Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Black Canyon Greyhound Park


If you drive north from Phoenix on Interstate 17, you will run across the small town of Black Canyon. Sitting in the northern part of the settlement is the Black Canyon Greyhound Park. This abandoned building was once bustling with crowds of fans watching the dog races.  In 1982, it closed its doors for good.  Today, the only thing running through its hollowed walls are desert critters.

Although Sharon and I did not go inside the building to explore, I heard that once you pass through the large glass doors the building appears much bigger from the inside. The sky and desert surroundings are apparent through the missing walls and ceiling. From the debris on the ground to the yellowing lights above, this enormous building is one to explore.  The next time, we are checking out the inside.




Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mummified Bodies



The Arizona desert might not be the first place you would think a mummified body would be found. In fact, on several occasions throughout history a carcass was discovered buried or lying on the desert floor in a dried up condition. One such mummy was that of a cowboy found near the town of Gila Bend. It was in 1895 when a couple of rough-riders traveling on their horses across the desert came across an unusual site. It was a body of a man which appeared to have been lying there for a brief period and looked well preserved. The cowboy mummy was given the name, Sylvester, and was thought to have once been a 19th century rancher or perhaps a gambler. Hypothetical stories started circulating about how Sylvester was probably caught cheating, then shot, and bleed to death trying to escape. They go on to say that while fleeing, he fell off his horse, landed on the desert dirt, and was covered with blowing sands. The sands dried his body overnight preserving the corpse resulting in the mummified state he was found in.


Although that story might be a bit far-fetched, another more believable account was being told as well. The claims are he was found shortly after death and preserved in a high level of arsenic. Arsenic was used to stop the physical manifestation of a corpse rotting by killing bacteria and insects that invaded it. This custom of using arsenic was found to be poisonous by the 1900’s and never used again. No one knows who preserved his body in arsenic, but his mummified figure was put on exhibit in a sideshow for all to see. The Wild West outlaw mummy was acquired by the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop in Seattle, Washington in 1955 and put in a glass case for display. This has been Sylvester’s home ever since.
Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
1001 Alaskan Way (Pier 54)
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: (206) 68211-5844
Gila Bend
*More information on things to see while in Gila Bend can be found in Chapter 4, “Discarded Motel”.


What is “The Thing”? Driving along Interstate 10 from Tucson to El Paso, Texas, you cannot help but notice bizarre billboards scattered along the route. The first one will simply say, “The Thing” followed by another a few miles later with the words, “What is it?” Hum, your curiosity is now peaked as you drive by the next billboard with “Mystery of the Desert” advertised on the life-size poster.
Located on a summit between Benson and Wilcox on exit 322 from Interstate 10, is a large red, yellow, blue filling station and quirky little gift shop. Inside, you will find the typical southwest roadside gifts, jewelry, Native American items, books, antiques, and of course, “The Thing”. You will even find shirts, cups, shot glasses, and magnets advertising their mysterious conundrum. It is a cleaver promotional act to get people interested in visiting the shop by seeing what “The Thing” is.
Even though I have not seen “The Thing” in person, this is what I have been told. It will cost you one dollar at the register to walk through a tiny courtyard and enter the museum. Located in the courtyard is three prefabricated corrugated steel shed full of odd exhibits. You will note the unusual wood carvings, framed lithographs, saddles, rifles, a covered wagon, and some vintage automobiles. One of the autos is a 1937 Rolls-Royce they claimed was once owned by Adolf Hitler. After walking through a maze of bizarre stuff, you finally come upon the prize possession hidden in the back. “The Thing” is a mummified mother-and-child display encased in a glass-covered coffin. Is it real? Some will tell you it appears to be genuine, and some will say it is bogus. If this strange oddity peaks your interest and you want to see it for yourself, it will cost you a buck, but well worth the visit.


