Honanki Heritage Site

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 0.7 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4700 - 4739 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 45 mins.
Trailhead: Honanki parking lot
Fee: $5/vehicle for 1 day or Interagency Pass
Attractions: Cliff dwellings, rock art




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The Honanki Heritage Site is located in the Coconino (ko-kuh-NEE-no) National Forest near Sedona, Arizona. The site is currently managed by the U.S. Forest Service under the Red Rocks Pass Program. The Sinagua, or Hisat'sinom as the Hopi refer to them, are the ancestors of the Hopi that built much of the cliff dwellings at Honanki. They lived here between 1100 CE and 1300 CE. The name Sinagua (sin-AH-wah) was given to the people by archaeologist Harold Colton, founder of the Museum of Northern Arizona. The name is derived from the Spanish words sin, meaning 'without', and agua, which means 'water'. It is the term the Spanish used for the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona.


The Honanki trailhead takes a little more driving than it does to get to its sister site Palatki. Drive south out of Sedona on Highway 89A for about 5 miles and turn right just past mile marker 365 onto Forest Road 525. Follow the dirt road for about 9.5 to the trailhead. When dry the road is passable for passenger vehicles. For more information visit the Forest Service website. The trail is open 7 days a week from 9:30 am to 4 pm.


From the trailhead a loop begins that we will follow in the clockwise direction by taking the left fork.


The trail is well marked and easy to follow. Because of the large number of people that visit the site it is important to stay on the designated trail.


The Honanki site appears to be getting a few upgrades like this ramada that is still waiting for a table or bench.


Several interpretive signs have been placed to help enrich peoples visit to the area.


As the trail comes near to the cliff it splits once again. Taking the left fork that leads up to the level of the cliff dwellings.


The trail leading up to the next level is a little more primitive but still easy hiking.


Once the trail levels off and passes neatly through a gap between the cliff and a tree look up to see the remains of what looks like a small granary.


The first block of rooms is nestled beneath an overhang. The entire site is composed of at least 72 ground level rooms.


Sets of pictographs abound on almost every surface. Over 2,305 images have been identified at Honanki.


The trail continues along the face of the cliff passing more rooms that seemed to be built wherever there was enough space.


Judging from the holes in the walls where logs once protruded these rooms would have been at least two stories high originally.


A square spiral with concentric circles is painted on the roof of an overhang. Like an author searching for scraps of paper with which to write his story almost every space is made use of at Honanki. Some of the rock art here dates back to the Archaic Period (3000-8000 years ago) or the time of the people the Hopi refer to as Motisinom, the 'most ancient ones'.


This flute player looks like a version of Kokopelli without a knapsack on his back. Archaeologists have revealed that besides the Sinagua the Honanki site was also used by the Yavapai and Apache Indians over the last 700 years.


In this photo another one of the sites upgrades can be seen at the trailhead. While there are no guides or docents, as they like to call them here, at the Honanki Heritage Site there is normally someone at the trailhead to answer question and give directions. Of the two sites, Palatki and Honanki, Honanki is the largest. Please help protect archaeological sites by reporting any vandals or artifact hunters immediately. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.