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Hikes & Excursions

Member-Only Hikes

One of the advantages of Membership is the ability to participate in guided hikes to archaeological sites. Watch this page for announcements of upcoming hikes. Most are free but a few have small fees to cover expenses. 

Members Only Elden Pueblo and Old Caves Crater Hike

Monday, October 16, 2023  -  10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Guided by Richard McGaugh


Enjoy an autumnal visit to Elden Pueblo followed by a short drive to Old Caves Crater! People have lived seasonally in the vicinity of the San Francisco Peaks for at least 11,000 years, sharing ideas, technologies and beliefs. In the latter part of the 11th century eruptions of Sunset Crater, ten miles northeast of here, as well as a 20-year-long period of drought, displaced them to moister, higher elevations at the base of the mountains.


Here, in the ponderosa pines, a few families constructed pit house villages in the shadow of the San Francisco Peaks. Around C.E. 1100 the Pueblo started to take shape and by C.E. 1150 Elden Pueblo, or Pasiwvi (Pah-see-’oo-vi) became a very important regional village. Elden Pueblo, or Pasiwvi (Pah-see-’oo-vi) is recognized by the Hopi people as an Ancestral village, occupied from A.D. 1070 to about A.D. 1275 and Old Caves is one of Pasiwvi’s sister villages. The old Caves crater hike is a 2-mile round trip hike with a 550-foot elevation gain.


The hike leader is Richard McGaugh who is from a fourth-generation Verde Valley family and has spent his time studying and exploring Central and Northern Arizona. Richard is a VVAC Docent and Volunteer. He is also a VIP Interpretative Ranger at Walnut Canyon National Monument and Wupatki/Sunset Crater National Monuments. Richard also serves as a Docent at the Museum of Northern Arizona.


Meet at 10:00am at the Elden Pueblo (US-89, Flagstaff, AZ 86004) on Monday, October the 16th. Elden Pueblo is located one mile North of the Flagstaff Mall on the West side of U.S. Highway 89 North, just South of its junction with Townsend-Winona Road. A sign for “Elden Pueblo Ruins” leads into the parking lot and tour the Ancestral site. The old Caves crater hike is a 2-mile round trip hike with a 550-foot elevation gain.

You will need to bring water, snacks and/or lunch, walking sticks and hiking shoes or boots. Please know, that you must be able to comfortably walk 2-miles, unassisted in high elevations of 4,600ft - 5,000ft. This hike is not suggested for individuals that have health complications such as: heart, respiratory, circulatory, seizures and/or are recovering from surgery or an injury. 

This excursion is exclusive to VVAC members. Advance registration is required. Please register HERE.

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