There isn’t much information on how the mummies and their coffin ended up in the shop. The story is told that in 1965 a man named Thomas Brinkley Prince relocated his wacky retail business from California to Arizona, east of Benson. It is not clear how Prince acquired the extraordinary “Thing”, but he publicly announced it as his main attraction for the shop. This advertisement is still found down Highway 10 on the mystifying billboards alongside the road.
The Thing?
2631 N. Johnson Road
Dragoon, Arizona
Phone: (520) 586-2581
Hours: 6:30 am to dark (call to verify) Daily
*Directions – I-10 to exit 322, south side
Benson, Arizona
*The above websites will provide you with all the information needed when you visit Benson, Arizona.


Near the city of Prescott in the mountains near the Verde River, a mummy of a prehistoric cliff dweller was discovered by John McCarty. He was recognized as an avid hunter and would often be found tracking in the northern section of Arizona. In March of 1896, he was hiking around cliffs near the Verde River, over 10 miles north from the entrance of the East Verde. He tossed a piece of metal at the side of the rock cliffs and notice when it made contact it sounded as if there was an empty space in the wall. He examined the area and noticed an underground chamber with a mummified body inside. The body appeared to be sitting against the side of the cavity as if to be put there as a means of retribution. He was sealed in this tomb and probably met his demise by lack of food, water or oxygen. McCarty found pottery shards, a stone axe, and arrowheads made from black glass and flint next to the torso. It looks as if this ancient man kept himself busy while serving out his punishment.
McCarty removed the twenty-one pound mummy and placed it on bedding. A donkey pulled the body behind it through the dirt desert floors until arriving at the main road. From there, it was taken to the nearby city of Prescott and examined. The mummy was a male and very well preserved. Various locations on the body had holes where the bone was exposed. The bones looked like rawhide but the skin was smooth. The mummy’s head was a bit of puzzlement. The forehead receded from the nose, while the back of skull was large, a feature usually found in the early Aztec people. Skulls which were found in the Verde River location usually had a more Caucasian shape. The examiners could not explain why his cranium was shaped so odd. He had a full set of teeth which were in amazing condition. Any dentist would have been proud. As time went by, the mummy started crumbling a little at a time. To preserve it, McCarty coated it with varnish and place it in a hermetically sealed glass covered box.
I am not sure where the mummy can be found today. Some say he lies in his glass box somewhere in the city of Prescott.
Prescott
*For more information on the City of Prescott, please refer to Chapter 3, Big Nose Kate

These are only a few of the stories about mummified bodies found in Arizona along with the location where the tales originated.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Remnants of the Hohokam


History tells us that the Hohokam tribe migrated north from Mexico and settled in southern Arizona. The name Hohokam derives from the word Hoohoogum, given to those living in that region of the southwest desert and means, “Those who have gone”. From the Hohokam ruins we can see they were a skilled group of farmers who built elaborate canals that went on for miles. Not much was known about this tribe nor written about their demise. We are able to study them through the well engineered canals, ruins, and written stories on rocks known as petroglyphs which were left behind.


Casa Grande Ruins National Monument are located one hour southeast of Phoenix in Coolidge. These well preserved remains are where the ancient Hohokam once lived. The main building, or Great house, is four stories high and 60 feet long. The first floor is on a mount and the walls are a mixture of a concrete-like combination of sand, clay, and calcium carbonate or limestone. The Great House took 3,000 tons of Caliche mud which was layered resulting in the walls being four feet thick at the base and tapered towards the top. Anchored in the walls and used to form the ceilings were hundreds of juniper, pine, and fir trees they carried or floated 60 miles down the Gila River.



The walls of the Great House face the four cardinal points of the compass and a circular hole in the upper west wall aligns with the setting sun at the summer solstice. The other holes in the walls each lined up with the sun and moon at specific times. It is a great mystery to why the Hohokam built this structure to those exact measurements. They were spiritual people who were often thankful for all the gifts nature gave them. Each night, the entire community would gather in the Great House and watch the setting sun through the small hole in the upper west side of the building.


