Sedona Peace Tour
Sedona Peace Tour
 
Sedona, with its magnificent red rock vistas, is well known as a place of peace and healing. This  is true for the indigenous Native American peoples who walked this land for generations, as well as for the millions of visitors who journey here each year. It is for this reason that Sedona, along with over 110 cities around the world, has become a UN sanctioned International City of Peace. As part of that commitment, Sedona International City of Peace has developed this Peace Tour that honors specific places in Sedona and the surrounding Verde Valley that foster and support a culture of peace. Please share your experience on our website or on Facebook.
 
The Sedona Peace Tour features three categories of peace sites—Ancient, Environmental, and Modern—with a total of 18 sites, several of which are cross-referenced. The Peace Tour can be accessed by car, inspiring walks of exploration, and some longer hikes available at many sites. The Tour starts at Bell Rock, just north of the Village of Oak Creek on S.R. 179, but can begin at any peace site and continue from there. We invite you to partake in Sedona’s unique blend of peace offerings, experience the restorative gifts of each site, and, by your presence, leave your own unique peaceful mark for future visitors to enjoy. 
ANCIENT SITE
  ENVIRONMENTAL SITE
MODERN SITE
  Bell Rock is both an ancient Native American sacred site and one of Sedona’s vortex sites, which are said to be places of concentrated energy that help amplify whatever is needed for healing and growth. Native Americans have traditionally recognized Bell Rock as a sacred site of masculine energy; it is matched to Boynton Canyon on the northwestern side of Sedona, a sacred site of feminine energy to which the Yavapai-Apache groups continue to honor with their annual spring trek. It is believed Bell Rock and Boynton Canyon were to be preserved for rituals of life, peace and restoration, and within which no one should live. Continue your journey north
on 179 for the next few sites (see map).
 
 Cathedral Rock, also a Sedona vortex site, is one  of the most celebrated formations in Red Rock country. Cathedral Rock has been included in several photography books enumerating the most sacred places on the planet, and is one of the all-time favorites of environmentalists, hikers, and seekers of spiritual space and peace. There are opportunities for an ambitious hike and climb up to the “saddle” between the spires of Cathedral and/or a stroll to Oak Creek at its base.
 
  Chapel of the Holy Cross. Meant as a place for reflection and meditation for all who come, the visitor is first greeted by the sign “peace to all who enter.” There are no services, but candles can be lit in memory and celebration. Created and built in the early 1950s by a former student of Frank Lloyd Wright, the award-winning chapel is symbolically built on a 200 ft. high rock with sprawling, unique views of the surrounding red rock country.
 
  Karmapa’s Peace Garden, located at the Sedona Creative Life Center, the Peace Garden was dedicated to the 17th Karmapa of Tibet in 2005 with the intent of bringing together the wisdom of the East and West to create peace. After the 2011 shooting in Tucson, Gardens for Humanity initiated the planting of “healing trees,” on February 14, both Valentines Day and Arizona Statehood Day. This was done with the goal of healing Arizona and dedicating people’s actions to improving human relations.   
 
  Peace Galleries. Built on the banks of Oak Creek in 1973 by Abe Miller, Tlaquepaque hosts numerous stores, galleries, restaurants, and a small chapel, all created in the style of Old Mexico. Of particular interest on the tour are two art galleries devoted to peace and its visual interpretation. Honshin Fine Art encourages visitors to “take the journey from your head to your heart” in exploring the beauty of all things. The Andrea Smith Gallery promotes the message that peace comes from finding peace within and features sacred art and original works of world peace artists. 
 
 Oak Creek Canyon, famed for its natural environmental beauty, is a 13-mile steep walled and forested canyon just north of Uptown Sedona on 89A. It hosts one of the few perennial small rivers of the Southwest and features hairpin turns as it winds its way to Flagstaff, with several points to park, walk, and hike. Evidence indicates that native tribes treated Oak Creek and the Sedona red rocks similarly—people did not live here, but used the lands for rituals of restoration and peace. Today, Native American tribes continue to use various places in Oak Creek as places for ceremony. The peace and beauty is apparent even if viewed only from the car.
 
  Sedona Arts Center (SAC) Heading back down Oak Creek Canyon on 89A, and entering Uptown Sedona again you will see the Sedona Art Center on the left. A proverb tells us, that “wherever God lives, artists follow,” and the Sedona Arts Center deserves credit for beginning a legacy of art dedicated to peace and beauty in Sedona. Nassan Gobran, its creator and a renowned Egyptian artist, arrived in Sedona in 1950 (population: 350 at that time). As an artist he was stunned by the beauty of the landscape, and realized that Sedona was a place where the arts would flourish. Through his dedication, SAC opened in 1961 in the old wooden apple-packing barn at the end of the Jordan farm. There you will find Gobran’s “Peace” sculpture. The original barn now houses SAC’s classrooms and offices. (Sedona: Legends and Legacies, Kate Ruland-Thorne, 1989.)
 
 Airport Vortex. Continuing south on 89A towards Cottonwood, turn left on Airport Road (1.1 miles after S.R. 179 junction). Go up Airport Road for ½ mile to the parking area on the left. Walk up the trail to the broad space between the hills. You will note twisted juniper trees which is said to be indicative of vortex energy. Believed to be masculine in nature, this location along with several others close by have the added advantage of offering spectacular vistas of Sedona. 
 
 Peace Bell. Return to 89A. Proceed to stoplight on Soldier’s Pass Road and turn right, and then right again on St. John Vianney Lane. This brings you to the Peace Bell garden located on the grounds of the St. John Vianney Church. The bell itself was chosen for its beautiful tone and its long resonance. The vision is that when one strikes the bell “a prayer of peace goes out not only for your own soul and consciousness, but to the world as well.” Stay, stroll and enjoy the surrounding gardens as well.
 
