The Sedona-Verde Valley area is rich with history from Native American history, especially the history of the Sinagua culture, to the pioneers of Sedona. You will find many places to explore and ignite the imagination of yourself and your children. You will find everything from an amazing five-story cliff dwelling, well preserved petroglyph sites, to a self-guided trail exploring a variety of volcanic formations. Below you will find the listing of historical sites and national monuments that are either located in Sedona or close enough to consider for a day trip during your Sedona vacation.
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Fort Verde State Historical Park
“Experience life through the eyes of a frontier soldier”
Experience life through the eyes of a frontier soldier at Fort Verde State Historic Park. The fort was a base for General Crook’s U.S. Army scouts and soldiers in the 1870’s and 1880’s. From 1865 – 1891 Camp Lincoln, Camp Verde and Fort Verde were home to officers, doctors, families, enlisted men, and scouts. The park is the best-preserved example of an Indian Wars period fort in Arizona. Several of the original buildings still stand and living history programs are scheduled periodically, giving visitors a glimpse into Arizona’s history. Due to their unique architectural and historic significance, all of the buildings at Fort Verde are listed on the National and State Register of Historic Places. For directions or more information visit Fort Verde State Historical Park.
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Jordan Historical Park & Sedona Heritage Musuem
“The story of Sedona”
The Jordan Historical Park is located in Uptown Sedona at 735 Jordan Road. This park is the site of the former homestead of Walter and Ruth Jordan and is the current site of the Sedona Heritage Museum. The focus of the museum is on the Pioneers of the Sedona area, from the earliest settlers in the 1870’s through the heyday of western film making in the 1950’s. The park features interpretive nature trails, picnic tables, and a large fruit orchard. The three historic buildings that house the Sedona Heritage Museum are the Jordan House, Fruit Packing Shed and the Tractor Shed. They were the first three buildings in Sedona to be designated as Sedona Historic Landmarks. For more information visit the Sedona Heritage Musuem.
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Honanki Heritage Site
“10,000 years of ancient rock art”
The Honanki Heritage Site cliff dwelling and rock art site is located near the town of Sedona off of Forest Road 525. The Sinagua, ancestors of the Hopi, lived here from about 1100 to 1300 AD preparing meals, raising their families, and making tools from stone, leather, and wood. Nearby they hunted for deer and rabbit, tended various crops, and gathered edible wild plants. The site is open to the general public for visits seven days a week (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Please call the Red Rock Ranger District at 928.282.4119 or Palatki at 928.282.3854 before you go. For more information visit the Honanki Heritage Site.
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Montezuma Castle National Monument
“Amazing five-story cliff dwelling”
Montezuma Castle National Monument, located at 2800 Montezuma Castle Highway in Camp Verde, is a perfect Sedona day trip for anyone interested in the history of Native Americans in Northern Arizona, specifically the Sinagua people. Dedicated in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt, Montezuma Castle gives you an opportunity to travel back nearly a thousand years to a time when the Sinagua people inhabited this amazing five-story cliff dwelling. While you are visiting this National Monument you can take a relaxing scenic stroll on their 1/3 mile self guided loop. You will be overwhelmed at the vision of the cliff dwelling high in the limestone cliffs. You can feel the presence of the people that inhabited the area as you walk along the pathway surrounded by giant old sycamore trees and the flowing Beaver Creek. For directions to this monument click here. For more information visit Montezuma Castle National Monument.
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“An aquatic habitat like no other in the world”
The legacy of the Sinagua culture surrounds you during a visit to Montezuma Well. From cliff dwellings perched along the rim to large pueblo ruins and an ancient pit house, the variety of these archaeological sites is a testament to the ingenuity of these people. Montezuma’s well is a very unique limestone sinkhole with an extremely high concentration of dissolved carbon dioxide. You would think that would make this well void of any form of life, but that is not the case. One common amphibian you can almost always catch a glimpse of is a turtle. Turtles seem to thrive in this particular environment. The Well itself is amazingly blue and hosts unique organism that you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere. Relax and explore the trails, especially the trail by the Swallet Ruin that lends shade on a hot summer day. Montezuma’s Well welcomes you to explore, but please remember that the well is considered sacred by many local tribes, show respect for the environment you are in. For directions click here. For more information visit Montezuma Well.
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Palatki Heritage Site
“Discovering ancient cliff dwelling and pictographs”
The Palatki Heritage Site cliff dwelling and rock art site is located near Sedona on Forest Road 795. Palatki and its sister site, Honanki were the largest cliff dwellings of the Red Rock country between 1150 – 1300 A.D. There are two trails at Palatki Heritage Site, one trail that takes you to the Sinagua cliff dwellings and a second that goes to the alcoves that shelter the painted symbols, or pictographs from every native culture to ever occupy the Verde Valley. The trail to the pictographs is fairly easy but the trail to the cliff dwelling includes about 50 uneven rocky steps. Good walking shoes are recommended. This is a very popular cultural site, the Forest Service manages the number of guest at the site and reservations are advised. To make reservations or to learn more visit the Palatki Heritage Site.
