Can You Fly a Drone in Sedona?

Situated near Flagstaff, Sedona is a desert region in Arizona with forests, canyons, and buttes. It’s beloved as much for its natural beauty as for its arts.

If you’ve always wanted to visit Sedona and you’re finally making it happen, naturally, you may wonder – can you bring your drone with you?

Can you fly a drone in Sedona?

You can fly a drone throughout much of Sedona but not in Wilderness Areas or Sedona Airport and Flagstaff Pulliam Airport. You’re also required to follow FAA guidelines when in the skies.

If you have a trip to Sedona in the cards, this is the article for you.

In it, we’ll discuss in-depth whether you can use a drone in this part of Arizona, highlight all the off-limits areas, and go over Arizona’s flight rules.

Don’t miss it!

Can you fly a drone in Sedona?

Under Public Law 112-95, Section 336 and the FAA, commercial and recreational pilots can operate a drone in Sedona.

However, the desert town has a lot of off-limits places, so let’s review.


Sedona is only 18.31 square miles, yet still contains several airports. One is the aptly-named Sedona Airport, and the other is Flagstaff Pulliam Airport.

As a drone pilot, you’re prohibited from flying within five nautical miles of an airport. Given the tiny size of Sedona, this will make planning flight routes difficult but not impossible.

Military bases

Across Sedona’s borders, you’ll find a couple of military bases. These too can complicate your flight plans, as you’re not allowed within five nautical miles of a military base either.

Wilderness Areas

Drones are strictly prohibited in Wilderness Areas throughout the United States. That’s been the case since 1964, when the Wilderness Act went into effect.

The goal of that act is to prohibit industrialization that prevents designated areas from existing that solely protect wildlife and nature.

Sedona has two Wilderness Areas, Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness and Munds Mountain Wilderness.

Neither area is small. The Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness is 47,195 acres, while Munds Mountain Wilderness is 18,150 acres.

Designated Primitive Areas

Further, Sedona law restricts drone access in designated Primitive Areas.

The United States Forest Service once used these lands, which have since mostly converted to Wilderness Areas. 

Other restricted airspace

Always use a drone map when operating your UAV in Sedona. The above areas all constitute restricted airspace, but other restrictions could exist throughout the town.

Also, stay vigilant for temporary flight restrictions, which only affect your drone plans for a limited time but are still enforceable.

4 fantastic places to fly a drone in Sedona

Although Sedona restricts drone access to many places throughout the town, if you know where to look, you’ll find an exceptional selection of spots where you can take breathtaking footage.

Here are some of our favorites.

West Fork Oak Creek Trail

About 9.5 miles from Sedona is the West Fork Oak Creek Trail. As you stroll along the trailhead, you’ll spot canyons, a stream, and cliffs.

The buttes here are a trademark red, and when autumn arrives in Arizona, the fall foliage will take your breath away.

Charge up your drone battery, as you’ll surely want to stay here for a while!

Devil’s Bridge Trail

Venture out to Yavapai County to hike the Devil’s Bridge Trailhead.

Only moderately difficult, the entire hike (round trip) is 1.8 miles, so you won’t have to sweat it out too much if you’re trying to look professional for a drone project.

The route takes you across sandstone arches, so you’ll have lots to film or photograph here.

Schnebly Hill Vista

Along Schnebly Hill, you’ll find a vista with a clearance area to witness the beauty of Sedona.

While the Schnebly Hill Vista isn’t all that far from the Munds Mountain Wilderness, it’s well outside of the wilderness boundary line.

Many drone pilots have flown here before, so you shouldn’t have to stress about restrictions. If anything, keep in mind that the crowds here can be rather plentiful.

Since it’s often such a populated area, consider scheduling your drone flight either earlier or later in the day to avoid the crowds.

Courthouse Butte

We also recommend exploring Courthouse Butte while you’re staying in Sedona. The butte near Oak Creek in Yavapai County is just a bit southward of Sedona. The peak of the butte is 5,454 feet.

You don’t have to ascend that high up, of course. That’s what you have your drone for!

You can take some aerial shots of the tall, tree-lined butte that will make a fantastic addition to your portfolio.

Drone operation rules to know before visiting Sedona

With your plane tickets and hotels booked, it’s time to jet off to stunning, warm Sedona.

Before your plane touches down, make sure you’re privy to the following drone rules, which apply to Arizona as a whole.