Surrounding the Great House were many other structures. These buildings were where the families of the village once lived. The walls were two to three feet thick and also formed from the same mixture which was used to construct the Great House. The open spaces were used for recreation and a market area where they sold their handmade goods. They also dug pits which were used as ball courts for playing games and having gatherings. This ancient civilization survived on the crops they grew, animals they hunted, and the natural plants they found in the surrounding desert. They had abundant water source from the nearby Gila River.
Around the 1400’s, the Hohokam people just seem to fade away mysteriously. In 1694, when the Spanish missionaries discover the Casa Grande ruins, it was just a vacant structure. For two centuries the ruins were pillaged by relic hunters and visitors curious about the site. In 1892, after years of trying to preserve the site, the Casa Grande Ruins were the first in the nation to become an archeological reserve.


Today, when you visit the site, there is a feeling of eeriness surrounding the place. You enter through the Visitor Center, pay a fee, and wander through the museum. Inside, you see all the artifacts which were unearthed on the site, photos of the ruins in earlier years, and models of how their community may have appeared when the Hohokam lived there. Through the doors lies the main site where trails take you to the remnants of the grandiose ruins and where the populace once endured.  While you are walking around the grounds, Native American flutes are resonating throughout offering a peaceful feel to your visit.
You can help but notice the Great House which is protected by the harsh sun with a large metal structure which covers the entire building. The walls in some areas have crumbled down leaving openings for you to see inside. You can also see how thick these clay walls were and be amazed at the massive size of the four story complex. The surrounding buildings are just half walls giving you a sense of the tiny quarters they used to live in. Another path will take you across the parking lot where a picnic area with shaded tables is located. Next to this space is an elevated structure for you to observe the site where a primeval ball court once existed. What used to serve as a recreation area some time ago is now just a dirt pit. Many mysteries and stories are still hidden amongst the thick walls of these amazing ruins.


Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
1100 Ruins Drive
Coolidge, AZ 85128
Phone: (520) 723-3172
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Days)
Fees: Adults (16 and older) $5.00; Children (under 16) FREE
Directions: The Park is an hour southeast of Phoenix in Coolidge, Arizona. From I-10 take the Coolidge exit and follow the signs to the park entrance off AZ 87/287.
*For special passes, see the following website:


Snaketown are ruins situated near Sacaton and smack dab in the middle of the Hohokam Pima National Monument. This site has unrivaled all other Hohokam settlements in the area. They started digging the region in 1930’s and continued to break ground in the 1960’s. It appeared by what they found that an ancient tribe lived in the dwellings about 300 BC to AD1050. They unearthed two ball courts, a little pile where rituals were performed, a central plaza, many living spaces (pithouses) for families and groups of people. They figure that several thousand people many have lived in that community at one time. In 1964, it was listed as a National Historic Landmark and a National Monument in 1972. The site is owned by the Gila River Indian Community and at the present time Snaketown is not open to the public.
Hohokam Pima National Monument
Mesa Grande is a huge Hohokam establishment found in Mesa. Its findings also revealed that this settlement probably existed from AD 200 to 1450. They started digging the site in the 1990’s and are continuing excavation till this day. It appears that the site once crossed over 100 acres, but is now a small plot of land because of the growth in construction surrounding it. The sites sits just west of the Mesa Hospital with mounds and well preserve structures. A fence surrounds the area and was put on the Arizona Preservation Foundation’s list of Most Endangered Historic Places.
Mesa Grande
1000 N. Date Street
(Corner of Date and 10th Streets)
Mesa, AZ 85201
Phone: (480) 644-3075 (Mesa Grande Visitor’s Center)  
Website:
http://www.azmnh.org/arch/mesagrande.aspx
Hours: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm (Thursday & Friday); 11:00 am - 4:00 pm (Saturday); 12:00 – 4:00 pm (Sunday); closed (Monday thru Wednesday)
Fees: Adults (12 & older) $5.00; Children (3-12) $2.00
Mesa Grande Cultural Park


