Exploring Ancient Ruins is a great way to spend a day in the Sedona area. In a place with as much history as Sedona, you’d expect to find a healthy collection of ancient artifacts and ruins that shed light on the past. Indeed, that’s exactly what you’ll find amidst the red rocks of Sedona, with remnants of local and more remote civilizations: Why not go out at explore ancient ruins of a culture long gone.
Head to Wupatki National Monument to get a glimpse of first millennium international trade. This landmark collection of ancient ruins pays tribute to the commerce that occurred between the Anasazi, Hohokam, Maya, and Sinagua, as evidenced by the 42 parrot skeletons that can be traced to the Yucatan Peninsula’s lush rainforest, and shells from the Pacific’s beaches. You should also head to Montezuma Castle to feast your eyes upon the 200-ft.-tall cliff dwellings, and Montezuma Well, a 370-ft.-wide, 55-ft.-deep sinkhole from which the Yavapai claim to have originated. Additionally, you can take a trip to Walnut Canyon National Monument, which features even more cliff dwellings—about 80 of them— ancient pueblos that the Sinagua built in the 12th or 13th century A.D.
So leave the modern comforts and amenities behind you for a day, and explore the storied past of Sedona’s ancient ruins. Whether you’re a history buff or just a curious person, you’ll appreciate finding out more about how people used to live, and be amazed by just how advanced these so-called “primitive” peoples were.
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DIRECTIONS TO RUINS SITES:
Montezuma Castle: Directions from Sedona: To get to these ancient ruins, follow I-17 to exit 289 (90 minutes north of Phoenix, 45 minutes south of Flagstaff). Drive east (through two traffic circles) for approximately 1/2 mile to the blinking red light. Turn left on Montezuma Castle Road.
Montezuma Well: Directions from Sedona: Follow I-17 to exit 293 (4 miles (6.5 km) north of the exit for Montezuma Castle). Continue through the towns of McGuireville and Rimrock, following the signs for 4 miles (6.5 km) to the entrance to the Well. There is no fee to enter Montezuma Well.
Tuzigoot National Monument: Directions from Sedona: Follow 89A from Sedona south toward Cottonwood. After approximately 15 miles (24 km) turn right onto E. Mingus Ave. Turn right on N. Main St/AZ-260. Turn right onto Tuzigoot Rd.
Wupatki National Monument: Directions: From Flagstaff, take US 89 north for 12 miles (19 km), turn right at sign for Sunset Crater Volcano – Wupatki National Monuments. The Visitor Center is 21 miles (34 km) from this junction.
Walnut Canyon National Monument: Directions: Walnut Canyon National Monument is located approximately 7.5 miles (12 km) east of Flagstaff. To reach Walnut Canyon’s ancient ruins from Flagstaff, travel east on Interstate 40 toward Albuquerque. Take Exit 204, and head south. The Walnut Canyon Visitor Center is located at the end of this 3 mile (5 km) road.