5 March 2017 Sedona - Jerome - Clarkdale - Tuzigott - Cottondale - Sedona, AZ

      Situated in a stunning setting, surrounded by red rock mountains and buttes lies the little village of Sedona where there are fabulous views from the main highway running through the town and almost every street corner. Sedona is known for its energy vortexes and many people consider it to be a highly spiritual place.

     Our first morning in Sedona we took two narrated trolley tours that were immensely educational and provided a great overview of the Sedona area. We became acquainted with our tour guide, Mark, who also gave us some tips of places to go and things to do during our visit there.

      Built into a Sedona Butte is the Chapel of the Holy Cross in a breath-taking location providing an exemplary view of the town by standing by the altar.   Built into a Sedona Butte is the Chapel of the Holy Cross in a breath-taking location providing an exemplary view of the town through the windows behind the altar. 

     Mr. Schnebly, one of the early settlers, petitioned for a post office and that was granted. His wife was named Sedona. Go figure! Schnebly Hill Road is the route from downtown to our campground and it winds above Sedona, rocky and unpaved, to some great hiking trails. We accidentally explored two of those because we got separated but nobody got lost.  

 How could anyone ever become wearied by these magnificent creations!

                                               The Chimney of West Sedona

     This huge formation rises from the top of the low mesa on which it sits. Depending on your vantage point, Chimney Rock looks like a single spire but from a different view, the three spires of the emergance are clearly visible.

The downtown streets are lined with cute shops and interesting restaurants.

     One of the many traffic circles in Sedona. The locals make it flow smoothly but tourists hover, blocking traffic, wondering if they should "go" or continue sitting there.

     Mark suggested that we drive north on a highway with numerous switchbacks of sharp bends and curves that climbed quickly from Sedona up the side of the Mongolian Rim to the top of Highway 89A and the vista of the overlook for Oak Creek Canyon.

 A snow covered mountain side of Oak Creek Canyon

     From the canyon rim, we had a dazzling panoramic view stretching 5-8 miles toward Sedona. Snow remained from a recent snowfall and we found a snowman on one of the walls.

    Four of the circuitous paths that Highway 89A carves into the mountainside to get us to the rim can be seen in the above photo.

                              Never did we think we'd ever see snow again in our lives!

                                              At the top of Oak Creek Canyon


      Mark strongly recommended adding Jerome, AZ, to our itinerary. When we arrived in that unusual village, we couldn’t believe our eyes! It was founded in the late 19th century, is more than 5,000 feet above sea level and sits on Cleopatra Hill, overlooking the Verde Valley. It’s known by two descriptive names—American’s Most Vertical City and the Largest Ghost Town in America.

     This tiny old mining town, turned ghost town, is located along a mountainside high above the desert floor, and has become a tourist attraction. A steep hill with switchbacks is the main street through town. Views from the streets and through some of the shop windows, are amazing. Many of the old buildings have been renovated but some still stand as ruins, creating a very interesting dynamic.

     This town is unique to say the least, and has many interesting and quirky sites.

     Jerome is a historic copper mining town and was once known as the most wicked town in the west with a population of 15,000 in the 1920’s. Today it is a thriving tourist and artist community boasting a population of 450. It sits above what was the largest copper mine in AZ and produced an astonishing 3 million pounds of copper a month. Today the mines are silent and Jerome has become the largest ghost town in America. 

It is an enchanting town and a photographer’s paradise making it well worth your time to visit. Externally, it hasn’t changed much in nearly 100 years. Most of the buildings in use today were built after the fires of 1894 and 1899. You’ve just got to see it to believe it. 

        This is what's left of one of Jerome's finest hotel but today stands in ruins. 

     The town’s built on a 30 degree incline of the mountainside so gravity has pulled a number of buildings down the slope. To the delight of the inmates, one of those buildings was the town’s jail.    

     One area not to miss is the “Cribs District” which is across the street from the English Kitchen, in a back alley where all the buildings were part of Jerome’s ill-famed “prostitution row”.


     Mark recommended a visit to the Jerome Grand Hotel, a historic landmark, once a hospital and now a hotel. It is a historic Spanish Mission style building that served as a hospital from 1927 until 1950. Then it sat unused for 44 years until it was purchased in 1994 to start its life as the Jerome Grand Hotel.  Steam heat is still used in many areas and the 1926 Otis Elevator services all 5 floors.  In the windowed garage, we saw their 1928 Springfield Phantom 1 Rolls-Royce. We were intrigued by numerous historic pictures and antiques also displayed throughout the building.


          Another little town between Sedona and Jerome is Clarkdale, located at the base of Cleopatra Hill, the location where Jerome is King of the Hill.  William Clark was owner of one of Jerome's largest copper mines, thus the town's name. The Verde Canyon Railroad is based there and still takes tourists on a 4 hour train ride with dinner served.

      Tuzigoot National Monument was conveniently on our route that day, historic Highway 89A, and is an old Indian dwelling.  There are two hiking trails that give visitors an up close look at the culture from long ago. The Sinagua people were agriculturalists and they built and lived in the pueblo that consisted of 110 rooms including second and third story structures. They left the area around 1400. The first buildings were built around A.D. 1000. The ruins still exist on this small mound. The site is currently comprised of 42 acres. 

     Tuzigoot is near yet another tiny town on historic 89A wherein all our explorations took us that day, namely Cottonwood. Back in the days of mining, Cottonwood had a reputation for lawlessness. Heavy bootlegging abounded, therefore attracting other non-law abiding citizens. This burg was known to have the best bootlegging booze within hundreds of miles, attracting people from LA, Phoenix, and other closer-to-home folks.

     "The times they are a-changin'" because today, Cottonwood's the place to go if you're looking for something different. It's complete with a vast array of wine tasting rooms, restaurants, a picturesque historic old town complete with high sidewalks and false fronted buildings that lend to the old west atmosphere. It's surrounded by jagged mountains on the south, east, and west. To the north are mesas and buttes. How did this town come by its name? There are beautiful Cottonwood trees that grow along the beautiful Verde River which flows through this town.

     Before returning home to Sedona, Cottonwood was our last scheduled stop. Mark confessed that he's a musician and would be entertaining at one of the wine bars that night. We passed up First Friday in Sedona when all the galleries are open late to be able to hear Mark play guitar and sing accompanied by his friend on bass. Mark's been playing since he was in the 4th grade and it shows. He is extremely talented, writes many of his own lyrics, composes his own music, and has a marvelous voice. Our last night in the Sedona area ended on a sweet sounding note.

Bill and Laura
Sedona, AZ



We visited in August 2015. Carl found Sedona a bit too "touristy" (as he did Taos), so we passed thru without stopping. We were on our way to a campground and didn't have time to stop in Jerome, but it was a memorable switchback drive for the travel journal - not to be forgotten. Luckily, we JUST made a couple of the turns in town - without having to back up. It must have been even "funner" in your bigger rig!

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