Fortaleza Indian Ruins are situated about 45 miles southwest of Phoenix near the town of Gila Bend. The name is Spanish for “Fort on a Hilltop” and sits alongside the north bank of the Gila River. This unmistakable fortress was built strong to stand up to what the desert elements had to offer. The Hohokam people lived in this community around 1200 to 1450 which is located on the southwestern portion of the Hohokam terrain. They figure that it may have taken the tribe over 75 years to complete the 60 rooms which inhabitant the site. Time was not gentle to the ruins and throughout the years people pillaging the artifacts and the harsh desert weather almost wiped it out of existence. In the 1960’s they rebuilt many of the walls using the same materials the Hohokam used and stuck with the same floor plan as well. In many other Hohokam sites several artifacts were uncovered, but not so much in the Fortaleza location.
Today, the Tohono O’odham Nation maintains that they are descendants of the Hohokam people and believe Fortaleza is a spiritual site. They used to allow people to visit the site with a permit, but no longer forbid anyone to enter the area and have posted “No Trespassing” signs. Perhaps in the future they will change their minds and let us enjoy the ruins once again.
Gatlin ruin is only a few miles from Fortaleza and near the Painted Rock Petroglyph site. This Hohokam village probably housed around 500 residents and was an important area for farming and trading goods. Gila Bend owns the Gatlin site and will add a cultural and educational park to the place.
For more information of the Fortaleza and Gatlin ruins, please contact:
The Town of Gila Bend
644 W. Pima Street
P.O. Box A
Gila Bend, AZ 85337
Phone: (928)683-2255

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Arizona Travels: Tombstone


(The Town Too Tough to Die)


If there was any town in the Arizona Territory which had a number of reported notorious events in the 1880’s, it would be Tombstone. Like many of the other mining towns, Tombstone was founded after a rich vein of minerals was discovered by a prospector. This particular miner was named Edward Lawrence Schieffelin who arrived in the San Pedro Valley in the summer of 1877. He lived at Camp Huachua (wa-chu-ka) scouting for Apache while searching the Mule Mountains on his days off and hoping to strike it rich. He was often asked what he was doing up in “them their mountains” and he would reply by simply saying, “to collect rocks”. One soldier told him, “If you keep fooling around amongst the Apaches, the only rock you will find will be your tombstone”. Finally, his persistence paid off when he discovered a large vein of silver near the area known as “Goose Flats”. He named his claim “Tombstone” and by early 1879, the City of Tombstone was built. The lots along main street, or Allen Street, sold for $5.00 each. The entire town had 40 cabins and a population of 100 residents.


By 1880, there were four towns in the mining district which were thriving and Tombstone was the largest. The population exploded to 3,000 and a year later it more than doubled to 7,000 souls. Before the decade was over, the number of men, women and children was over 10,000. Tombstone had more brothels, gambling houses, saloons than any other town in the southwest. The town’s Bird Cage Theatre was called, “The wildest, roughest, wickedest honky tonk between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast” by the New York Times. The other theater in the desert settlement was named, Schieffelin Hall, after the town’s founder, Ed Schieffelin.


Many famous people walked the dusty streets of Tombstone. Some were lawmen, outlaws and celebrities such as the Earps, Doc Holliday, Big Nose Kate, the Clantons, and Johnny Ringo to name a few. (I write about six outlaws and their lives in chapter three.) One of the most famous historical events took place in Tombstone and involved some of those well-known people. On October 26, 1881, the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral went down in a bloody bath of riddled bullets, killing three and wounding others. Several vengeful acts followed this event leaving lots of dead bodies throughout the town and surrounding area. During this time, the town’s undertaker was busy taking bodies to the nearby cemetery, Boothill Graveyard, to be buried.
Tombstone continued to prosper for many years to come. The population was at its peak and all the businesses in town were flourishing. The turn of the century was good for Tombstone, but it also brought several tragedies the town couldn’t come back from. Two fires almost destroyed the town while the mines were experiencing floods. The miners dug holes in the pits trying to reach the silver. The cavities reached the 520 foot level hitting the water table and flooding the mines. They tried to pump out the water, but after a couple years, they shut it down because of high costs. The high waters ruined several of the structures in town causing the businesses to shut down. Many of the residents and visitors left the settlement leaving Tombstone as a virtual ghost town. By the early 1930’s, approximately 150 people were living in the small desert city.
With the popular interest in the history, people wanting a Wild West experience, and the many ghost sightings, Tombstone is thriving once again. Today, roughly 1,500 people are living in town, maintaining the past and legacy of this historic place. With all the prosperity and liveliness present day Tombstone is enjoying, it has earned the title, “The town too tough to die”.



