM, it gets cold very quickly in March.
Average temps during a day in mid-March:
- 8 AM: 47°F
- 12 PM: 59°F
- 3 PM: 63°F
Red Rock State Park: The temperature at the park will be 2°F warmer on average, but that difference isn’t something you will notice.
Rain and Snow
Sedona will see an average of 6 days of precipitation during March. This is mostly in the form of rain. Snow is possible early in the month and overnight if the temperatures are below freezing. Due to the warmer temperatures during the day, any snowfall will tend to melt off fairly quickly.
Quote from a local: March is historically one of the wettest months in Sedona. However, while rain and snow can happen, it’s unlikely that you get drenched in the rain.
The average total precipitation during this month is 2.5” (63.5mm). The chance of precipitation is highest early in the month and gradually decreases as April nears.
Is March a Good Time to Visit Sedona?
Even though March can be a little cool in the mornings, it is an excellent time to visit Sedona, Az. Days are getting longer, and most afternoons are comfortable in a T-shirt.
Sedona is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, spiritual seekers, history buffs, and tourists looking for great views. Make sure you take the time to explore and fall in love with the beauty during this great month.
How Busy Is Sedona in March?
March is definitely a busy month in Sedona. Crowd levels during the week are acceptable, but it gets jam-packed on weekends when traffic rapidly increases, and parking lots can get congested quickly.
However, while Sedona can see a lot of traffic, it still doesn’t compare to the crowds that will fill a busy national park-like Zion.
First half: The first two weeks of March are quieter than the last two as spring break when both colleges and grade schools kick in.
Weekends/mid-week: We recommend visiting during the week, as the weekends are the busiest time, especially traffic increases a lot. On the weekend, try to get to town early before the public parking lots fill up.
Quote from a local: March is such a great month, but there are traffic and parking issues at the trailheads when arriving after 10 AM. Being there between 7 and 8 AM helps a lot. Friday afternoon is also a busy time.
If you plan to hike or mountain bike, you will often find the trailheads busy. Tip: Being at a trailhead before 8 AM makes things easier. However, the crowds spread out once you are on the trails.
As Sedona is very busy in March, you should make your reservations as soon as possible. Otherwise, you run the risk of not getting the rooms you like or paying much higher rates. If you use booking.com (Sedona Hotel Deals), sort by price and rating to see the best deals.
What to Wear
As the weather in March can vary from cool to room temperature, your clothing should adjust accordingly.
Mornings: Most days, if you get an early start, you will need to have at least a long sleeve base layer and a windbreaker. Light gloves and a thin beanie hat might be needed if you get cold easily.
During the day: As you hike and the temperatures rise, you will need to shed layers to keep from overheating, especially if doing any challenging activities like mountain biking and hiking.
What to Wear for Casual Sightseeing
If your activities won’t find you far from your car in March, then you need clothing to deal with the chillier temperatures in the morning and the warmer afternoons:
Mornings: Wear long pants and a jacket or sweater to handle the cooler temperatures after sunrise.
Afternoons: On many days, the afternoons get very comfortable in March. A t-shirt is all you need when being out in the sun, especially towards the end of the month. You can often remove the jacket around noon.
Shoes: We suggest wearing sturdy footwear such as hiking shoes if you plan on doing any hiking, as even the easy and moderate trails can have some rocky or steep sections.
On colder days: We would advise you to bring an insulated hat and light gloves on particularly cold days, especially if it is windy out.
What to Wear for Hiking
It is always smart to dress in layers when hiking, particularly in March.
Don’t wear cotton as it absorbs a lot of water and can lead to hypothermia.
Stick to synthetic or merino wool clothing to aid in wicking moisture, and it will dry quickly if it gets wet.
Add or remove layers as the temperature, and your activity level dictates. Try to avoid getting wet from sweat as this can lead to getting chilled.
Our layering recipe for March:
- Start with a wicking base layer T-shirt against the skin. This can be synthetic or merino wool.