 Labyrinth. Return to 89A, turn right and continue south. One block past the stoplight at Mountain Shadows Drive, turn left and go to the end of Kallof Place and park. The labyrinth, located adjacent to the Lodge of Sedona, is open to the public from 11 to 3 each day. The labyrinth is similar to ones found in many indigenous cultures which are said to activate one’s spiritual energies. Mindfully treading its spiral path inspires reflection and meditation leading to an experience of grace, peace or holiness in one’s heart, spirit and soul. 
 
 Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park. Continue south on 89A to the light at Andante Road and turn right and make the last left onto Pueblo Drive. Parking is available on site or at the street. Follow the well marked trail through the 14-acre park for about 5 minutes. The Amitabha Stupa was the vision of the spiritual director of Kunzang Palyul Chöling, Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo, to create a place of great benefit where anyone can come to meditate or offer prayers. A stupa is one of the oldest forms of sacred architecture on earth, dating back to the time of Buddha 2600 years ago. Stupas have been built to create peace, avert war, end famine, and promote prosperity and healing. Their sole purpose is to bring benefit to all beings, and the mystical accounts of their healing powers are well documented. The Peace Park is open from dawn to dusk 365 days a year. 
 
 Boynton Canyon and Kachina Woman Vortex. Return to 89A and turn right; go to Dry Creek Road and turn right again. Go 2.9 miles to a “T” intersection and turn left, and then another 1.7 miles to another “T” and turn right. There is a parking area just ahead on the right. Take the Boynton Canyon Trail, staying to the left. Then follow the Vista Trail to the right. Now you will be at the knoll with Kachina Woman just beyond. This is the area where feminine vortex energies are said to be strongest. Boynton Canyon itself is sacred space from the perspective of numerous indigenous tribes. For the Yavapai, “First Lady” the mother of their tribe, was born from an enchanted pool deep within Boynton Canyon, and every year they return to pay her honor. The idea of balance, tranquility, and restoration is emphasized in this peaceful place.
 
 Palatki and Honanki Heritage Sites. Return to the former “T” intersection and then continue straight on Forest Road 525/795 which is unpaved but driveable. Continue on FR 795 for 2 miles leading to the Palatki Heritage Site parking lot. Palatki, which means red house in Hopi, was home to the ancestors of the Hopi. They lived here from approximately 1100 until 1400 C.E. Here the figure Kokopelli, the little humpbacked flute player, remains clearly visible on the ancient sandstone walls. Honanki—2.5 miles further down FR 795 is a site of similar history. However, a Clovis projectile point discovered here in 1995 definitively dates these settlements back to 9000 B.C. Both sites are examples of the settlements that surrounded the greater red-rock area of what is now Sedona, but never intruded into the space that was held most sacred. Historians indicate that the disagreements among conflicting groups did not occur in this area which represented rest, peace, and restoration.
 
  Tuzigoot National Monument. Return to 89A south and go approximately 14 miles towards Cottonwood. At the first light, turn right on Mingus Road. Turn right at the next light onto Main Street. Follow the road through Old Town Cottonwood towards Clarkdale, and you will see the brown signs directing you to Tuzigoot National Monument. Tuzigoot is an ancient, 100-room pueblo site of the Sinagua people. Archeologists believe it may have been a busy trading site, welcoming many different tribes. It is unknown why they left the area. You will need to obtain a day pass to enter the pueblo and museum.
 
  Montezuma Castle National Monument. Retrace your route and return to 89A. Mingus Road turns into Cornville Road when you cross 89A. This road returns you to I-17, crossing the Verde River several times and traveling through the lands Native Americans lived on for centuries while visiting the Sedona area for their rituals. Turn south on I-17 and go 4 miles to exit 289 for Montezuma Castle National Monument. More than 1000 years ago the Sinagua lived here and utilized the extraordinary Montezuma Well for human needs and crop irrigation. The cliff dwelling has over 60 rooms and researchers today marvel at the sophistication of dry-land farming techniques displayed. It was a place where tribes from many areas gathered for rituals and leisure. 
 
• Yavapai-Apache Nation Cultural Resource Center. Returning to I-17, the Cutural Center will be on your right about three blocks before reaching the Interstate entrance. The Yavapai and Apache resided in this area for centuries, but in 1871 were ordered onto a reservation (now known as Camp Verde) and many were slaughtered. A further relocation in 1875 took the form of a forced march over 181 miles of harsh terrain in the dead of winter to San Carlos in southern Arizona. More than 100 people died during this march, never to see the red rocks of their homeland again. The Cultural Center tells their story, and a bronze statue commemorating an elderly man carrying his wife on this march—telling the story without words—now graces its entrance. 
 
• V Bar V Heritage Site. On this last leg of the Peace Tour, continue north on I-17 to Sedona exit 298 and turn right. Go approximately 2 miles to the V Bar V Heritage site. This is the largest petroglyph site in the Verde Valley with over 1000 images created in what is now known as the distinctive Beaver Creek style. Incorporated into the historic V Bar V Ranch in 1907, the owners guarded the area well. Now, solar calendars, animals, spirals, and grids, all etched on cliff face walls, in what some visitors call a “spirit-filled space,” stand in silent testimony to the artists’ ancient purpose still shrouded in mystery today.
 
 Closing the Circle. Returning north on S.R. 179 towards Sedona, and within several minutes Bell Rock will appear and remind you that you have once again returned to the sacred and peacemaking space that seems to permeate the Sedona Red Rocks, not only now in this century, but also in centuries past, and hopefully in those yet to come.