Sedona Area Travels

In North-Central Arizona there are a variety of archeological, geological and cultural wonders to behold. We spent a couple of weeks this March exploring the areas around Camp Verde, Sedona, Cottonwood and Flagstaff with local tour guides (our lovely cousins) and my sister from Washington. We certainly didn’t see it all but here’s are the highlights.

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Camp Verde/Sedona Archeological Sites

In the Camp Verde area, just South of Sedona near the Yavapai-Apache reservation, there are an amazingly large amount of archeological sites. There are Puebloan ruins at Montezuma’s Castle, Montezuma’s Well and Tuzigoot National Monument. In addition, the V Bar V Ranch has a huge wall of petroglyphs.

Montezuma’s Castle National Monument is located on the East side of Highway 17 near Camp Verde. It is a 20 room apartment style cliff dwelling formerly inhabited by the Sinagua. You can’t enter the castle itself but can walk up to and in some of the remnants of lower rooms. The visitor center has a small but very informative museum and gift store. Pets are welcome on the trail to the castle.

Montezuma’s Well is also on the East side of highway 17 but further North, about 11 miles away from the castle. The well is a collapsed limestone cavern filled with water that continues to flow in and out continually. There are ruins in the sides of the collapsed cavern. The constant flow of water was utilized by the Sinagua for agriculture and is still relied on by nearby communities.

Tuzigoot National Monument is the location of an ancient hilltop pueblo. It was once a large village and trading point for the Sinagua. The ruins at Tuzigoot are not as well-preserved however you can walk around and through them and imagine what the people’s lives must have been like in 1100 AD when they were constructed. Tuzigoot also has a visitor center with information and artifacts relating to the Sinagua people who once farmed land and inhabited the dwellings. Pets are welcome on all of the trails around the area.

At the V Bar V Ranch you can view a large Petroglyph wall containing images from a huge span of time covering different civilizations side by side. When open, a ranger is posted at the wall to explain the variety of images, cultures represented and the Sinaguan calendar depicted on the wall. Pets are not allowed at this site.

The City of Sedona

The city of Sedona and surrounding area is a wonder all in itself. The red rock mesas and spires around Sedona are breathtaking! They are a deep red color that contrasts beautifully against the green juniper and pinyon pine trees. The view of the rocks at sunset is really something to see! There are too many hikes and bike routes to mention but trust that there are endless opportunities in that arena. If you’re seeking some healing energy, Sedona is home to naturally occurring energy vortexes among the red rock. One of these is Bell rock, which we visited several times. If you are a spiritual person, the Chapel of the Holy Cross is built in to the red rock at one of the vortex sites. It has some amazing views! Besides good energy and amazing looking rocks Sedona has many different art installations and galleries as well as great restaurant choices. You could easily spend days winding in and out of cool little shops, getting spa treatments and enjoying a variety of food. The city can be quite crowded so be prepared for traffic and some difficulty parking depending on the time of day and what events might be happening.

Other Sedona Area Attractions

The entire area around the city of Sedona is amazing. Listed below are a few of the attractions that we visited during our stay.

The 14 mile Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive along Route 89A is a must do for amazing scenery! The road has quite a few hairpin turns and not many places to pull over so unfortunately we didn’t get any pictures. There are a few day use parks along the route so it would make a wonderful spot to have a picnic or stop at Slide Rock State Park and slide down the natural water slide! As beautiful as it was in March I can only imagine how amazing it must be in the fall when the leaves turn colors.

Red Rock State Park is a wonderful oasis along Oak Creek with a nice trail along the creek. We spent some time strolling among the trees and enjoying the water! It’s a great reprieve from the more crowded city.

Jerome

The historic city of Jerome is a really fun detour outside of Sedona. It is an old copper mining boom town built on a super steep hillside that during the 60’s and 70’s became a haven for artists who began restoring the town. Today it is a mecca for art, music, restaurants and awesome views. One of the highlights was a unique kaleidoscope shop called Nellie Bly. Looking through all of the different scopes is so much fun! We only had a few hours to spend in Jerome but you could easily spend the entire day there.

Sara - Jerome Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope Shop

Cornville

There are a couple of hidden gems near the small town of Cornville. First off is Harry’s Hideaway bistro where they have “quality food & drink at reasonable prices”. They had a Reuben sandwich special while we were there that was to die for! The atmosphere is cute and funky and the food was great. This area is also known as Sedona’s wine country. One thing we didn’t expect to find in Arizona was a great winery. We visited Page Spring Cellars and enjoyed fantastic wine, riverside seating, friendly staff and fun artwork. They don’t have a lot of sweet wines to choose from because of the limited water their grapes receive, but we were very impressed with their blends. The seating near the river is the perfect place to drink the afternoon away with good company like we did!

Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument

Further North in the Flagstaff area are Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments. Sunset Crater is the result of a 900 year old eruption leaving an interesting volcanic landscape. Wupatki National Monument is an amazing grouping of multiple red rock pueblos. They are a combination of single family dwellings, multi-family dwellings and a large trading and gaming center. It is a fascinating glimpse in to Puebloan culture 900 years ago. The great thing about this monument is the sheer amount of sites and the fact that you can enter the ruins. We had a great time visiting them all.

We got to see a LOT of amazing things while we were in the area but we know there is a lot more to see. This is an area we are going to love coming back to many times!

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