Palatki Heritage Site - Ancient Cliff Dwelling and Pictographs Sheltered by Colorful Cliffs of Red Canyon
The Palatki Heritage Site cliff dwelling and rock art site is located near the town of Sedona in north-central Arizona. Currently managed by the U.S. Forest Service under the Red Rock Pass Program, the site is open to the general public for visits seven days a week (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas). A small visitor center and bookstore, run by the Arizona Natural History Association, is located a short distance from the parking lot.
There are three trails at Palatki Heritage Site, one trail that takes you up to the Sinagua cliff dwellings, one that takes you to a view of the dwellings and a third that goes to the alcoves that shelter the painted symbols, or pictographs from every native culture to ever occupy the Verde Valley. These trails, each ¼ mile one way making the round trip distance one and one half mile, are fairly easy but they are not accessible to most wheelchairs.
For the months of July and August, visitors will be viewing the Palatki Cliff Dwelling from a distance because the trail up to the dwelling will be closed. During this time, visitors will be directed to the Vista trail, which has an excellent view of the dwelling. Visitors will be sent in groups to the viewing area every 20 minutes. Please call for reservations so that visitor use can be spread out through the day. Managers plan to reopen the trail up to the dwelling in September. When the trail up to the dwelling reopens, access is limited to no more than ten people at one time and visitors will not get to enter the dwelling. Groups will be scheduled to go up to the dwelling every 20 minutes starting at 9:40. No group will be scheduled for 12:40 in order to give the docent at the site a break. Visitors with reservations will be given priority if they arrive at the time they have reserved.
Palatki and its sister site, Honanki were the largest cliff dwellings of the Red Rock country between A.D.1150 - 1300. They were first described by Dr. Jesse Walter Fewkes, famous turn-of-the century archaeologist from the Smithsonian Institution, who gave them the Hopi names of Honanki (Bear House) and Palatki (Red House). The Hopi, however, have no specific names for these sites.
Before you visit, please call for reservations at (928) 282-3854 and visit our "Archaeological Site Etiquette Guide". (Click on "Overview/Background" in the right column)
Pets are not allowed beyond the parking area at this heritage site.
Photos & Multimedia
At a Glance
Open 7 days a week, 9:30 to 3:00. The roads to Palatki are rough gravel roads. Passenger cars can get to Palatki but drivers need to go slowly and carefully. Plan on taking at least 30 minutes from the time you leave Sedona to get to Palatki. After substantial rain and snow, Palatki Heritage Site will be closed; signs indicating the closed status will normally be posted at key access points. The cliff dwelling site at Palatki will be available to visitors on a limited basis, beginning September 21. Tours of up to 10 visitors at a time will be conducted every 20 minutes, beginning at 9:40 a.m. Plan to arrive at least 10 minutes before your scheduled tour to the dwelling. As always, reservations are preferred and those with reservations will be given first priority to visit the dwelling.
Call Palatki at (928) 282-3854 between 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to make a reservation. Reservations help the Forest Service manage the number of visitors who are at the site at one time.
A Red Rock Pass (or equivalent) is required on all vehicles parked at our Cultural Sites. This pass can be purchased here. If you are headed for Honanki, be sure to pick up a pass on the way, as we don't sell them there.
||Red Rock District - 928-203-2900
From Sedona: Take Hwy. 89A through West Sedona and continue past the last traffic light for five miles. Just past mile marker 365, turn right onto Forest Road 525. Go north for 5 miles and when F.R. 525 bears left, continue straight ahead onto Forest Road 795 for two miles. This road will lead directly into the Palatki parking lot.
An alternative way to access Palatki it to travel through west Sedona on Hwy. 89A, turn right onto Dry Creek Rd. There are signs at every intersection that will direct you towards Palatki. At the end of Dry Creek Rd, turn left onto Boynton Pass Road (FR 152C). At the next stop sign, turn left again. In a couple of miles, the pavement will end and you should continue on the rough gravel road for three miles until you reach another T intersection where you should turn right. It is 2 miles to Palatki from this intersection. These roads are generally passable to passenger cars when dry, but it is not regularly maintained by the County and has some rough and rocky stretches.
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 7 miles to Palatki Heritage Site and the parking lot.
GPS: N34° 54' 58.2474", W-111° 54' 6.228"
Click map graphic for PRINTABLE view.