1, 2 &3+ Day Trips
Besh Ba Gowah Fee $3. In Globe just off Hwy 60. Unusual multi-room Salado site south of the highway. Nice easy walking tour. Complete with movie and experimental gardens.
Bradshaw City (click to read the article) Founded by William Bradshaw, for whom the mountains are named, in the 1860's, it's a fascinating site for history lovers. Free of charge. Located on the Senator Highway northwest of Crown King. The pioneer cemetary is located south of the site. Start early. If you drive to Prescott, allow 6 hours.
Casa Grande Ruins near Coolidge Fee. Go south on I-10 toward Tucson. Go left at the Casa Grande exit (the town is on the right side of the road, the ruins are east or to your left). Follow it to the ruins. Excellent tour. Note the outermost west wall. The upper windows are aligned for both lunar and solar events.
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument Located south of Phoenix, it's well worth the trip.
Crown King (see article) Drive north on I-17 to the Bumble Bee/ Crowned King turn off. Go west. Allow 2 hours one-way.
Jerome. I-17 to the Cottonwood Turnoff. Follow the highway through the town and go southwest. Excellent day trip.
Kinishba $5 admission fee. Get your permit at the Cultural Center in Ft. Apache.. Excellent 200+ room site over a large area. Take Hwy 60 to Globe. Go north on Hwy 77 through the Salt River Canyon (a paleozoic fossil hunters dream with breathtaking scenery). Drive north to the Ft. Apache turn off. Go over Geronimo Pass. Another 5 miles or so, you'll see a sign on the right side of the road about ruins. Take the dirt road...drive slowly since there are chug holes. Take the left hand at the Y and continue. Out in the middle of nowhere and wonderful. Pick up nothing. This is the honor system. Look at the Anasazi/Chaco style stonework on the SW corner of the plaza. Take the time to walk north from this huge site to the Moenkopi quarry that was used. Unique experience!
Montezuma's Castle Fee. Go north on I-17. Go north of Prescott. The signs will give you the turn off. Spend some time walking the area and enjoy the diorama. Hohokam/Sinagua site. Excellent experience. Easy walking tour.
Patlatki Ruins No fees. Go north on I-17 to Sedona/ Oak Creek Village turn off. Drive into Sedona. At the "Y", turn left on 89A. Turn right at the public library. Go passed the library and continue north. Just follow the signs. The road is horrible so be careful. Beautiful ruins nestled in the canyon. Easy walking tour once you get off the road! Petroglyphs and pictographs. There's usually a guide on duty to answer your questions. Sinagua.
Prescott. The old Territorial capital. Visit Whiskey Row and the Pioneer's Cemetary north of town. See the Big Nose Kate article.
Pueblo Grande Ruins at Hwy 143 and Washington. In the Scottsdale area, south of Papago Park. Fee $3 Enjoyable walking tour of the ruins. Note the SE corner of the upper room area. It's astrologically aligned with Hole in the Rock in Papago Park for solstice and equinoxes. Most worthwhile.
Sears Site near Cave Creek In the immediate area. No fees. Simply walking tour with signage. Take Scottsdale Road north to the Boulders at the Carefree Hwy intersection. Scottsdale Road now turns into Tom Darlington. Continue north to the T. Turn right. This is Cave Creek. Go north past the turn off for Bartlett Dam. It's a Hohokam located on the right hand side of the road. Interesting site and great views.
Shoofly Ruins in Payson No fees. Take Hwy 87 to Payson. Continue north through town to the Houston Mesa turnoff. The ruins are located east of Mesa de Caballo on the right hand side of the road. Easy walking tour. Nice picnic area. Restrooms.
Tonto National Monument. Fee $3. Cliff dwellings (two). Take Hwy 87 (also known locally as the Beeline) toward Payson. Get off on Hwy 188. A few miles on the other side of Punkin Center, if you're hungry, stop at the Butcher's Block. Good food, reasonable prices and funny books at every table to humor you during your wait. The ruins are located east of the dam on the right side of the road. National Parks passes are honored. Excellent views of the Salt River, Lake Roosevelt and surrounding area. Most worthwhile. Go early if you can. The Upper Site takes a couple of hours to walk to but this is easy. Tonto National Monument
Tuzigoot. Fee. Excellent site off I-17. Easy walking tour through the ruins. Sinagua. Tuzigoot National Monument
Wupatki Fee. This is north of Flagstaff about 12 miles. Go into the Sunset Crater camping area first. Stop at the Ranger's Station and look at the artifacts as well as the geologic history of the area. Take the outer loop passed the extinct volcano to Wupatki. Look across the arroyo they call the Little Colorado...and you'll be looking at Old Oraibi! They have a ball court that is most unusual. Next to it, you'll experience the blow holes from the Kaibab limestone caves. You'll understand a little more about stories of the sipapu once you've gone there. Excellent!!!
Wupatki was a cosmopolitan center with a Mexican/Aztec flair. Copper bells, seashells, woven fabric, numerous out of district artifacts were found. This may have been a Chacoan outlier. Hohokam, Sinagua and Anasazi.