Do not launch your drone closer than 328 feet to wildlife

Sedona drone law prohibits drone pilots from vertically approaching birds or animals with their UAVs.

Further, you cannot launch your drone any closer than 328 feet or 100 meters from local wildlife.

It’s no secret that drone exposure can cause unfortunate behavior in wildlife, including aggression and sometimes even abandoning their young.

Do your part to preserve Sedona’s great wildlife!

Have your drone license and registration ready

As a safe drone pilot, you must have a current drone license and an active registration (as required), both issued by the FAA or another body with authority.

Let’s start by discussing your registration. Commercial pilots must register their drones, but it’s optional for recreational pilots, depending on the weight of their UAVs.

If your drone weighs 0.55 pounds or under, you don’t have to register it. For all other drones that require registration, you can register for up to three years.

Next, let’s go over licenses. Hobbyists must carry a TRUST certificate issued by the FAA after passing The Recreational UAS Safety Test.

That license doesn’t expire but don’t lose it on your trip to Sedona, or you’ll have to take the exam again.

Commercial pilots need the Part 107 license, aka the Remote Pilot Certificate. You can only obtain this license by passing the Part 107 exam administered by the FAA.

Your certificate is good for only two years, but you can recertify online for free.

Avoid critical facilities

Arizona drone law mandates that pilots fly no closer to critical facilities than 250 vertical feet and 500 horizontal feet.

Examples of these facilities include hospitals, courthouses, power plants, and water treatment facilities.

Do not interfere with emergency response efforts

When firefighters, police departments, and other emergency responders arrive on the scene, do not get in their way with your drone.

You could prevent people from receiving the life-saving services they need!

Do not fly higher than 400 feet

You cannot operate your drone more than 400 feet from the ground throughout Arizona. It’s your responsibility to gauge the allowable height and fly your drone within that range.

Maintain a visual line of sight on your drone

You must also keep eyes on your drone the entire time you fly. If you operate your drone so far out of range that you can’t see it with the naked eye or when wearing contacts or glasses, you’re beyond VLOS range.

You must bring your drone back or operate it with a spotter who can watch it beyond your visual line of sight.

Do not fly your drone in inclement weather

Arizona is known for its hot and humid weather, but the sun can’t shine every day.

On those less-than-perfect days with strong winds and rain, refrain from operating your drone. The weather makes flying a UAV too dangerous.

You could also end up with a damaged, broken drone!

Sedona is a desert town in Arizona known for its towering buttes and appealing arts scene.

You can fly your drone here but must avoid designated Wilderness Areas, Primitive Areas, military bases, and airports.

Follow FAA drone rules when you take to the sky, and remember to avoid wildlife with your drone especially. Stay safe and have fun out there!

Can You Fly a Drone in Lake Tahoe?

For a memorable getaway, Lake Tahoe never disappoints. The lake, situated in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, borders Nevada and California.

You’d rather skip the ski resorts and the beaches and go straight to flying your drone.

Can you fly a drone in Lake Tahoe?

You can use a drone in parts of Lake Tahoe but not airports, Wilderness Areas, and state parks in Nevada or California.

While towns in the area usually allow drone usage, be on the lookout for signs prohibiting drone activity and abide by those signs.

Using a drone in Lake Tahoe is tricky since the lake technically encompasses two states with differing rules and drone policies.

This article will clear up any of your questions so you can fly with the law on your side in Lake Tahoe!

Restricted drone areas in Lake Tahoe

Ultimately, you’ll find that you’re outlawed from flying your drone in more places across Lake Tahoe than those you’re allowed.

We recommend using a drone map to differentiate no-fly zones and unrestricted airspace.

In general, stay away from these areas.

Wilderness Areas

Whether you’re approaching Lake Tahoe from the Nevada or California side, you’re strictly prohibited from using your drone in a Wilderness Area.

This should come as no surprise to you if you’re a regular reader of our blog, as we published a post outlining drone laws in Wilderness Areas.

» MORE: Can You Fly a Drone in a Wilderness Area?

The 111.7 million acres of land that comprise Wilderness Areas in the United States are protected under the 1964 Wilderness Act.

The creation of that act limited the industrialization of lands in the US to safeguard certain areas for the preservation of wildlife.

Wilderness Areas ban motorized vehicles of all kinds, not only drones.

