January 15, 2024
Are you a Natural History Buff that loves to explore and discover treasures from the past? Venture backward along Sedona’s timeline to learn of the cultural journey and accomplishments of the Indigenous people of the Verde Valley region. There are a number of ancient ruins near Sedona, AZ, easily accessible from The Arabella, making for an insightful day trip or two. It’s also easy to combine two or three of the sites below into one outing. Here are our top five suggestions.
Montezuma Castle National Monument
Established in 1906, Montezuma Castle is the third National Monument dedicated to preserving Native American culture. It’s the most popular Indigenous ruin near Sedona, featuring am 800-year-old, 20-room, high-rise dwelling that’s nestled into a cliff. The ruins tell the story of a culture’s ingenuity, and survival and prosperity despite a relentlessly rugged desert landscape. A second site, the Montezuma Well, is 11 miles away from the Castle. The natural limestone sinkhole contains more than 15 million gallons of water.
Tuzigoot National Monument
Entrance to Montezuma Castle National Monument will also grant you access to Tuzigoot National Monument, which includes Tavasci Marsh. Follow the self-guided loop trail around and through the Tuzigoot pueblo, a 110-room village that was built approximately one thousand years ago by the Sinagua people. You’ll have fantastic views of the Verde River and Tavasci Marsh as you walk.
Palatki Heritage Site
Learn about the Singagua people at Palatiki Heritage Site, a large collection of cliff dwellings and pictographs. Follow the short hiking trails to the sacred grotto, the Singua residences and the alcoves that shelter a number of painted symbols, or pictographs, from every native culture that has occupied the Verde Valley. Together with sister site Honanki, this site comprised the largest cliff dwellings of Red Rock Country between AD 1150 and 1350. Tour reservations are required due to the fragile nature of the site.
Honanki Heritage Site
Similar to Palatki, yet a bit more difficult to access due to its geology, the Honanki Heritage Site is one of the most isolated ruins near Sedona. The dwellings, which feature rock art, are built directly under a cliff overhang in a remote canyon northwest of town. The Sinagua, ancestors of the Hopi, lived here and at the Palatki site, raising their families, hunting, preparing meals and making tools from stone, leather and wood.
V-Bar-B Heritage Site
If you’re looking for petroglyphs, look no further than V-Bar-B Heritage Site, which contains the petroglyphs known as Beaver Creek Rock Art. The style you’ll see here at the largest known petroglyph site in the Verde Valley, is indicative of the Sinagua people who resided here between AD 1150 and 1400. Notice the petroglyphs, which are carved into the rock, as well as the pictographs, which are images painted on the rocks’ surface. Just 6 miles from Montezuma Well, a visit to V-Bar-V is easily combined with that site, as well as the others mentioned here.
Relax in Style After Your Explorations
Following your day of cultural and archaeological immersion in Red Rock Country, return to The Arabella for our Sip and Gaze Special. After the sun sets, you’ll be treated to the wonders above – Sedona has Dedicated Dark Sky status, meaning the skies are as clear as they get, affording you to view seldom-seen galaxies. Explore the vast Milky Way with an astronomer, right from our property, as you sip from a complimentary bottle of wine before retiring to your cozy room for the night.