We visited this site through the Pink Jeep Tours, which we enjoyed very much. The guide gave us blankets to keep warm while traveling to the ancient ruin. Words can hardly discribe the beauty this site holds. It was wonderful to be able to stand right up next to it and even touch it. Now your not allowed to climb around it, because it is crumbling due to time and elements. So make sure you respect the site and do not pick up or disturb any of the surroundings. Our Jeep guide was knowledgable and gave us plenty of time to take in the sights. So enjoy!
Palatki heritage site is located in the Coconino National Forest in Sedona, Arizona (approximately 34 55' 3.58"N, 111 53' 58.85"W for GPS users). Built in the formidable red cliffs of the area are a set of ruins belonging to the Sinagua. The Sinagua created the ruins from 1100 to 1400 A.D, but there are pictographs and petroglyphs that are much older. Some of the petroglyphs are estimated to be 5,000 to 6,000 years old.
Open 10am to 6pm daily.
Coconino National Forest
1824 S. Thompson St.
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
The Palatki Ruins are about a 20 minute drive from West Sedona and well worth a visit. Not only do you get to see cave paintings and a ceremonial site, but also ruins left by the Synagua Indians. It's an easy half mile walk to explore this site and the volunteers who run the site are very friendly and knowledgable.
Call Palatki at (928) 282-3854 between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. 7 days a week. Information is also available at the Red Rock Ranger District at (928) 282-4119, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
You should allow at least 1-2 hours to see and appreciate the site. Hours: 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. 7 days a week (subject to weather conditions).
Alternative directions: those with high-clearance vehicles and/or a sense of adventure can turn right on Dry Creek Road off 89A (south of the "Y", still in the town of Sedona) and follow the signs for Enchantment Resort/Loy Butte. At the road to the Enchantment Resort, turn left onto Boynton Pass Road (FR 152C), and follow the signs for Loy Butte/Palatki (FR 525 to FR 795, turn right and follow to site). This road is generally passable to passenger cars when dry, but it is not regularly maintained by the county and has some rough and rocky stretches.
To Palatki Heritage Site From Cottonwood: Take 89A north from Cottonwood. About 1/2 mile north of Mile marker 364, turn left onto a dirt road (Forest Road 525 to Forest Road 795; passable for passenger cars when dry), and drive 8 miles to Palatki Heritage Site and the parking lot.
Fees: A Red Rock Pass (or equivalent) is required on all vehicles parked at our Cultural Sites. This pass can be purchased at these sites during normal hours of operation.
Petroglyph's or rock carvings/rock art can be found throughout the Honanki ruins. These particular symbols shown in this picture are thought to be clan signs. They appear as round white circles on the rockface.
We noticed they appeared here and there on the stone outcrops. It was amazing to think they can still be seen after hundreds and hundreds of years! They still exist because they were sheltered from harsh weather.
Once again, these ruins are in such a desolate area. The quiet was punctuated by birdsong, but little else.
Iron oxide is what causes the red color in the rocks throughout the Sedona area. This is where you'll find Thunder Mountain, Bear Mountain and Capital Butte. Thunder Mountain gets struck by lightning at least 100 times each year! All of this is part of the Colorado Plateau, which is the second largest in the world.
We traveled over bumpy Dry Creek Road and through Boyton Canyon to the Sinaguan ruins, a people originally from Mexico. As we parked and entered through the security fence, the cliffside loomed before us. We began hiking up a small path to the ruins.
We passed prickly pear cactus, shaggy bark juniper (used by Native Am. for baby diapers) and alligator bark junipers (picture 4). Suddenly, the ruins were at the top of the path. Walls, which once partitioned rooms beneath the cliff, stood in various stages of deterioration (picture 1-2). It's thought the Sinaguans inhabited this site between 1000 AD and 1350 AD. From within the rooms, you can see where campfires blackened the ceilings (picture 3).
Some of the petroglyphs could be seen easily, but others were almost hidden by dark deposits on the rock's surface. This is called 'rock varnish'.
Rock varnish is actually a layer of minerals that have settled on the rock surface. Tiny colonies of bacteria produce a cement type substance which cause these minerals to stick to the rock. As time goes on, the varnish thickens and becomes darker.
This picture shows an exposed petroglyph on the left, but the one on the right is almost covered by rock varnish.
Just like we record events today that have particular significance to us, petroglyphs were created to identify particular clans, detail history or happenings and sometimes had a spiritual application.
Picture 1 seems to be related to hunting
Picture 2 appears to be a woman holding a baby up to the sun
Picture 3 is thought by archaeologists to be made by an earlier culture of 10,000 years ago marking its presence on the rocks. Notice the circular black shapes, instead of a drawing.
I could have wandered around these ruins for hours! Our tour was to last 2 l/2 to 3 hours, but extended a bit beyond that. Our guide had a genuine interest in these ancient people and was a wealth of information!
Some rock art was colored, such as this red circle with a line dividing it in the middle. The Sinaguans used powdered minerals, charcoal or dried parts of plants to create color...even using blood.
When pictographs are discovered, it's always because they've been protected in someway from the weather. If they've been placed in an area that's exposed, they can be eroded away by wind and rain. Only the faintest outline can be observed in that case.
We became so absorbed in discovering the different types of rock art at the Honanki ruins, time flew by without too much notice!
There are several local area attractions that I think you should not miss... Palatki Ruins (Anasazi ruins & petroglyphs, Red Canyon/Loy Butte(Ruins and energy vortex) -both located west of Boynton Canyon - ask for directions, Montezuma Well - located 25 miles southeast of Sedona (near town of Rimrock-Lake Montezuma - Exit #293 off of Interstate 17).
These are sites of ancient Anasazi Indian ruins and petroglyphs, well-maintained, manned... small charge to enter.
Visit nearby Indian Ruins - like Wupatki.
Enjoy learning about the hostory of the area while gaining a greater appreciation for the ancient ones.