The town of Sedona lies at the foot of the Mogollon Rim, a 200-mile-long, 2,000-foot-high escarpment that is dotted with Indian ruins for most of its length. The area to the west of Sedona is particularly rich with ruin sites, and though most of these are quite small and difficult to find, one ruin site, Palatki, is fairly easy to reach (though it is at the end of a dirt road that should not be driven after it has rained). This cliff dwelling may not be as impressive as Montezuma Castle, but neither is it as crowded with visitors.
Heading north to the Flagstaff area will bring you to two more national monuments. Walnut Canyon, east of the city off I-40, preserves numerous small cliff dwellings, some of which have their original mud-plastered walls that still show the handprints of ancient Sinagua masons. Farther north, off Highway 89, you'll find Wupatki, the region's fourth national monument and one of the state's most fascinating ruin sites. Within the monument there are several easily accessible old pueblos, but Wupatki is by far the most interesting of these. Here, on windswept plains, the Sinagua built a pueblo atop a rock outcropping. The reason for choosing this site was likely the presence of an unusual geological phenomenon†a natural blowhole. This hole in the ground is the opening to a network of caves, and, depending on atmospheric conditions, either blows or sucks air. This ruin site is also interesting for its restored ball court similar to the ball courts that are found in Aztec and Mayan ruins in Mexico.
If you are planning a trip to this area, you probably have plans to visit the Grand Canyon. If so, you'll find one last ruin site, this time an Anasazi pueblo, along the East Rim Drive within Grand Canyon National Park. Tusayan Pueblo is amid pine trees and is set back from the rim of the canyon. There is a small museum/visitor center at the ruins, and a self-guided trail wanders through the site.