Visiting Honanki Heritage Site in Sedona

There are quite a few cliff dwellings and sacred spots around Sedona. We wanted to explore as many as we could, but some of the monuments and sites were temporarily closed when we were planning a Sedona adventure. So, we opted to take a day hike with a stop at Honanki Heritage Site afterwards.

Visiting this archaeological site makes for a quick walk, so if you plan to venture down the long road to the ruins, we recommend combining it with another hike in the area or camping in the wilderness area nearby to make the most of your time here.

Beautiful Sedona landscape
Beautiful Sedona landscape

Getting to the Honanki Heritage Site Trailhead

Before going, note that the road to Honanki Heritage Site is pretty rough and is better done in a high clearance vehicle. We were fine in a Rav4, but the going was slow. Many people opt to take a Jeep tour to get there. There are some big ruts, rocks, sandy spots, and washes that may be impassable after rain.

Honanki Heritage Site is located a ways northwest of Sedona. From Highway 89A, turn west onto Forest Road 525 (also known as Loy Butte Rd). There are quite a few roads and turnoffs along Forest Road 525, so it may be a good idea to download the area on Google Maps if you aren’t sure of the route. You’ll stay on this road for about 10 miles before reaching Loy Canyon trailhead.

Just past Loy Canyon trailhead, continue left through a cattle gate. You’ll see a ranch (private property) on the right. Soon, you’ll come to a small parking area on the left and an informational structure to the right. Park here and go check out the ruins!

Pictographs at Honanki Heritage Site
Pictographs at Honanki Heritage Site

Exploring the Honanki Dwellings

We headed for Honanki after hiking Loy Canyon. The site is open from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. every day except certain holidays and during days of extreme heat. To access the trail, you need a Red Rock Pass, which costs $5 for a day, or an America the Beautiful Pass, which costs $80 for a year. Red Rock passes can be purchased from the kiosk at this site and displayed in your vehicle. You may also purchase one online in advance. Honanki Heritage Site is managed by the Forest Service, so call them for any questions.

Cross the road from the parking area to begin the trail. There is an informational display and restrooms at the start of the trail and there are usually rangers here if you have any questions. The path winds through traditional Sedona desert and quickly ends up at the base of a cliff.

The cliffs that tower above the ruins
The cliffs that tower above the ruins

The structures that remain tucked in the cliff were once home to the Sinagua, Yavapai, and Apache people over the course of thousands of years. It was one of the largest prehistoric pueblos in the area. Remnants of life here remain visible in the artwork on the walls and the stacked bricks forming various dwellings. If you are interested in getting more in-depth information beyond the signs along the trail, you may want to look into taking a Jeep tour offered by various companies in Sedona.

Honanki dwelling with pictographs
Can you see the pictographs above the dwelling?

Overview of Visiting Honanki Heritage Site

Hike Type: Easy loop

Hike Distance: 0.7 miles (1.1 kilometers)

Adventure Duration: 30 mins – 1 hour

Cost: $5 for Red Rock day pass. This cost is covered with an America the Beautiful pass, Red Rock annual pass, Red Rock day pass if you already purchased one at another site that day, and a few other passes.

Regulations: Dogs are not allowed on the trail. Do not cross the barriers along the trail, deface/carve on the rocks, or remove any artifacts from the area.

What to Bring: Water, hiking shoes, cash or card for pass payment, camera

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