The Jordan Trailhead Observing Area: 2024 Stargazing Guide

Chris Klein, Amateur Astronomy Advisor

By Chris Klein


Finding the perfect stargazing spot can be challenging, especially in areas without clear skies.

However, the Jordan Trailhead Observing Area stands out, but getting there and knowing the best times for stargazing or how to respect the dark sky can be confusing for many.

In this article, I’ll guide you through everything you need to know about the Jordan Trailhead Observing Area, from easy access and navigating the best times for stargazing to observing etiquette and using the right equipment. You’re about to embark on a celestial journey like no other.

Key Things to Know

  • Sedona is an International Dark Sky Association member, offering clear, dark skies for stargazing.
  • The Jordan Trailhead Observing Area provides easy access with no hiking required.
  • The best stargazing times are summer nights and during a crescent moon.
  • Respect the night by keeping your car lights off and staying quiet.

Overview of the Jordan Trailhead Observing Area

the Jordan Trailhead Observing Area

The Jordan Trailhead Observing Area is your go-to spot for stargazing in Sedona.

As a part of the International Dark Sky Association, Sedona takes pride in its skies. They’re super dark, making it easy to see the Milky Way in Sedona. You’ll find this spot just a short drive north of the main town. On my first visit, I was amazed at how quickly the urban glow faded behind me.

Here’s what makes it unique:

  • Great View: The skies here are really clear.
  • Easy Access: No hiking is needed, just a little bit of driving.
  • Dark Sky Community: Sedona’s dark skies help you see many stars.

When you visit, make sure your car lights are off. This helps keep the area dark for everyone. Bring a blanket or a chair to get comfy. Remember your telescope if you have one. If not, your eyes are enough to see the beauty above.

For a complete list of the best stargazing in Sedona, be sure to read my dedicated article.

Google Map of Best Stargazing in Sedona
Free Google Map of the best Sedona Stargazing Spots

Stargazing Essentials in Sedona

Stargazing Essentials in Sedona

When you head to Sedona for stargazing, knowing the best times to go and how to respect the night sky can make all the difference. I’ll give you the tips to make the most of your starry adventure.

Best Time for Stargazing

From my experience, the best stargazing moments have been on clear summer nights.

  • Summer Nights: Sedona’s summer gives you clear skies, but remember that monsoon season can bring cloudy evenings. They usually fall from July to September.
  • Moon Phases: For the best stargazing, check the moon’s phase. A crescent moon means less light, so more stars are visible.

Stargazing Etiquette

  • Lights Off: When you arrive at your spot, like the Jordan Trailhead Observing Area, turn off your flashlight and let your eyes adjust to the dark.
  • Stay Quiet: Sound carries in the open, so keep your voice down to let everyone enjoy the peace of the night sky.


My 5-page Stargazing Checklist will enhance your astronomical observations.

Follow this free checklist to navigate the night sky with confidence, clarity, and a sense of preparedness for a rewarding stargazing experience.

Free Stargazing Checklist

Access and Navigation to Jordan Trailhead

Access and Navigation to Jordan Trailhead

Getting to the Jordan Trailhead is easy if you know the way. I found the route to Jordan Trailhead straightforward during my initial trip.

I’ll guide you on how to reach this stargazing spot and what to expect when you get there.

Traveling to the Trailhead

To start your adventure, you’ll take your car and head on State Highway 89A until you reach Dry Creek Road in Sedona. This road is well-traveled and will lead you close to your destination. You’ll then make a turn onto Verde Valley School Road. This route is scenic, so keep your eyes peeled for beautiful views.

Directions to follow:

  • State Highway 89A: Main route to Sedona.
  • Dry Creek Road: Turn here from 89A.
  • Verde Valley School Road: Your final turn to the trailheads.

Parking and Amenities

Once you arrive, you’ll find a parking area where you can leave your car. My first time there, I was grateful for the ample parking, making the start of my stargazing hassle-free.

The area is close to several trailheads, giving you hiking options. If you’re aiming for a specific trail, like Fay Canyon, Bear Mountain, Cathedral Rock, Aerie, or Thunder Mountain, park as close as possible to that trailhead.

Nearby trailheads:

  • Fay Canyon Trailhead
  • Bear Mountain Trailheads
  • Cathedral Rock Trailhead
  • Aerie Trailhead
  • Thunder Mountain Trailhead

Watch for signs that point to these spots so you can catch them. Look out for the Beaverhead Flat Scenic Overlook and Beaverhead Flat Trailhead if you’re up for more views or another hike. Parking spaces might fill up quickly, so the earlier you get there, the better.

This is especially true if you join a Sedona stargazing tour in the evening.

Observation Equipment and Techniques

Observation Equipment and Techniques

When you visit the Jordan Trailhead Observing Area for stargazing, you can use different tools to see the stars. Some people like using telescopes and cameras, while others enjoy the sky with just their eyes.

Using Telescopes and Cameras

Telescopes are vital for seeing far-off stars and planets. At the Jordan Trailhead Observing Area, you might meet other stargazers, like the members of the Sirius Lookers, an astronomy club. They often bring their own telescopes.