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Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
“The youngest volcano on the Colorado Plateau”
Sunset Crater Volcano was born in a series of eruptions sometime between 1040 and 1100. Powerful explosions profoundly affected the lives of local people and forever changed the landscape and ecology of the area. Lava flows and cinders still look as fresh and rugged as the day they were formed. But among the dramatic geologic features, you’ll find trees, wildflowers, and signs of wildlife – life returns. People had been living here for several hundred years, at least, before the volcano erupted. Although we don’t know what they called themselves, archaeologists consider them representatives of the Sinagua culture. They were farmers, living in scattered groups adjacent to their corn fields. Their homes were pithouses, dug partially into the ground. 900 years later, Sunset Crater is still the youngest volcano on the Colorado Plateau. The volcano’s red rim and the dark lava flows seem to have cooled and hardened to a jagged surface only yesterday. As plants return, so do the animals that use them for food and shelter. And so do human visitors, intrigued by this opportunity to see nature’s response to a volcanic eruption. Make sure to walk the Lava Flow Trail while you are there! For directions to this monument click here. For more information visit Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.
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Tuzigoot National Monument
“Discover the incredible legacy of an ancient people”
Tuzigoot is an ancient village or pueblo built by a culture known as the Sinagua in the 13th century. The pueblo consisted of 110 rooms including second and third story structures. The first buildings were built around A.D. 1000. The Sinagua were agriculturalists with trade connections that spanned hundreds of miles. The people left the area around 1400. The current site is comprised of 42 acres. Take a few hours and discover the incredible legacy of an ancient people at Tuzigoot National Monument. A self-guided, 1/3-mile loop trail leads you around and through the incredible 110 room pueblo. The trail also offers outstanding views of the Verde River and Tavasci Marsh. Another 1/2 mile round trip trail takes you to a beautiful constructed overlook of Tavasci Marsh. For directions to this monument click here. For more information visit Tuzigoot National Monument!
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V-Bar-V Heritage Site
“A rock art legacy from the Southern Sinagua of the Beaver Creek Community”
The V-Bar-V Heritage Site, acquired in 1994 by the Coconino National Forest, is one of the most well preserved and largest petroglyph sites in the Verde Valley. The petroglyphs that you see at this site are identified as the Beaver Creek Style. This rock art is truly amazing and the information gathered at this site has helped to define important characteristics of the Beaver Creek Style. The V-Bar-V Heritage Site is about 18 miles south of Sedona, off of State Route 179 on National Forest Road 618 in Rimrock, Arizona. The Verde Valley Archaeological Society and Friends of the Forest offer guided tours during park hours from 9:30 am – 3:00 pm Friday through Monday. The petroglyph area is only accessible during regular visiting hours. For more information visit the V-Bar-V Heritage Site.
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Walnut Canyon National Monument
“Walk in the footsteps of people who lived at Walnut Canyon more than 700 years ago”
Walk in the footsteps of people who lived at Walnut Canyon more than 700 years ago. Peer into their homes, cliff dwellings built deep within canyon walls. The presence of water in a dry land made the canyon rare and valuable to its early human inhabitants. It remains valuable today as a habitat for plants and animals. See for yourself on trails along the canyon rim and into the depths. It has been more than 700 years since Walnut Canyon echoed with the words and sounds of a vital pueblo community. The Island Trail leads you back in time, and welcomes you into the world of the people archaeologists call Sinagua. You’ll see 25 cliff dwelling rooms along the trail. More are visible across the canyon. Spectacular canyon scenery and plant-life. For directions click here. For more information visit Walnut Canyon National Monument.
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Wupatki National Monument
“Visit the largest Wupatki Pueblo”
From hunter-gatherers to farmers, herders, ranchers, and caretakers, many people have called Wupatki home. Less than 800 years ago, Wupatki Pueblo was the largest pueblo around. It flourished for a time as a meeting place of different cultures. Yet this was one of the warmest and driest places on the Colorado Plateau, offering little obvious food, water, or comfort. The builders of Wupatki and nearby pueblos have moved on, but their legacy remains. It will take about 2 hours to see five prehistoric pueblos. If you have less time, allow at least 30 minutes to visit the largest – Wupatki Pueblo – located behind the Visitor Center. For directions click here. For more information visit the Wupatki National Monument.