Tombstone has many attractions to make your Wild West experience more fun. Allen Street (Main Street) is blocked off so no vehicles can drive down and the horses and wagons can roam free. Take a stagecoach ride around town and see where many of the historic sites are located. Learn the history of each place and what famous person once walked the wooden floors and dirty streets. Tombstone has museums located in various places around town such as the Courthouse and Bird Cage Theatre. There are plenty of places to eat and shop while watching an old west gun fight in the middle of the street. Tour the infamous O.K. Corral and stand where Wyatt Earp once stood. Along Main Street is the Ghost and Legends Tour with a ghostly Doc Holliday guiding you though the historic events which went down in Tombstone. Finally, don’t forget to stop and take an old fashion picture of you with your friends and family.


Tombstone has all you need to make your Wild West experience complete. For those of you who would like to experience a ghost hunt, the Bird Cage Theatre can be rented for just that occasion. Contact them at (520) 457-3421 or www.tombstonebirdcage.com for prices, and to book a time/date for your ghost hunt.
Information and Tourist Guide
Tombstone Chamber of Commerce
City of Tombstone
Directions: To find Tombstone from Tucson you take U.S. Interstate 10, east to exit 303, merge onto AZ Highway 80 east to downtown Tombstone.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Strange Creatures Found in AZ



When you drive around the state, you will notice the many changes of scenery. You will see the desert with its ample cacti and a mile or two down the highway, the cacti seem to disappear. The further north and east you drive in the state, you will come upon a thick forest. The lakes in those areas may be abundant with water while the desert lakes and rivers are died up. Along with the many different types of foliage adoring the scenery, there are critters and creatures as well. Typically, snakes, scorpions and lizards can be seen roaming the dry desert floor, while larger animals have been seen in the forests. Once in a while a rare creature or its remains has been discovered in the state.

Blowfish & Mermaid


In the Wild West town of Tombstone is where a couple of bizarre creatures lie in a display case at the Bird Cage Theatre. When you first walk through the back door of the Bird Cage’s museum you will first see a glass box sitting on a shelf. Inside the box is a mummified small creature which resembles a mermaid. The bottom half looks like a fish with scales and fins, but the top half has the body of a human and a face like a monkey. In the upper portion of the glass box is a blowfish. It looks well preserved with its mouth open and body all puffed out. How do two water creatures end up in a desert mining town?

What I was told about these strange little beings was that sometime in 1934 a mysterious person donated them to the Bird Cage Theatre’s museum. It was rumored to have been a local businessman, Quong Lee, who once displayed the mermaid in his CanCan Café. He wanted to display it where all could see so he donated it to what he thought was Tombstone’s museum. However they came to be in the Bird Cage Theatre, you should make a point to see these water creatures and all the other original artifacts in the museum.

Thunderbird Photo


The photo of a group of men standing around an enormous bird has been circulating around for many years. The photo’s title is “Thunderbird” and it was told that the creature was captured near Tombstone, AZ. Many question the authenticity of the photo and if the story was simply an urban legend. Whether it is true or not, the photo and story make for some interesting conversation.

This is the story I found while researching the picture: While walking in the Arizona desert in April of 1890, a couple of cowboys spotted a massive flying bird in the sky. The winged creature had a body around 92 feet long and was smooth like a serpent. The wingspan was about 160 feet with no feathers and resembled colossal bat wings. Its face looked like an alligator and it had two clawed feet. The two men followed it on horseback until their rides were too afraid to continue and then chased it on foot. They finally caught up with it and riddle the beast with bullets until it finally died. They snipped off a piece of its wing and brought it to Tombstone. The story of the two men and the huge bird was allegedly written in the Tombstone newspaper, the Epitaph, but employees of the paper searched the archives and found no such story or picture. Many questions are still swirling around about the story and the photo. If there were only two men who shot and killed the flying cryptic, then why are there six men in the photo? And what happen to the story written about their encounter?

