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Sedona's main attraction is its array of red sandstone formations. The formations appear to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. The red rocks form a popular backdrop for many activities, ranging from spiritual pursuits to the hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails. Sedona was named after Sedona Arabella Miller Schnebly (1877–1950), the wife of Theodore Carlton Schnebly, the city's first postmaster, who was celebrated for her hospitality and industriousness. Her mother, Amanda Miller, claimed to have made the name up because "it sounded pretty"
The first documented human presence in the Sedona area dates to between 11,500 and 9000 B.C. It was not until 1995 that a Clovis projectile point revealed the presence of the Paleo-Indians, who were big-game hunters. Around 9000 B.C., the pre-historic Archaic people appeared in the Verde Valley. These were hunter-gatherers and their presence in the area was longer than in other areas of the Southwest, most likely because of the ecological diversity and large amount of resources. They left by 300 A.D. There is an assortment of rock art left by the Archaic people in places near Sedona such as Palatki and Honanki Around 650 A.D., the Sinagua people entered the Verde Valley. Their culture is known for its art such as pottery, basketry and their masonry. They left rock art, pueblos, and cliff dwellings such as Montezuma Castle, Honanki, Palatki and Tuzigoot, especially in the later period of their presence. The Sinagua abandoned the Verde Valley about 1400 A.D. Researchers believe the Sinagua and other clans moved to the Hopi mesas in Arizona and the Zuni and other pueblos in New Mexico.