Here’s how you can do it, too:

  • Make sure your telescope is stable on the ground.
  • Look through the telescope’s eyepiece to find stars or planets.

Cameras can also capture amazing pictures of the night sky. If you’re joining a stargazing tour, you may get tips on using your camera for astrophotography.


  • Use a camera with a “night mode” or manual settings.
  • A tripod will help keep your camera still for clear photos.

Observing without Equipment

Don’t worry if you don’t have a telescope or camera. Even without a telescope or camera, my stargazing experiences here have been unforgettable.

Try these tips:

  • Let your eyes get used to the dark for about 20 minutes.
  • Look for patterns in the stars, known as constellations.

The dark skies in Sedona make the Jordan Trailhead Observing Area a special place for seeing the stars with just your eyes. And you never know; you might just spot a shooting star!

Astro-Tourism in Sedona

Astro-Tourism in Sedona

When you look up at the night sky in Sedona, you’re in for a real treat. The skies here are so clear you can easily see stars and planets.

Dark Sky Community Efforts

Sedona is a proud Dark Sky Community. This means the town works hard to keep the sky dark and full of stars at night. How do they do it?

Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Low light pollution: Lights in the city are kept dim so they don’t outshine the stars.
  • Special lights: Only lights that don’t spill into the sky are used, so you see more stars.
  • Community involvement: Everyone helps out to keep the skies dark.

Cultural and Artistic Influence

Art and culture in Sedona are inspired by the night sky and the beautiful red rock formations like Snoopy Rock.

You can see this love for the stars in many ways:

  • Night sky themes in art: Local artists create pieces that show off the beauty of the stars.
  • Star stories: Cultural events often celebrate the stars with stories and music.

So, grab your telescope or tilt your head back. See the stars dance over Sedona’s red rocks and enjoy the show!

Related Attractions and Activities in Sedona

When you visit Sedona, you’re in for a treat with the Jordan Trailhead Observing Area. It’s one of the many spots to enjoy nature and the stars. But there’s more!

Here are some attractions and activities for you to explore:

  • Trail Adventures: Lace up your hiking boots for trails like Brins MesaFay Canyon, and Boynton Canyon Trailhead. They offer you breathtaking views and a peek at local wildlife.
  • Star Gazing Spots: Apart from the Jordan Observing Area, check out the Two Trees Observing Area for another superb night under the stars.
  • Scenic Drives: Drive down Boynton Pass Road for picture-perfect scenery, or cruise up to Mingus Mountain for a higher vantage point.

Here’s a quick list of activities you can tackle:

  • Bear Mountain: Aim high! This hike is steep but will reward you with amazing views.
  • Thunder Mountain: Not just a great hike, but the rock formation known as Merry-Go-Round Rock is close by. It’s one heck of a sight, especially at sunset.
  • Shopping: Sedona isn’t just about nature. There are shops where you can buy unique gifts to remember your trip.

And remember, always carry water with you and stay on marked trails to keep safe and protect the land. Keep your eyes open for local wildlife, but please observe from a distance. With these spots and tips, you’re all set for an unforgettable adventure in Sedona!

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I bring for a comfortable stargazing experience at the Jordan Trailhead Observing Area?

To ensure a comfortable stargazing experience at the Jordan Trailhead Observing Area, bring a blanket or chair, warm clothing for the cooler nights, and a red flashlight to preserve your night vision while reading star charts or moving around.

Can I participate in organized stargazing events at the Jordan Trailhead Observing Area?

Yes, the Jordan Trailhead Observing Area occasionally hosts organized stargazing events, often led by local astronomy clubs or park rangers. These events provide guided observations of the night sky and are a fantastic way to learn more about astronomy.

Are there any restrictions I should know when visiting the Jordan Trailhead Observing Area for stargazing?

When visiting the Jordan Trailhead Observing Area for stargazing, be mindful of light pollution—use red lights instead of white flashlights, keep car headlights off when parked, and ensure you follow any posted guidelines to protect the area’s dark sky status.


  1. The Jordan Trailhead Observing Area in Sedona offers exceptional stargazing, being part of the International Dark Sky Association.
  2. Easy access with no hiking required makes it a convenient spot for all; it’s just a short drive north of Sedona.
  3. For the best stargazing experience, visit during summer nights and when the moon is a crescent.
  4. Stargazing etiquette includes keeping lights off and minimizing noise to preserve the dark sky experience for everyone.
  5. Whether using telescopes, cameras, or just your eyes, the dark skies of Sedona provide an unforgettable view of the stars.

Your insights and curiosity fuel our stargazing community! If you have any questions or would like to share your experiences under the stars at the Jordan Trailhead Observing Area, please comment below.

I’m here to offer my perspective and learn from yours. Let’s keep the conversation sparkling!

About the Author

Chris Klein, Amateur Astronomy Advisor

Chris Klein is an amateur astronomy advisor, astrophotographer, and entrepreneur. Go here to read his incredible story "From $50,000 in Debt to Award-Winning Photographer Living in Switzerland". If you want to send Chris a quick message, then visit his contact page here.