Verde Valley Region
What began in 1970 as an answer to urban sprawl and an experiment in sustainability, officially continues development in one of the most famous architectural experiments of our age. Whether or not you agree with the principles of arcology – that's architecture and ecology working in balance – put forth by Frank Lloyd Wright student Paolo Saleri, Arcosanti lets you go back to the future – or the past – or a past version of the future. Whatever it is, just have fun. You can visit the site's gift gallery, which features Arcosanti's famous Soleri Bells, or enjoy a delicious meal at the cafe. Guest rooms face the canyons of Agua Fria National Monument.
Information: 928-632-6225; www.arcosanti.org
Bronzesmith Fine Art Gallery & Foundry7331 E. Second Street, Prescott Valley
Come browse bronzesmith casts in this unique showcase of sculptures of local and national award-winning artists. Take a tour illustrating the steps in the bronze casting process, and come Tuesday or Thursday mornings to watch a bronze pour.
Information: 928-772-2378; www.bronzesmith.com
Dead Horse Ranch State ParkIn Cottonwood, take Main Street west to North 10th Street, go north on 10th Street and cross the Verde River Bridge to the park entrance
Situated on the banks of the Verde River, the park offers camping, mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, fishing and picnicking. Amenities include a system of hiking trails that provides access to the Verde River and a 4-acre fishing lagoon, group use and individual ramadas, rest room facilities and camping sites with tables and grills.
Information: 928-634-5283; www.pr.state.az.us/Parks/parkhtml/deadhorse.html
Fort Verde State Historic Park125 E. Holloman St., Camp Verde
Remarkably preserved, Fort Verde State Historic Park allows visitors a glimpse of life in a fort during Arizona's Indian Wars period. The commanding officer's quarters, bachelors' quarters and doctor's quarters on officers' row are all listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Interpretive exhibits and period items relating to the military, Indian Scouts and the Indian Wars are on display in what was previously an administration building.
Information: 928-567-3275; www.pr.state.az.us/Parks/parkhtml/fortverde.html
Jerome-Clarkdale-Cottonwood Historic RoadSpanning 10 miles of State Route 89A from Jerome to Cottonwood
This historic road takes travelers through the historical mining town of Jerome and along the Verde River through Clarkdale and Cottonwood, surrounded by views of the Mogollon Rim and Verde Valley. Along the way, travelers can visit Sinagua Indian ruins, two mining museums, catch the Verde Canyon Railroad and explore several state parks and wilderness areas.
Jerome State Historic ParkIn Jerome, just off SR 89A on Douglas Road
This 8,000-square-foot mansion built by James S. Douglas, owner of the Little Daisy Mine, now houses a museum devoted to the history of the Jerome area and the Douglas family. Exhibits include a restored period room, historic photographs and mining equipment, artifacts, minerals and a 3-D model of the town and its underground mines. A picnic area with tables and rest rooms offers views of the Verde Valley.
Information: 928-634-5381; www.pr.state.az.us/Parks/parkhtml/jerome.html
Lynx Lake344 South Cortez Street, Prescott
If frolicking in the moment is more your style than browsing through history, you couldn't do much better than Lynx Lake near Prescott. Surrounded by ponderosa pine trees at this 55-acre lake, try your hand at canoe paddling or trout fishing. You might spot a fellow fisher – in the air. Ospreys fish these waters and have been known to nest here, along with bald eagles. The area also boasts hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking trails and archaeological sites. Be sure to call ahead, as portions of the lake are closed to vehicle and foot traffic December through June to protect nesting eagle pairs.
Information: 928-443-8000; www.fs.fed.us/r3/prescott/fishing/fishing_lynx.htm
Mingus Mountain Scenic RoadSpanning 11.5 miles of State Route 89A from its junction with State Route 89 north of Prescott to Jerome
Drive from the weathered boulders and rock hideaways of Granite Dells through rolling valleys and canyons into the conifer forests of the Black Hills, once rich with minerals. Enjoy views of the Mogollon Rim, Verde Valley and San Francisco Peaks as you climb to the historic hillside mining town of Jerome.