Around Lake Tahoe, the Wilderness Areas you’ll have to avoid include:

  • Granite Chief Wilderness
  • Desolation Wilderness
  • Carson-Iceberg Wilderness
  • Mokelumne Wilderness
  • Mount Rose Wilderness

Nevada State Parks

Our article on Nevada drone laws cited Nevada State Parks’ policy on drone usage.

» MORE: Drone Laws in Nevada

For those who need a refresher, here’s the policy:

“Use of drones is prohibited in Nevada State Parks unless in an area designated for that use by a park supervisor or by issuance of a special use permit for an unmanned aircraft.”

Nevada has a total of 27 state parks drone pilots must avoid unless they’re properly permitted.

Here’s the list:

  • Wild Horse State Recreation Area in Elko County
  • Washoe Lake State Park in Washoe County
  • Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park in White Pine County
  • Van Sickle Bi-State Park in Douglas County
  • Valley of Fire State Park in Clark County
  • Spring Valley State Park in Lincoln County
  • Spring Mountain Ranch State Park in Clark County
  • South Fork State Recreation Area in Elko County
  • Rye Patch State Recreation Area in Pershing County
  • Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park in Clark County
  • Mormon Station State Historic Park in Douglas County
  • Lake Tahoe – Nevada State Park in Carson City
  • Lahontan State Recreation Area in Churchill and Lyon Counties
  • Kershaw-Ryan State Park in Lincoln County
  • Fort Churchill State Historic Park in Lyon County
  • Elgin Schoolhouse State Historic Site in Lincoln County
  • Echo Canyon State Park in Lincoln County
  • Dayton State Park in Lyon County
  • Cave Lake State Park in White Pine County
  • Cathedral Gorge State Park in Lincoln County
  • Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area in Clark County
  • Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park in Nye County
  • Beaver Dam State Park in Lincoln County

California State Parks

Over on the California side of Lake Tahoe, you’re still prohibited from using your drone in a state park under the California Department of Parks & Regulations (Cal. Code Regs. Title 14, §4351).

As we discussed in our article on California drone laws, the law states that “motorized equipment (including UASs)” cannot fly in Wilderness Areas, cultural preserves, natural reserves, and state parks in Cali.

» MORE: Drone Laws in California

California has 280 state parks, so we won’t name them all. Some parks nearer to Lake Tahoe that you must avoid include:

  • Kings Beach State Recreation Area
  • Burton Creek State Park
  • Sugar Pine Point State Park
  • D.L. Bliss State Park
  • Emerald Bay State Park

However, don’t take that the wrong way. The California Department of Parks & Regulations bars drones from all California state parks.


Finally, Lake Tahoe’s airports constitute restricted airspace, including Class D and Class E airspace.

While this section gives you a reliable list of places to forego flying your drone, we’d still recommend using a drone map so you can see restricted airspace ahead of your flight.

Here’s where you can use a drone in Lake Tahoe

Okay, so those are all the places where you can’t use a drone around Lake Tahoe, but what about those where you can?

Well, if you comb the local drone laws for Nevada and California using our drone laws articles as your guide, you won’t see Lake Tahoe mentioned for either.

The cities and municipalities around the area do not expressly prohibit drone usage.

That said, you have to keep your eyes open. As you venture through South Lake Tahoe in California, especially around its beaches, you’re likelier to see signs saying, “no drones.”

Even if these areas are otherwise marked on a drone map as unrestricted airspace, you should still do the right thing and obey the sign.

If you’re caught flying a drone in these areas despite the sign, that’s your own mistake.

You’re required to follow the FAA’s guidelines whether you’re on the Nevada or California side of Lake Tahoe, as both states are in the United States.

Here’s a list of FAA rules to ensure safer drone flights:

  • Commercial pilots must have a current Remote Pilot Certificate issued by the FAA
  • Recreational drone pilots must have a TRUST certificate issued by the FAA
  • If your drone weighs more than 0.55 pounds, you must register it through the FAA
  • Only use your drone during civil twilight (i.e., don’t fly after dark unless your drone has lights and the proper permissions)
  • Keep your drone in your line of sight during your operations; if you can’t do this, then you need an observer with you
  • Do not fly your drone higher than 400 feet
  • Avoid using your drone in inclement weather
  • Do not fly your drone over moving vehicles
  • Do not fly over people

There’s an additional rule we want to expand upon further, and that’s to only fly over public land.