Chupacabra
There are many stories of dog-like creatures roaming around Arizona known as “Chupacabra” (goat sucker). Feared by many, these beasts have been rumored to tear apart livestock and consume their blood. One of the first reported sightings was in Tucson. Two men were roused out of bed by the loud shrieking of their goats. When they went to check and see what all the commotion was about, they saw a weird looking beast on top of one of the goats. This dog-like creature looked at them an unleashed an eerie screech and then scampered off.
In 2003, another sighting was report and similar to the first one. This was also in Tucson and it was seen cowering like a frog. It turned, jeered at the owner and then ran into the darkness. Many believe the Chupacabra are real, while others feel they are just superstition made up to scare people. Real or not, there have been many sightings all over the southern part of Arizona.

 Gomphothere


The bones of another very strange creature found in Arizona are that of a Gomphothere. What is that you ask? I wanted to know as well so here is what I found: A Gomphothere is a faint kin to elephants with broad snouts and elongated jaws similar to a crocodile. They were found in North America over 12 to 2 million years ago and were around 9 feet tall with two or four tusks. The bones of these ancient animals have been found in the southern portion of Arizona near the Mexico border. They are believed to have vanished around the time humans started roaming the Earth.

Alligator Snapping Turtle


 During a cleanup of the Phoenix Zoo pond in May of 2010, a 62 pound “alligator-snapping turtle” was discovered. This creature has been described as “straight out of prehistoric times” and found living in the deepest part of the pond located in front of the zoo. The jaws on this amphibian are strong and able to snap off a child’s arm or leg. The Phoenix Herpetological Society says that this particular creature does not belong in Arizona. They believe it was an exotic pet of someone and they dumped it in the pond because they didn’t want to take care of it anymore. They have no idea how long it was living there, but felt it survived on the ducks, fish, and other turtles that existed in and around the pond. Even though that snapping turtle has now been removed, the Phoenix Zoo is a great place to visit and spend the day watching all the wonderful animals.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Arizona Travels: Sedona




There are many ancient Native American ruins all over the state of Arizona. Many of these “houses of spirits” were built strong and we see the evidence in the partially found remains of their dwellings. From those ruins we get an understanding of how they survived. In central Arizona sits an entire mysterious city where many have referred to it as being “spiritual”. The city of Sedona spans to some degree in the Verde Valley, between Coconino and Yavapai counties. Surrounding the downtown are vivid orange-red sandstone rock creations as vibrant as Sedona’s sunset. There are many places to hike and enjoy the breathtaking scenery this place has to offer. People come to this serene settlement for the mountainous hiking trails, spiritual healing powers of the vortexes, and even for some UFO hunting. Sedona has it all. The city was named after the wife of the first postmaster, Sedona Miller Schnebly, who was known for her generosity and sincerity.



One of the main characteristics of this town is its many vortexes which seem to have New Age spiritual healing abilities. Some are certain the organic formations of the red mountains are contributing factors to the energy of these soothing powers. They believe the energy comes from theoretical magnetically-charged routes inside the earth’s surface known as “ley lines”. They also think Sedona is one of the places where these lines intersect. In the 1950’s, New Age enthusiast Page Bryant learnt about the vortexes through channeling. Sedona’s vortexes are described as “swirling center of subtle energy coming from the surface of the earth” which leave an insignificant quantity of lingering magnetism in areas where the energy is most predominant. If you meditate in the space where these vortexes are located, you can experience spiritual and sometimes even physical healing.


