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Honanki Ruins, AZ

AZ > Sedona > Sedona NW
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Guide 13 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Sedona NW
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HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 0.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,760 feet
Elevation Gain 40 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 0.5 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 0.7
Interest Ruins
Backpack No
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
16  2012-12-29 DarthStiller
3  2011-04-07 sneakySASQUATCH
4  2009-04-18
Sedona Ruins
10  2009-01-23 cabel
5  2008-11-08 Al_HikesAZ
22  2007-01-14 PaleoRob
10  2005-09-04 Randal_Schulhaus
Author PaleoRob
author avatar Guides 159
Routes 158
Photos 5,594
Trips 998 map ( 2,260 miles )
Age 39 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Co-Author tinyelvis
co-author avatarGuides 3
Routes 0
Photos 125
Trips 17 map (82 Miles)
Age 40 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Mar, Nov → Any
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:43am - 7:23pm
0 Alternative
Geology Nearby
Culture Nearby
One of the best preserved ruins near Sedona.
by PaleoRob & tinyelvis

The Sinagua ("without water") Indians once lived across a vast swatch of land, stretching from north of Flagstaff down through the Verde Valley. They disappeared from the archaeological record by 1450, with the northern branch probably beginning to meld into the early Hopi culture. The southern Sinagua's fate is less clear. Some experts have suggested that warring or hostile invaders may have driven the Sinagua away, or killed them all. Others postulate that they moved south to the Phoenix Basin to join the Hohokam around 1300, when most of the Colorado Plateau was undergoing a huge population relocation. This may be true, as the first "Sinagua" were probably in fact Hohokam settlers who later adopted some northern, Anasazi, cultural traditions.

Honanki, a Hopi word meaning "Bear House" is one of the best places to see what the Sinagua life was like in the late 1200's. Located just a few miles away from Palatki Pueblo, and contemporaneous with it, this large cliff dwelling gives a great idea of how populous the Sedona area was back then.

This site is visited far more often than neighboring Palatki, probably due to its easy access. The road is a decent dirt road that most vehicles can travel over, and this site also does not require registration like Palatki. In addition several Sedona jeep tour companies take tourists to this site.

From the parking area, cross the road and stop at the information booth. This is staffed by a Forest Service volunteer or employee during the day, when the ruin is open. There is no fee, but you are required to sign your name and group size, so that the FS can monitor site usage. Then the person will give a brief talk about Honanki, etiquette, and rattlesnakes, which are apparently common during the summer. Then you are left to your own devices.

Heading north from the booth, you will come across a branch in the trail. Stay to the left - you'll come out after the ruin on the trail to the right. As you continue north across the rolling pinon-juniper forest, look through the trees at the base of Loy Butte; you can catch a glimpse of Honanki.

After the trail bends right and brings you up against the cliff, you are at Honanki. There is a fair amount of rock art at this site, some of it located quite high. Some of these high images are hard to imagine someone painting at - how did they reach it?

Most of the main cliff dwelling of Honanki is closed to exploration, but you can take a small spur up into the alcove. When this ruin was built in the late 1100's, it filled the entire alcove, and spilled out onto the valley floor, along the base of the cliff. Quite the complex! This site was much larger than nearby Palatki, or the other well-known Sinagua cliff dwelling of Montezuma's Castle. Take a few minutes to imagine how the ruin would have looked when it was whole, filled with a bustling population of people, turkeys, and dogs.

After climbing back down from the alcove, follow the trail further south along the cliff face. There are more rooms here, some that were at least two stories tall when the pueblo was completed. There are also more rock art images. Look for round "shield" designs. Some people have suggested that these were hexes for the Anasazi, but what they meant for the Sinagua is unknown. They are somewhat common through out the Sinagua heartland (several can be found at Palatki), which suggests their role in life may be more prosaic than cursing someone. They may have simply been identifiers for the village and/or the people living there. Keep your eye out also for several human figures, one who appears to be a flute player. Another may be a dancer (Air Jordan, tinyelvis called it).

After soaking up as much of the ruin as you want, keep hiking along the cliff face until the trail bends right again. This will eventually take you back to the fork in the trail north of the booth, and from there back to your car.

Please note that there is no water on this trail. Fill your water bottles in Sedona or elsewhere before beginning this hike.

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2008-02-01 PaleoRob & tinyelvis
  • Sedona Trails 2018
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    Sedona Trails 2018
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Permit $$
Red Rock Pass - may or may not be required. Go to Red Rock Pass then check "When is a Red Rock Pass Required?". If you have questions contact the Coconino forest service.

Map Drive
FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

To hike
From the junction of Highways 89A and 179, drive 3,1 miles west on highway 89A to Dry Creek Road. Turn North and drive 4.6 miles to Boynton Pass Rd. Turn West and drive about 4 mi. to Red Canyon Road. Turn North and drive less than a 1/4 mile to the fork in the road. Bear left at this junction, and follow this road about 4.5 miles to the parking area for Honanki (signed). This road is generally okay, and can be passed in a low clearance vehicle, provided it has not snowed or rained recently.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool
11.5 inch Teflon Coated Umbrella
Super Wide Brim Sun Hat for Men or Women
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