Palatki Indian Ruins

Written by on November 7, 2014 in AZ History & Heritage - Comments Off on Palatki Indian Ruins

Located in the gorgeous red rock country just outside of Sedona, Arizona, Palatki Indians Ruins is a world heritage site. Palatki means “red house” in the Hopi language. There are actually two different sites you can explore, each with a short hike to get there.

The first area is a pair of gorgeous cliff dwellings in the red rocks (hence the red house name), where the Sinagua people lived from around 1150 AD to around 1425 AD. Follow the short trail to the right of the visitor’s center into a box canyon, where the ruins of two dwellings are tucked away.

The fact that there are two ruins here leads archeologists to believe that two families or kin groups lived here. The smaller ruin is closed to the public, but the nine room dwelling is open for viewing. The dwelling is tucked under an overhand. During the winter months, the sun shines into the opening. During the blazing summer months, the overhang provides cooling shade.

The second area to explore is the wall of petroglyphs where the native people recorded important events. Some of these petroglyphs date back as far as 6,000 years. And some were created by other Native American tribes that roamed the area throughout history, including the Sinagua, the Yavapai and the Apache. The images depict humans, grizzly bears, horses, coyote, deer, and even rattlesnakes and are painted in colors ranging from red to black.

In the 1920s, Charles Willard discovered the abandoned site and built his homestead nearby. He planted an orchard of 2,000 trees (some of which still stand on the site) and put in a vegetable garden. His home is now the visitor’s center. While the house was being built, Willard lived in one of the stone dwellings just beyond the house.

Finally, the site sits at the edge of the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness area and the views of the Sedona red rock formations are spectacular.

The Palatki Indian Ruins are open year around from 9:30 – 3:30, weather permitting. Rain or snow has been known to close the road into the site, so it is smart to call ahead and reservations are required to tour the area. You can make reservations by calling 928-282-3854. Rest facility, picnic tables and water are available.

Other attractions in the area include:
Top 10 Things to do in Sedona
Tuzigoot National Monument
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

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