LA hippies, it’s time to desert Sedona.
Residents are fed up with the influx of Los Angelenos overrunning their quaint Arizona city, claiming that tourists have depleted their quality of life.
“Today, an estimated 200 small businesses in Sedona cater to visitors intrigued with Earth energy: bookstores, crystal emporiums and sweat lodge retreats that come and go like sunbeams,” Arizona author Tom Zoellner wrote Nov. 1 in a San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece titled, “It’s lovely here in Sedona, so stay away.”
He added: “Whatever their motivation, people keep catching ‘the red rock fever’ — adding to traffic.”
Sedona’s nearly 10,000 residents cross paths with some 3 million visitors a year, per local records. Although tourism helps boost the city’s economy, residents are wary of traffic congestion, overcrowding, and negative effects on their “environment, community character and lifestyle,” VisitSedona.com warns.
Zoellner noted a showdown has recently ensued between Sedona’s chamber of commerce and its city council over whether to fund “destination marketing.”
“Without such destination marketing, Sedona has been beset by day travelers from Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas, and Californian overnighters who roll into town with little guidance on where to stay, eat, shop or explore other than what they saw on Instagram,” argues Christopher Fox Graham, managing editor of the Sedona Red Rock News.
“These wayward and lost tourists wander State Routes 179 and 89A aimlessly clogging our roads and causing headaches,” he added.
West Coast hippies have long been drawn to Sedona because of its “healing” red rocks, a “birthing cave” on Mescal Mountain, wellness retreats, and a world-class spa that counts Gwyneth Paltrow, 51, among its devotees.
The area became an even bigger destination during the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to its popular outdoor activities.
The LA Times in February gave some tips on how to visit Sedona “without being a jerk,” noting that Californians make up the highest percentage of Sedona visitors, after Arizona residents.
One travel influencer, who goes by @KyleGoesOff on TikTok, confessed he has mixed feelings about Sedona.
“The hippies have moved out and in place are passive-aggressive new-age LA girls called on a spiritual journey to open the 100th crystal store in the area,” he said in a clip posted in June.
“It was crazy beautiful, and we found a few spots to kind of hide away from everybody, but in conclusion, the spiritual tourism here is not the vibe,” he added.
TikTok commenters lamented the state of Sedona under his video.
“I hate Sedona and what it’s become,” admitted one watcher. “I also hate what Tucson has become. I will be moving out of Arizona within these next years.”
“Californians and tourists ruined Sedona. I grew up going before it was cool and [it] was phenomenal,” shared another.
Several travel enthusiasts have complained about the influx of visitors wrecking the experience of hiking in Sedona.
“That’s why us locals hike way away from tourists,” joked a TikToker underneath the video.
“I went in Sept and I got to do nothing bc I couldn’t find parking. it’s beautiful but so disappointing,” sighed another.
“It’s sad, wasn’t always like that,” commented a local.