Sedona’s vortexes have since become so popular that visitor centers now offer handouts and maps pointing out their locations. There are also guided tours, which highlight Native American and New Age spirituality. One of the places I like to visit while in Sedona is the Center for the New Age. The building has four different shops which provide massages, healings, psychic readings, vortex information, books and crystals. In the back of one shop you can get your aura read. I found that to be an interesting experience.
Center for the New Age
341 Hwy 179 
Sedona, AZ 86336 (across from Tlaquepaque)
Phone: (928) 282-2085


Sedona is a wonderful place for hiking, camping, and taking jeep tours to some on the area’s utmost remarkable sites. You can hike some of the more famous rock formations around the city such as Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, and Lone Rock to name a few. You may also want to see the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a well known and familiar sight tucked inside the red rocks. This Roman Catholic cathedral was built in 1956 and took only 18 months to complete. It offers spectacular views of Sedona and all its famous rock formations from its chapel’s large windows. This website will provide more information: http://www.redrockrealty.net/chapel.html
To get all the information you will need to make your hiking experience noteworthy, check out the following websites:
Sedona Arizona’s Best Hiking Trails
Great Sedona Hikes
There are many places to camp and have a picnic amongst the red rocks of Sedona. The Forest Service provides information on all the locations in and around the Sedona area. Each place is usually on a “first-come, first serve” basis with the exception of group sites. Some of the places will allow you to make a reservation especially if you have a large group wanting to camp near each other.
Red Rock Country Camping and Picnicking


If hiking or camping does not excite you, perhaps a jeep ride through Sedona and the outskirts of the city sounds more like something you might enjoy. There are several different jeep tours that offer many diverse packages while on your thrill ride through the red rocks.
The Pink Jeep Tours have been taking people on tours of Sedona and others places since 1960. They drive paths and jaunt through the back roads where you can experience places you wouldn’t see in your own car. They offer several different deals and an essential tour to add to your trip to Sedona.
Sedona Off Road Adventures offers you with another tour option since 2001. They will present you with a safe and naturally exhilarating ride through all the historical sites and amazing scenery. Check them out and see what type of deals they have to offer.
A Day in the West Jeep Tours provides you with a breathtaking ride back in time through the history of the red rock city. If you want a fun Wild West experience, then this is the tour for you. Like the other jeep outings, this tour has its own unique daily packages as well.


If the jeep tours are not enough and you would like a different experience, try a UFO tour. Sedona UFO Sky Tours will take you to some of the city’s UFO hotspots and provide you with equipment to make your adventure most successful. With the night vision goggles and binoculars your vision of the clear Sedona nights affords you the opportunity of a better view to see the UFO’s. You will sit near a vortex and feel its energy while basking in the splendor of the starry skies. To book a tour, see the following:
Phone: (805) 815-8989
Nighttime Fee: Adults - $75.00; Children (12 & under) FREE; cash only please
Hours: Meet a dusk at The Encounter Sedona Storefront; 1385 89A, West Sedona.
*Next to the Old Sedona Bar and Grill and the tour is usually 1.5 to 2 hours.
The Center for the New Age also provides an UFO tour. They will set you up with equipment to help in spotting UFO’s and take you to some of the best places around for hunting our visitors in the sky. Check out their website for information.


The astounding scenery of Sedona is not all this city can bestow upon you. There are many accommodations for your shopping and dining pleasure. One of the places you must see while visiting Sedona, AZ, is Tlaquepaque (Tia-keh-pah-keh).  The name means "best of everything" and was built in the 1970's.  Located near Oak Creek with flourishing vegetation all around its grounds, Tlaquepaque has the look of an original Mexican town.  Inside are many interesting shops, galleries, restaurants, with cobble-stoned walkways and arched entryways with vines growing all over the stucco walls.
Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village
336 State Route 179
Sedona, AZ 86339
Phone: (928) 282-4838
Hours: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (shops) open daily; restaurant hours vary (closed Christmas and Thanksgiving)
Uptown Sedona is located in the center of town where Highway 89A and 179 come together. Along the half-mile route you can find many diverse shops, restaurants, and cafes. Below the shopping locality run the cool waters of Oak Creek. Amongst the various assorted shops are Native American and southwest items, galleries which display local artist works, and many of the touring establishments. Be sure to park your car and take a stroll through Uptown Sedona.


