This pueblo compound of the Sinagua Indians was occupied during their heyday, which was roughly from the 12th to the 14th centuries. Originally rising to three stories in some places and encompassing 70-plus rooms, the village sheltered approximately 150 people. Today, excepting a reconstructed room, much of the compound is in ruins. Still, it offers an intriguing look at Arizona's past cultures and affords views from all directions, thanks to a hilltop location. A few trails in the vicinity and a visitors center with excavated and retrieved items are also available.
Set in the home and on the grounds of one of Sedona's early families, this museum showcases the lives and efforts of the town's pioneering settlers. Rooms of the Walter and Ruth Jordan home are devoted to domestic life, cowboy life, and local movie-making, especially the era of westerns. On the grounds are also apple and peach orchards, agricultural implements, and a barn with a variety of tools and equipment. A museum gift shop offers items related to the farm and the exhibits.
When the summer sun begins to bake the desert, folks make a pilgrimage to this refreshing state park. The site of a former homestead and orchard, the park offers access to Oak Creek and a terrific, 30-foot natural water slide. Plenty of visitors flank both sides of the creek, basking in the sun and splashing in the cool waters. Hiking trails in the vicinity add interest, and folks often picnic along the banks. Make sure you've got a sturdy swimsuit and good shoes – the rocks wreak havoc on flimsy clothing.
Once part of a private ranch, this 286-acre park offers some of the region's most spectacular scenery, especially given its stunning rock formations and the presence of Oak Creek. Five miles of trails lead visitors through – and to – the most picturesque areas, and rangers host informative tours and sessions. Plus, a visitors center with restrooms is available, along with facilities for picnicking. Kids and adults alike are entranced by the native flora and fauna, and the vistas are irresistible fodder for amateur photographers.
As far back as 6000 years ago, humans inhabited this area of Arizona, and through the centuries, various tribes have claimed the place as their own. Remnants of their times and cultures exist in cliff dwellings and in nearby rock art, evocative symbols created with mineral powders. Many of the earliest tribes remain unknown; others include the Southern Sinagua (who built the cliff village), the Yavapai, and the Apache. The sites are accessible via short hikes, and a small visitors center is available. Visitors should be respectful of these fragile Palatki sights (the Native American name means "red house" in Hopi).
Although it follows behind the Grand Canyon as a state attraction, Oak Creek Canyon doesn't skimp on scenery or activity. The beautiful, 16-mile-long geological feature is distinguished by rock formations in shades of red, yellow, and white and by its abundant vegetation and wildlife. Folks come to be mesmerized by the spectacle, to hike on canyon trails, and to fish its fruitful waters (licenses required). Campsites can be found as well, along with picnicking areas.
Its name provides apt indication of Bell Rock's shape, and the formation is a familiar presence in the area. If you'd like, you can scale its slopes: Towards the bottom, the going isn't too rough, although once you approach the top, the climb becomes more strenuous. Otherwise, simply enjoy its singular beauty from a distance. The rock has a reputation of being one of Sedona's four energy vortexes, a place where spiritual, psychic, and terrestrial forces unite. You may want to check out the claims for yourself.
A half-hour's drive from Sedona, this railroad tour embarks for a scenic excursion through Verde Canyon, accessible only by train. Four hours round-trip, the rail runs to Perkinsville and back and offers incredible views of rock formations, the Verde River, local wildlife, and Native American ruins. While riding, visitors are regaled with stories, commentary, and music related to the environment and the journey. Themed and seasonal trips are available as well.
More an apartment building than a castle, this cliff dwelling was built by members of the Sinagua tribe approximately seven centuries ago. Mistakenly associated with the Aztecs (thus the name), the complex is five stories high and features 20 rooms. Rising above creek flood plains, it could only be reached by ladder. Although visitors aren't permitted in the structure itself, they can view it from below and browse the visitors center. Eleven miles away is Montezuma's Well, a sinkhole that provided water for natives, along with an early irrigation network and other ruins.
Designed by sculptor Marguerite Brunswig Staude, this awe-inspiring chapel – a contemporary expression of architecture and spirituality – rises between two red rock mounds just outside of Sedona. Conceived in 1932, the chapel wasn't completed until 1957 and is distinguished by a 90-foot cross. Ideal for a moment of meditation or views of the surrounding landscape, the chapel is a Sedona requisite. Interestingly enough, the interior once boasted a stylized crucifix called the "Christus" which attracted controversy due to its portrayed agony and was ultimately removed and destroyed.