Driving north from Phoenix, we headed for Sedona. That could have been a straight drive up Highway I-17 to Highway 179. We chose to take a couple of interesting side trips on the way, though, and saw so much more.
Near Lake Montezuma, we sidetracked to Montezuma’s Castle. This is actually a dwelling built by Sinagua Indians into the cliffs. It is the equivalent of an 800-year old high-rise apartment building. The Indians accessed their apartments on ladders along the side of the cliffs of limestone.
Our next stop was Jerome, AZ. Jerome was founded in 1876 as a copper mining community. The need for copper during WWII kept Jerome alive, but following the war, the dwindling demand eventually brought about the closing of the mine in 1953. The town then became promoted as a ghost town. Today, however, Jerome is a bustling tourist attraction, with a thriving artist community and many shops. It is built on the 30-degree slope of the mountainside, with each street “above” the street below it.
We finally arrived at Sedona, where the beautiful red sandstone layered with strata of white limestone makes it live up to its name of Red Rock Country. We stayed at the Sky Ranch Lodge on Airport Road. The lodge is above the valley of downtown Sedona and afforded unimpeded views of the gorgeous rock formations. Some of these rock structures have descriptive names like Cathedral, Charlie Brown, Kissing Cousins, and Coffeepot.
Sedona provides a rich heritage of native arts against the backdrop of amazing natural vistas of red sandstone and white limestone.