It's a relatively short, easy climb to reach the largest single cliff dwelling in Boynton Canyon, known as Grandmother’s Cave, although technically it is an alcove and not a cave. Most of the "caves" in Sedona are alcoves.
The ruin is from the prehistoric Sinagua culture
, and the “cave” plays an important role in the Yavapai creation story, as the dwelling-place of First Woman.
It is the place where -- after being impregnated with sunlight on top of Mingus Mountain -- she gave birth to twin sons. Her sons eventually slayed the monsters that roamed the Earth at the beginning of the 4th world, staining the rocks in Sedona red with blood and making the world safe for humans.
Today the modern Yavapai still live in the area near Camp Verde. The name Yavapai translates as “People of the Sun.” The Sinagua (meaning ”Without Water” in Spanish) were farmers who left the area approximately 200 years before the arrival of the first Europeans.
While they may have scattered in different directions, many of the Sinagua are known to have integrated into the Hopi, who have farmed the Painted Desert 200 miles to the north, for at least 1,300 years.
FINDING THE SOCIAL TRAIL
From the parking lot at Boynton Canyon take the system trail around the Enchantment Resort (shown below).
Just BEFORE the trail system trail drops down to the canyon floor, look for a social trail going to the right at GPS 34.919489 -111.8538 (shown below). This is about a mile from the parking lot. The social trail to Grandmother's Cave goes to the left of the cliff in the foreground (in shade below).
The route to Grandfather's Cave is basically a continuation of the hike to Grandmother's Cave (see DETAIL map and photo below).
The photo below shows Grandmother's Cave from across the canyon at the Kachina Tree, and the route the social trail takes to reach the cliff dwelling. Grandfather's Cave is not visible in the photo. It's higher still.
This hike can be extended to include the cave above, known as Grandfather's. To do that simply drop down onto the ledge just below Grandmother's and walk north up Boynton Canyon. At the first break in the cliffs turn right and head uphill (shown below). Including Grandfather's Cave makes the hike MODERATE.
GET THE GPS TRACK FOR EVERY TRAIL IN SEDONA INCLUDED WHEN YOU PURCHASE THE WANDERER"S GUIDE!
RATED: Easy to moderate
2.2 miles out and back.
EST. HIKING TIME
1.5 hours round trip
BEST TIME TO GO
All year, early morning
No! DO NOT visit ruins with your pet!