We couldn’t wrap up our stay near Sedona without a trip to the Granite Dells. Located about 4 miles north of downtown Prescott, Arizona, day hikers will find miles of trails winding up and down through forests of large boulders. The feeling is a little unworldly.
We chose to explore the curiously named Constellation Loop Trail, a 2.4 mile hike up, down through a variety of landscape and rock formations. Although there is a bit of climbing, this is not too challenging of a walk. We saw people of all ages wandering…picking and choosing their route from the many intersecting trails. Reg and I couldn’t help but think how much our three boys would have loved racing each other along the dusty paths – back when they were young enough to make a competition out of anything and everything!
At the end of our loop we learned the history behind the Constellation Loop trail name. The large plaque serves as a nice memorial to the five servicemen who will be remembered by all who walk this trail.
It’s impossible to capture the vastness of the Grand Canyon with a simple photo. However, that has never stopped me from trying! Wandering the Rim Trail, we worked up an appetite and soon found refreshments in the El Tovar Hotel restaurant (be sure to ask for a table with a view). We wandered through the Hopi House (below right), built in 1904. The gift shop showcases Native American arts and crafts.
As we headed back to the parking lot, were reminded of our last trip to the Grand Canyon 13 years ago. Our sons were all well into their teenage years, and we wanted one last family adventure before they all headed off in different directions. The 2-day mule ride down to Phantom Ranch for the night, while not easy, remains a grand family memory.
The grandeur of the Walnut Canyon cliff dwellings is hard to capture in a small photo. Hoping for a better look, we held tight to the railing and started down the dizzying 185-foot, 240-step pathway to reach the Island Trail.
The “island” refers to the large rock and hill that stands behind it which jut out into the middle of the canyon (photo above right). The trail encircles the two outcroppings, passing within feet of multiple ruins. Across the expanse of the canyon are numerous other dwellings, all once inhabited by the Sinagua people.
We hadn’t intended on visiting Walnut Canyon, although several people had told us it was well worth the trip…and it was. If climbing down and up the trail is not your thing, or if you’re bothered by heights, the view from the rim is pretty spectacular too.
We bounced down six long miles on a dirt road today, determined to visit the Palatki Heritage Site, one of the two largest cliff dwelling sites found among the red rocks in the Sedona, Arizona area.
After a short walk up through the trees to the bottom of the cliff, we reached the ruins of the ancient Sinagua people who lived in the area from 1150 – 1300 A.D. A ranger was on hand to explain a little bit of what is known about the lives of cliff dwellers.
Several folks insisted the great hiking through unusual rock formations (know as Granite Dells) just outside the city of Prescott, Arizona was not to be missed. We packed our lunch, filled our water bottles and set off over the hill to see what all the fuss was about.
These granite boulders were formed 1.4 billion years ago, slowly exposed and shaped by erosion and weathering. Wandering through this geologic wonderland is like entering another world.
Located high above the Verde Valley in the community of Strawberry, Arizona, stands the little one-room Strawberry Schoolhouse. Built in 1885 out of pine logs, it was added to the National register of Historic Places in 2005, and remains one of the oldest standing schoolhouses in the state.