Businesses and private homes constitute private land. Although in much of the US, where FAA rules reign, you’re allowed to fly over someone else’s home, that’s not the case in California.

You could face legal prosecution if you operate your drone over a private homeowner’s property, including the home itself or their backyard.

You can be there if you obtain permission to use your drone from the landowner. Otherwise, do not fly around neighborhoods or other private property in California.

We should also warn you that even in states like Nevada, where you can fly over others’ property, you still cannot launch or land your drone from private property.

You’d have to trespass on their land to do so, and that’s illegal. That rule applies in California too.

What happens if you violate a drone law in Lake Tahoe?

In Nevada and California, it’s a misdemeanor to go against the FAA’s guidelines. You could have to pay a fine, spend time behind bars, or possibly both.

It’s best to take those no-drone signs seriously!


Lake Tahoe is a picturesque body of water situated between Nevada and California. That makes the drone laws here more ambiguous than in other places.

While Lake Tahoe permits drone pilots in many areas, you cannot use a drone near airports, state parks (in California and Nevada alike), or Wilderness Areas.

You should also limit flights near any parts of Lake Tahoe with no-drone signs.

Using a drone mapping app will help you chart a path to the skies in Lake Tahoe. Best of luck!

Can You Fly a Drone in Kananaskis?

The Kananaskis Improvement District, or Kananaskis for short, is situated in the Rockies of Alberta, Canada. Outside of this municipality, in the vicinity, you’ll also find Kananaskis Country and Kananaskis Village.

Can you fly a drone anywhere in Kananaskis?

You can’t fly a drone in most of Kananaskis because Kananaskis Country includes an assortment of provincial park that prohibit UAVs for recreational use. Commercial pilots would require a permit.

If you’re a little confused, we’ll explain everything ahead, so make sure you keep reading! There’s lots of excellent information to come.

Can you fly a drone in Kananaskis Country?

Alberta features a handful of improvement districts, which despite the name, are usually municipal authorities and sometimes business districts.

The Kananaskis Improvement District in the Alberta Rockies is on the same border as Kananaskis Country, a multi-use area near the Canadian Rockies that features Crown land, ecological reserves, wildland provincial parks, provincial recreational areas, and provincial parks.

To make matters more confusing, the laws vary from one place to another in Kananaskis Country.

As a drone pilot, here’s what you need to know. You cannot fly recreationally in any provincial parks in Alberta, including those in Kananaskis.

Alberta Parks[1] has a Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles policy in place. In the Recreational Use of UAVs in Alberta Parks section, the rule reads:

“The recreational use of a UAV is not allowed in sites in the provincial parks system.”

The Commercial Use of UAVs in Alberta Parks section explains that, currently, Alberta Parks does not permit commercial pilots to use a drone for supervised filming.

However, if they did, you’d have to pay a supervised filming fee of $110 CAD an hour to use your drone in any of the provincial parks.

Further, you’d need either a Special Flight Operations Certificate or an Advanced Pilots License, with no basic licenses permitted.

You’d have to describe your operation, including the geographical boundaries, and share your drone registration number.

You’d also need $100,000 CAD in liability insurance and a safety and emergency plan.

Which parks in Kananaskis Country are off-limits?

Kananaskis Country measures only 1,500 square miles, yet it contains an ecological reserve, campgrounds, and several provincial parks.

Here’s a full list of which parks you cannot use your drone in:

  • Spray Valley Provincial Park
  • Sheep River Provincial Park
  • Plateau Mountain Ecological Reserve
  • Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
  • Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park
  • Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park
  • Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park
  • Bragg Creek Provincial Park
  • Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park
  • Bow Valley Provincial Park
  • Bluerock Wildland Provincial Park

By the way, although the Plateau Mountain Ecological Reserve isn’t technically a provincial park but an ecological reserve instead, Alberta Parks still affords it the same level of protection as a provincial park.

Don’t plan to fly your drone here either!

Kananaskis Country also has several areas that aren’t official ecological reserves or provincial parks. That said, you still shouldn’t risk using your drone in the following areas, as it’s probably illegal:

  • Sibbald Meadows Pond Provincial Recreational Area
  • Sibbald Lake Provincial Recreational Area
  • Strawberry Provincial Recreational Area
  • Stoney Creek Provincial Recreational Area
  • Sentinel Provincial Recreational Area
  • Evan-Thomas Provincial Recreational Area
  • Elbow River Valley Area
  • Bow Corridor Area

Can you fly a drone in Kananaskis Village?