Montezuma Castle National MonumentAbout 4 miles north of Camp Verde on I-17, take Exit 289, then follow the signs to the monument
Mistakenly attributed to the Aztec emperor Montezuma because of its imposing size, Montezuma Castle is actually a five-story cliff dwelling originally built and used by the Sinagua Indians. More than 900 years ago, these ancient people built a five-story pueblo on a soaring cliff overhang and climbed ladders to reach their rooms every night. A visitors center provides information and exhibits on the ruin. Guests can also walk a one-third-mile trail for a better view of Montezuma Castle and other ancient structures.
Information: 928-567-3322; www.nps.gov/moca
Montezuma WellI-17, Exit 298
After visiting Montezuma Castle, drive 11 miles up the road to see Montezuma Well, also part of the monument. A natural spring feeds the 368-foot-wide, 55-foot-deep well, which formed 11,000 years ago. Now the well area serves as the home for an abundance of wildlife.
Information: 928-567-3322; www.nps.gov/moca/home.htm
Phippen Museum of Art7 miles north of downtown Prescott on SR 89
Founded to display the work of Western artists, the Phippen Museum of Art holds a permanent collection of Western paintings, sculptures, drawing, photography, and Indian artifacts and jewelry. It also offers rotating exhibits and a research library with more than 600 volumes relating to Western art.
Information: 928-778-1385; www.phippenartmuseum.org/index.html
Richinbar MineI-17, Exit 256
Less than 2 miles from the Badger Springs trailhead sits Richinbar Mine, accessible by scrambling up the 700-foot canyon wall. The mine bustled for 16 years at the turn of the century, producing both gold and silver. After yielding some 800 tons of ore, the mine was shut down, but you can still stroll by the old buildings and equipment used for mining.
Information: 602-417-9200; www.blm.gov/az/aguafria/pmesa.htm
Sharlot Hall Museum415 W. Gurley St., Prescott
Take a stroll through Arizona history as you tour nine historic buildings, that house a library and archive, a museum store and a historic-vehicle collection, as well as historic furnishings. Top it off with an amble through one (or all) of Sharlot's four gardens, including a rose garden honoring more than 400 women from Arizona's territorial days.
Information: 928-445-3122; www.sharlot.org
Smoki Museum147 N. Arizona St., Prescott
Designed to resemble an Indian pueblo, the Smoki Museum was built in 1935 from native stone and wood. The museum houses collections of pottery, jewelry, stone artifacts, baskets and kachinas, as well as artist Kate Cory's numerous photographs, paintings and documents. A museum library contains more than 600 volumes on Indian history and ethnography, and the museum store offers a variety of Indian arts and crafts for sale.
Information: 928-445-1230; www.smokimuseum.org
Thumb Butte ParkFrom downtown Prescott, take Gurley Street, which becomes Thumb Butte Road and follow it to the trailhead and picnic area.
This park is great place to hike up Thumb Butte, but remember to bring sunscreen, water, comfortable walking shoes or boots, insect repellent and a wide-brimmed hat.
Information: Prescott National Forest, 928-443-8000; www.fs.fed.us/r3/prescott
Your unforgettable Sedona experience must include spending time at internationally renowned Tlaquepaque (pronounced T-la-keh-pah-keh), Arts & Crafts Village. Nestled beneath the shade of the sycamores on the banks of beautiful Oak Creek in Sedona, Tlaquepaque is the most distinctive shopping experience to be found in the Southwest. READ MORE >>
Information: 928-282-4838; www.tlaq.com
Tuzigoot National Monument52 miles south of Flagstaff on State Route 89A, or in Cottonwood take Main Street 5 miles north towards Clarkdale
An ancient hilltop village built about a thousand years ago by the Sinagua Indians, Tuzigoot had more than 100 rooms rising some three stories high. Explore the ruins and surrounding marshlands on two self-guided trails. Other amenities include a visitors center with a museum and bookstore.
Information: 928-634-5564; www.nps.gov/tuzi
Verde Canyon Railroad300 N. Broadway, Clarkdale
Take a train ride through the Verde Canyon along the Upper Verde River for a chance to view crimson cliffs, a lush riparian habitat and some of the wildlife that call the canyon home, such as bald and golden eagles, black hawks and great blue herons. The four-hour round trip ride runs from Clarkdale to Perkinsville and back. Amenities include both coach and first-class seating in climate-controlled cars, refreshments and access to open-air viewing cars, complete with narration about the sites of the canyon as you pass.
Information: 800-293-7245; www.verdecanyonrr.com