Ancient Indian Sites of Sedona

Palatki Ruins | Photo by Larry Lindahl
The Sinagua populated Sedona, the Verde Valley, and the Flagstaff area from about A.D. 650 to 1400. These ancient ancestors of the Hopi were a pueblo-dwelling, agricultural people who grew corn and other crops, and left behind hundreds of mysterious pictographs and petroglyphs.


A half-mile hike takes visitors to this two-story masonry dwelling under a huge cliff wall. Guided tours on an adjacent trail lead to the Red Cliff alcoves where visitors may photograph a wide variety of rock art. The ruin lies in shadow early and late in the day, but the midday sun highlights the texture of the stone dwelling.

The site is about 15 miles northwest of Sedona, part of the way on dirt roads. From 89A in West Sedona, take Dry Creek Road to stop sign, turn left onto Boynton Pass Road (FR152C), at next intersection turn left again. Pavement ends soon after Doe Mountain/Bear Mtn. trailhead parking lot, but continue on to next intersection, turn right, and road leads to site.

Reservation required: (928) 282-3854. Open seven days a week, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30p.m. (gate closes at 3 p.m.). Red Rock Pass required.


A wooded trail leads to a viewing area of this large prehistoric pueblo tucked into an alcove below Loy Butte. The Sinagua, and later the Yavapai, painted pictographs above the ruins. Visitors are not allowed inside the dwelling.

From Palatki, take the first right onto FR 525, continue about 5 miles on the very rough road (high clearance recommended). Open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The dwelling is in the alcove’s shadow all summer, so all day is good for photography. In winter the low-angled sun lights up the stone masonry. Red Rock Pass required.

V-Bar-V petroglyphs

Hundreds of ancient symbols cover red sandstone panels at the largest petroglyph site in the Verde Valley. A short walk leads to the site near Beaver Creek, where many photogenic glyphs represent riparian birds and animals. All day is good for photographs. High noon makes interesting refl ected light bouncing off the ground just moments before the sun actually comes over the west-facing panel and hits it directly. A polarizer will not help much. Open Friday through Monday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:00p.m. The Forest Service-administered site is 2.8 miles east of the junction of Interstate 17 and State Route 179 on Forest Service Road 618. Phone: (928) 282-3854. Red Rock Pass required.

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