Kananaskis Village is yet a different part of the area, although it’s located in the Kananaskis Improvement District. The village is an unincorporated community by the Trans-Canada Highway.

The small resort community offers cross-country skiing, mountain biking, hiking trails, equestrian facilities at Boundary Ranch, downhill skiing at the Nakiska Ski Area, and golfing at the 36-hole Kananaskis Country Golf Course.

Where do drones fit into the picture? Well, simply put, they don’t.

You see, Kananaskis Village is a part of the Kananaskis Country park system. Even though it’s not technically an ecological reserve or a provincial park, it’s still likely under the jurisdiction of Alberta Parks.

You shouldn’t plan to bring a drone here!

What is the punishment for illegally using a drone in Kananaskis?

Still thinking about taking a drone flight in Kananaskis? You might want to reconsider.

A 2017 article published in RMOToday[2] discusses an incident from that year involving a drone pilot who illegally entered Peter Lougheed Provincial Park with his drone.

He had to pay a fine of $287 CAD.

Until then, drone pilots hadn’t received any fines for illegal drone use in Kananaskis Country, but it only seemed to be a matter of time.

A 2015 article also from RMO Today discussed how drones were growing in number and entering places they shouldn’t, including Kananaskis Country and Canada’s beloved Banff Park.

At the time, it appears that Alberta Parks merely discouraged drone flights but didn’t outlaw them.

The effects on the wildlife in the area were already being felt. Goats and bighorn sheep were driven away by larger drones.

The article mentions a United States study from around the same time that found that the heart rates of some black bears go up exponentially when they see a drone, although not all bears were affected.

But we digress. Getting back to the gentleman who took a prohibited drone flight in Kananaskis, he had to appear in Canmore Provincial Court, where he pled guilty. The judge made clear that because the man fessed up to his crimes that he was issued the fine he was.

That implies a fine could easily be higher if you have a bad attitude.

While we couldn’t find any more current news stories about taking drone flights around Kananaskis, if it’s happened once, it’s probably happened again and will continue to happen again.

Don’t be the drone pilot who makes an avoidable mistake!

Can you fly a drone outside of Kananaskis?

Recalling that Kananaskis isn’t all that large, if you were in the area, it wouldn’t take you long to venture outside of its boundaries. Can you use your drone beyond the area?

Well, to the north of you, you’ll find Banff National Park, and you already know you’re prohibited from flying there.

To the left are mountain regions such as Mt. King George and Mt. Assiniboine. You’re also not far from Kootenay State Park.

If you went south, you’d venture into the Bob Creek Wildland, and to the east, you’d be in the heart of Calgary.

You can fly a drone in Calgary, but as for the other locales around Kananaskis? It’s a toss-up.

To ensure you only use your drone in permitted airspace, we recommend you use a drone app. If you see any yellow areas, those are warning zones. Your drone can technically fly in warning zones but ask yourself if you really want to chance it.

Red zones denote restricted airspace, and you can’t fly in those zones.

Remember to follow Transport Canada drone laws if you find a permitted place around Kananaskis to launch and land your drone.

You need a pilot’s license if your drone weighs between 250 grams and 25 kilograms. You can obtain a basic license once you turn 14 and test for the advanced license at 16.

You must keep your drone in your line of sight, stay under 400 feet or 122 meters when flying, limit your basic operations distance from bystanders to 30 meters, stay away from advertised events and emergency operations (parades, outdoor events like concerts, forest fires, etc.), fly three nautical miles from airports and one nautical mile from heliports, and give a wide berth to aircraft.

If you fly without a pilot’s license, you could receive a fine of $1,000 CAD. You’re also fined an additional $1,000 CAD for flying where you shouldn’t be and $3,000 CAD for risking the lives of people or aircraft.


The Kananaskis Improvement District includes the small and luxe Kananaskis Village and Kananaskis Country. You’re prohibited from using your drone in a provincial park or ecological area, which Kananaskis Country is widely comprised of.

Rather than try to find a place to use your drone and risk getting fined, you’re better off venturing to another part of Alberta or even greater Canada and launching your drone in freer skies.

1. Alberta Parks (link)
2. RMOToday (link)