Sedona has many places to dine and some more quirky than others. The Coffee Pot Restaurant is located near the Coffee Pot Rock. It has been in business since the 1950’s and offer around 101 different omelets for your enjoyment. They provide breakfast all day long and serve it with the best tasting coffee. It also serves many other delicious meals at affordable prices. The service is just as wonderful as the food. It also provides you with a small shop or various items.
Coffee Pot Restaurant
2050 West Highway 89A (just west of Coffee Pot Road)
Sedona, AZ 86336
Phone: (928) 282-6626
*They are open daily for breakfast and lunch from 6:00 am – 2:00 pm.
Red Planet Diner is one of those places you should experience while in Sedona. This odd diner caters to the UFO lover with its out-of-this-world décor. From its location you are treated to the outstanding views of Sedona’s red rocks and scenery. They also boast to having the best burgers in town. My friend and I gave this place a try and loved it.
1655 W. State Route 89A
Sedona, AZ 86336
Phone: (928) 282-6070


After you spent the day touring, shopping and eating, you will need a nice place to lay your head for the night. Sedona has many hotels, resorts and cabins to choose from. The prices range from affordable to extravagant depending on what type of staying experience you are looking for. Each place is located in various areas around the state and provides you with amazing views of the mountains or Oak Creek. Some offer massages and other packages to make your stay more comfortable.


L’Auberge De Sedona is a resort with hotel rooms and cottages which sit along the creek. I had the pleasure of staying there with my husband in one of their cottages. Not only is the place near the serine waters, but just below Uptown Sedona as well. We also dined at their restaurant and sat near the creek listening to the sounds of the cool waters rushing by us. It was very romantic.
301 Little Lane
Sedona, AZ 86336, United States
Phone: (928) 282-1661
I have also stayed at the King’s Ransom a couple of times with my friend while on our urban exploring road trips. It is located near places to shop and eat. The prices are affordable and our stay was excellent.
King’s Ransom
771 Hwy 179 
Sedona, AZ 86336
Phone: (928) 282-7151
Hotels, Resorts & Cabins


I can’t talk about Sedona and all its wonders without mentioning Oak Creek Canyon. This breathtaking ravine is located near Sedona and south of Flagstaff. One of the Grand Canyon’s little sisters, this picturesque valley of trees, red rocks and wandering creek is a site to be appreciated. From Flagstaff you are first overjoyed with the scenic overpass where many Native Americans have tables of their handmade goods for sale. After taking in the beauty of the canyon, it is time to drive the winding roads and U shape turns to reach the bottom of the canyon. It is approximately 13 miles from the lookout to Sedona but you there are places to stop at along the way.
One of those places along the route is Slide Rock State Park. I have visited this place many times throughout my years as a child and an adult. Slide Rock got its name from the natural water slide formed by the slippery bed of Oak Creek.  It is located in Oak Creek Canyon and only 7 miles from Sedona.  In 1907, Frank L. Pendley developed the land and obtained a title under the Homestead Act in 1910.  He created an irrigation system which watered his apple orchard.  The road through the canyon was finished in 1914 and Pendley took advantage of the traffic and built the tourists cabins for them to rent.
On July 10, 1985 the Arizona State Parks acquired the park and two years later Slide Rock State Park was dedicated.  On December 23, 1991, the Pendley Homestead Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  His apple farm is still maintained today.
Slide Rock State Park
6871 West Highway 89A 
Sedona, AZ 86336
Phone: (928) 282-3034
Hours: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm (spring); 8:00 am – 7:00 pm (summer)
Fees: $10.00 per vehicle (up to 4 adults, 14 years or older), each extra adult is $3.00
*No pets allowed or to be left in vehicles. Also, bring a few pairs of pants because the smooth rocks on the slide will wear holes in your drawers.


There are several places for you to have a picnic along Oak Creek as well as places to camp. You can pitch a tent, roll out your RV or rent one of them several cabins located inside the canyon. No matter where you stop in Oak Creek Canyon, the views are to die for.
Sedona/Oak Creek Campgrounds
Briar Patch Inn (warm and comfy cabins in Oak Creek)
There are many more places which offer you a cabin and cottage stay while in Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. The following website has all the information you will need for make your Sedona stay an enjoyable one.
Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center