- Add a long sleeve such as Under Armour Cold Gear Top or merino wool. Depending on the temperature and your own body heat, you may need to add another insulating layer, such as a fleece sweater.
- Finish off with a Gore-tex shell jacket or windbreaker.
- For the lower body, a pair of hiking pants will usually be enough but if you get cold easily, then add a wick base layer underneath. Our favorite hiking pants are Outdoor Research Ferrosi pants.
- On your feet, wear hiking shoes or boots with good support and traction. Merino wool hiking socks will help keep your feet dry and reduce the risk of blisters.
- Bring a hat and light insulated gloves to reduce heat loss.
Things to Do in March in Sedona
Our Sedona locals highly recommend the tours above. Make a reservation and receive a voucher (print or mobile via phone). Very comfortable.
Even if you aren’t an avid outdoors person, Sedona is a fantastic destination in March. In every direction you look, you will see towering red sandstone cliffs.
On one of the cooler days in March, you can check out the Sedona Heritage Museum, located on a preserved homestead, to learn the history of the area while enjoying a casual stroll.
Sedona is also considered to be a place of great spiritual healing so many shops cater to this with crystals and art. There are reputed to be spiritual energy vortexes around Sedona that are said to connect you to the power of the earth. Whether it works for you, it would be fun to explore and find the 5 major vortex locations as they are in picturesque canyons.
Red Rock Scenic Byway
If you are looking to get a feel for the area without getting out of your car, we suggest taking a tour of the Red Rock Scenic Byway.
Starting in the town of Oak Creek you follow Scenic Road 179 north, where it ends on Highway 89. This 16-mile tour passes a number of trailheads and pull-offs, allowing you to enjoy the views without getting into an accident.
Cathedral Rock / Chapel of the Holy Cross
This one-mile-out and back hike is moderately challenging and fun. There is a rock scrambling section but is attainable by just about anyone who is physically mobile. Located on the south side of Sedona just off of the Red Rock Scenic Byway, this hike is a great introduction to hiking the sandstone features of the area.
On the other side of SC179, you have the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a church built on top of the sandstone cliffs above the town. Erected in 1956, the Chapel was inspired by the design of the Empire State Building, giving a very modern look for the time. To visit the chapel you can drive right up so it is accessible to just about everyone.
Another hike just off of the Scenic Byway is Bell Rock. This rock dome stands out against the skyline and is easily visible from the road. The 1-mile hike to Bell Rock is moderate but moves into the difficult rating if you want to climb to the top of the rock.
Due to its close proximity to the road and short distance, Bell Rock is a popular destination so aim to start early so you can get a parking space. There is a fee for parking, but if you have a National Park Pass then your parking is covered.
Slide Rock State Park
Slide Rock State Park is located just north of Sedona on Hwy 89. This former homestead was an apple orchard before being turned into a park for all to enjoy.
It is called Slide Rock because of the natural waterslides that are formed by Oak Creek.
Waterslides in March: Unless you have a particularly warm day, March will be too cold to enjoy the waterslides, but there is plenty of hiking and beautiful scenery.
The price during March is $20 per vehicle or $3 per person if you ride in via bicycle.
Red Rock State Park
This state park is just south of Hwy 89 in Sedona. Mainly an attraction for hikes and seeing the diverse nature in the area, you might be lucky enough to see a pack of javelina, the little wild pigs of Arizona, or mule deer.
Water levels in March at Red Rock Crossing: Water levels might be a little higher in March, and the water will still be cold. The south/reas side of the creek can be accessed via Verde Valley School Road. The last couple of miles is dirt and can be rough or dusty or muddy in March, depending on current weather.
There are hikes for all levels of fitness, from flat walks on groomed trails to strenuous hikes with a lot of climbing.
There are a lot of shops and restaurants to pass the time if you need a break from more strenuous activities.
