Log in

Palatki Heritage Site

Palatki was first documented by Dr. Jesse Walter Fewkes of the Smithsonian Institution in 1895 and again in 1911.  A comparison to photos taken by Dr. Fewkes in 1895 show surprisingly little change. Archaeologists believe that construction of the Palatki cliff dwellings began about A.D. 1125 and that they were used by the Sinagua until about A.D. 1300.

The cliff dwellings have two buildings, the east alcove and the west alcove. The West Alcove has been closed to the public for several years due to their condition.  It consisted of about five rooms, including what may be a community room or kiva (ceremonial room). The East Alcove consists of five rooms on the first floor, with three rooms having a second story.

The "Grotto" area of the site has extensive pictograph (painted) rock art of the Sinagua, Yavapai, Apache and Archaic people. If there are sufficient staff, the "Bear Alcove" rock art area will also be open. This area also contains many examples of Sinagua and Yavapai rock art, as well as a probable single-room dwelling. It is believed that a rancher who owned the property may have disassembled this room to build his temporary dwelling near the Grotto.

The best rock art is located in the area referred to as the "Roasting Pit" area because of the presence of one of the largest agave roasting pits in the Verde Valley. The site contains many Sinagua and Yavapai rock art. Unfortunately the site is seldom open unless there are sufficient volunteer docents available. Past instances of graffiti have caused the Forest Service to restrict access unless being accompanied by a docent. You may wish to call ahead to see when this area may be open.

Directions:  From West Sedona take Dry Creek Road and follow the brown directional signs. The road is mostly paved but becomes a rough gravel road. From Cottonwood, take FR 525 north.

Hours: 9:30 am to 3:00 pm daily. Reservations (928-282-3854) are requested.

Fee: A Red Rock Pass or equivalent is required per vehicle.

Docents:  On-site hosts and volunteers offer interpretive information.

Visitor Center: The Visitor Center is located about 100 yards from the parking area in a historic ranch house built in the 1920’s by homesteader Charles Willard.

Toilets: Vault-type toilets are available at the parking area.

Gift Shop: There is an Arizona Natural History Association gift shop.

Trail: The trail to the first rock art site is about ¼ mile from the Visitor Center over a moderate incline. The trail to the cliff dwelling is about ¼ mile and includes steep rock steps.

Wheelchair access: No.

Phone: 928-282-3854

Visit the Coconino Forest website for more information.

Please be sure to acquaint yourself with the Site Etiquette guidelines before visiting the site.