Hopi Reservation: I do this in a day which for me is fine but for first time visitor's, this should be a two day trip. There are three (yes, there are more but these are safe) ways for you to get there. Make sure you drive the speed limits!
1. Take Hwy 87 through Payson to Winslow and continue north. You will see Homolovi Ruins on the left side as you follow Hwy 87 to the rez. It's my favorite route since it's less traveled and offers some astonishing scenery along the way. Continue north, at the T : if you turn left, you'll find the Hopi Cultural Center which is excellent. It has both a museum and a decent restaurant. Check out the diorama of Walpi. Go west and you'll find Old Oraibi on Third Mesa, the oldest continuously inhabited village in the US dating back to 1100AD.
If you go east from the Cultural Center, you'll find Walpi, on First Mesa. Take the drive up the switchbacks to the top.. Astonishing views. There's a walking tour that is usually available through the oldest section. If you can afford the time, you'll love it.
2. Go north on I-17 to Flagstaff. Take Hwy 40 to Winslow. Turn north on Hwy 87. It's faster but you miss the beauty of the Mogollon Rim.
3. This is usually the way we come home. Go north from Flagstaff to Hwy 160. Turn right (east) toward Tuba City. Stop for the dinosaur tracks on the north side of the road. I know it looks like a tourist trap but you'll see numerous T. rex and Dilophosaurus tracks in the Mesozoic shale floor!!! It's authentic and explains a great deal about the geologic history of the area. At Tuba City, take Hwy 264 south. You'll go through some interesting areas on your way to Old Oraibi. Stop and enjoy the views.
Old Oraibi. Fee for guided walking tour.
Walpi Fee for guided walking tour.
Betatakin. Fee. Take I-17 north through Flagstaff. Turn off on Hwy 160 to Tuba City. About half way between Tuba City and Kayenta, you will see the Betatakin/Navajo National Monument turnoff. Go early. It's a long walk down the hill to the ruins.
3 Days or More
Keet Seel Special Permit Required. Schedule weeks in advance. This is a backpacking adventure of 2+ days down the canyon floor escorted by staff. Easy hike but it's a long one.
Monument Valley. Fee. North of Kayenta. I love going here for several reasons. Even though the Navajo manage it, it Anasazi country! There's a horseback ride you can schedule that takes you by petroglyphs that are hundreds of years old. Camping available. Stop by Goulding's Trading Post for a nice meal in a dining room that offers spectacular views.
Grand Gulch Primitive Area. Fee. Continue north from Monument Valley. While this is officially Utah, who cares if you love archaeology. Never knew a border to stop a dedicated, inquisitive person yet. Go back out to the highway turning north. You'll cross the famous San Juan River at Mexican Hat. There are several nice restaurants..one next to the river and another at the north end of town. Stop by Gooseneck Park if you have time.
Go to Valley of the Gods. Take the steep switchbacks to the top of the mesa. Voila... you're at the beginning of the primitive area known as Grand Gulch. It's Basketmaker II and III country. Numerous ruins along the paths. Check in at the Ranger Station during the season. You basically leave your name and how long you intend to be gone. From there on, it's a 22 mile hike-one way- passed marvelous ruins to the San Juan River. In short, it's a MULTI-DAY excursion. TAKE PLENTY OF WATER with you. It's not for the faint hearted or solo traveler.
Canyon de Chelly Fee. Super site. What can I say? Go east from the Hopi Reservation to Chinle. Camping in all it's variations available. Hike down to White House Ruins. The hike will take about an hour downhill..and you know yourself well enough to know how long it will take you to get back. Pace yourself but make it to the canyon floor. Impressive!!!!!
Zuni No fees. I'm including the town of Zuni for a couple of reasons. The first is the setting and homes you'll find there...right down to Anasazi stone ovens used today! The Anasazi landscape is so like Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde and Betatakin, you'll just smile when you see it. The Anasazi didn't wander off into oblivion, they just moved to new areas. Drive through town. Drive through the side streets. It will make you nod "Yes".
The second reason is the Catholic mission which is so far off their main roads, you'll need to stop for directions. An incredible artist has painted a mural that is a combination of Anasazi beliefs mixed with some Catholic/Christian philosophy in such astonishing detail, you'll be overwhelmed! It's taken almost 30 years to paint it and it's still a work in progress. Trust me, Jacqueline Kennedy and the Pope have been there. Take the time.
Chaco Canyon Fee There's no place like Chaco Canyon. Go through Holbrook and take the Crownpointe turnoff. At Crownpointe, turn right. Follow the signs. This is the backway into the park. Fajada Butte is worth walking to and is the home of one of the most famous solstice sites in Anasazi history. It will take a full day to drive there...a minimum of two days on site to see all the pueblos, drink in the astronomical significance and petroglyphs. The history here dates back 10,000 years!
Mesa Verde Fee Another playground of mine. Go into Cortez, CO, turn right (east toward Durango). It's on the right side of the road. Too many sites to list but if you are interested, 6 months isn't enough. You'll need at least 4 days to do anything significant because you need passes, have to stand in lines and yes, find parking. But I love it!
Parks & Monuments
Grand Canyon National Park