Honanki Heritage Site and Palatki Heritage Site are both ancient native cliff dwellings north of downtown Sedona. You can learn from the local guides and explore the area to see how people lived almost a thousand years ago.
There are petroglyphs around the canyons as well which is a fun thing to look for when hiking.
With canyons and towering rock in all directions, the hiking in Sedona is world-class. Whether you hike for the challenge, to get back to nature, or get cool pictures for Instagram, Sedona has you covered.
The town is home to many trailheads that have you hitting the dirt just a few blocks from the main road. Sedona’s unique location in the valley means the urban sprawl is limited by the terrain which leaves the canyons and spires open for exploration.
Trail conditions: March is often one of the wettest months in Sedona, with around 2.5 inches of rain falling over an average of seven days. However, some years can be wetter than typical. Sedona only gets 1.4 inches of snow each year on average, and it can get a lot sometimes in late February. Depending on the weather in winter, the hiking trails can be a little muddy in some spots from early to mid-March. However, it dries out mostly, and you can hike easily.
Nobody can anticipate the weather or trail conditions, but there are several things you can do to make an educated guess. If the year has been worse than average, the odds are on your favor. If you have any doubts, check with the Ranger Station before venturing out.
There are easy hikes with great views for those who aren’t ready to head out into the desert alone. But if you want a challenge or solitude, all you have to do is keep hiking higher and further from town to get a real wilderness experience.
Desert towers, natural rock bridges, and caves are all linked by trails to explore. If you want to link a few of these features, expect to spend a full day of hiking. Don’t forget to bring your headlamp in case you need to walk out in the dark.
For a moderate hike, the Airport loop is a fun option. As the name implies, the loop goes around the airport, which doesn’t sound that interesting, but the Sedona Airport is on top of a mesa which gives you amazing views and a moderately challenging hike.
If you start hiking in the morning, you will usually need to start with a few layers and a jacket, especially early in the month. As the day warms up, you can peel off layers to help regulate your body temperature.
Keep your jacket at the top of your pack, so you have something to put on when you take a rest. Hiking generates a lot of heat but you will cool down quickly when you stop, particularly if you have gotten sweaty.
There are so many trails and options you can go for 30 minutes or all day. Hiking in Sedona is a major attraction so target an early start, even during the week as the trailhead parking lots fill up quickly.
Check out the maze of trails on Alltrails.com
Sedona is an international destination for mountain bikers. With great weather, amazing scenery, and epic trails it isn’t surprising that mountain bikers flock to challenge themselves with the sandstone and desert riding.
In March, the conditions for biking are great, as the temps are not too and typically pleasant. However, check our clothing tips above, as it is chilly in the mornings.
Many of the trails are shared with hikers, so you need to keep your eyes open, especially around blind corners. If you are staying in town, you don’t even need to load the bikes on the car as many of the trailheads start right in town.
Expect big climbs and lots of rock obstacles. The climbs are paired with epic descents with drops and slab rides.
The mix of jagged rock and cactus warrant the use of aggressive tubeless tires with sealant. This will help keep you from getting cuts in the tire and flats. The sealant will seal cactus spine punctures almost instantly. We suggest riding with the widest tire your bike will take for the extra grip and cushion.
Our recommendation is the Maxxis Minion DHF and DHR combination in the widest size that will fit your bike. The tires are tough with amazing traction and braking.
Check out the mix of mountain bike trails in Sedona on Trailforks.com
With rock towers in every direction, it isn’t surprising that Sedona is on just about every rock climber’s itinerary when they hit Arizona. The mild weather in March and during other months in fall, winter, and spring means you can climb here when other places are covered in snow.
There are hundreds of climbs within a short drive of town. Many of the climbs are multi-pitch trad climbs, but there are also countless sport routes and boulders. It is also a short distance from Prescott, where you will find bulletproof granite if you want to mix up your climbing styles.
Since the climbing in Sedona is on sandstone make sure you wait a couple of days after it rains as the rock is porous and weakens when wet.