Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Fabulous Ruins Near Sedona

       The whole world seems to be very aware of the natural beauty and recreational opportunities found in and around the northern Arizona community of Sedona.  The beautiful red rocks mountains with their miles of hiking and jeep trails, fresh running streams with deep fishing holes and even cosmic vortexes have been attracting families to this natural paradise for nearly 1000 years.
       For here too in this red rock county, less than 20 miles from downtown Sedona, a group of Sinagua Indians built two large red rock pueblos and lived within them between 1125 – 1300 CE.  Known today by their Hopi names of Palatki and Honanki, these two spectacular ruins lie within five miles of each other and are just waiting for visitors to come and enjoy their ancient beauty.  
     Both sites are designated heritage sites and are managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Red Rock Pass Program. Both sites, as are all ancient ruins and historic sites, are under the protection of the 1979 Archeological Resource Protection Act.
    Tours of Palatki, whose name means “Red House”, now only occur with a site docent due to the condition of the ruins and some recent destructive graffiti.    Three ¼-mile trails lead from the parking lot to a site over-look, the cliff dwellings themselves and a nearby alcove that protects many ancient petroglyphs and pictographs.
    Reservations to visit the Palatki Heritage Site are highly recommended, as tour groups are limited to 15 guests.  So too are a good pair of walking shoes.   A small visitor center is also located on the Palatki site.
    The nearby Honanki Heritage Site is believed to have been the largest Sinagua community in the Verde Valley. Visitors to Honanki are still welcome to walk into and among the ruins; a site steward is at the site but there are no docent tours.
    Honanki, whose name means “Bear House” is accessed by a short/easy, 1/8-mile trail from the parking area.  Over 30 ground floor rooms are located under the overhanging cliff.  Spectacular glyphs of Kokopelli the flute player, spirits, animals and ancient hands remind visitors of those who have gone before.
    The ruins of Palatki and Honanki are both located in an area known as Loy Canyon.  The gravel roads are wide and well maintained.  Both sites are open daily.  Photography opportunities will be abundant.  A Red Rock Pass for vehicles is required at both sites.
    Spring has arrived once again in and around Sedona so why not make this the time to get out, enjoy the beautiful weather, the abundance of wildflowers along the roadside and the two marvelous ruins of Palatki and Honanki.   Be sure to take your camera for you are going to really want to remember this Arizona trip!

A real Kokopelli

Ancient hands...

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