A rock formation with many layers of color and shapes.

Ever Heard of Rondeho Canyon? It’s Arizona’s Best Kept Secret


A woman holding an object in her hand.
Entrance to Rondeho Canyon

Enjoy Exploring off-the-beaten trails?  Rondeho Canyon will not disappoint. 

In northern Arizona Rondeho Canyon hides among the sage and sand, but it still has a sense of purpose.  Murals of petroglyphs are etched into red sandstone cliffs that tell stories of the ancient ones. 

A single dusty trail meanders into a narrow canyon where short bushes hug 50 foot cliffs and the sun dances on the stocky boulders. 

Hanging out in nature and among the whispers of the ancient people always brings me back to center.  It can even be humbling.  Such as the case here.  The ancients lived so simply.  Could you live like they did, if you had to?

Everyone I’ve taken here feels a spiritual connection within these canyon walls.  We muse how life must have been for the ancient ones.  Probably only wearing loin cloths and moccasins or perhaps barefoot.  On a summer afternoon, In the middle of the day, the air feels like a furnace, the only reprieve is a soft wind blowing. However, the steep cliffs showing off their manuscripts and paintings is a delight for all of us to enjoy.

Outside Adventure for the Whole Family

This easy 2-mile hiking trail is obscured at times.  However, just keep walking east as the canyon gets narrower.  Along the way are several levels of rock carvings depicting lizards, feet, stick people, animals, spacemen and more. I wonder if the canyon has sunk and therefore we now have two generations of the ancient ones stories?

A woman holding an object in her hand.
This is the slap of rock you have to climb up- the roots help

The trail stops at a 8 foot tall and wide smooth rock slab fallen from the cliff face. A trail of sorts meanders to the right of this rock displaying a 100 foot gray root draped as if it were abstract art.   This root comes in handy to pull yourself up and squeeze through the small opening of branches.  The branches may scratch your legs as you continue on the rest of the trail.  So, it’s a good idea  to wear long pants.  Once on top, a cool breeze smacks you at the top. So refreshing!

On the top of the Canyon, you can see forever!

The top starts with a sandy path leading around the corner to a cave.  Stepping down into the cave shadow, on your left a sun dial suddenly becomes visible on the rock wall.  Directly in front of this sun dial, a shaft of sunlight shoots down from the top into the cave. One at a time, my friend and I stand underneath this beam of light, filling our senses with the blessing of a beautiful spring day.

As your eyes become accustomed to the light, you will realize you are in a well and recognize more pictures of animals, bizarre lines and other miscellaneous drawings on the rock walls.   Large tree limbs and branches hang helter-skelter overhead, suggesting past flooding. And, unfortunately, there are traces of humanity too with soda and beer cans littering another another small dry hole.

A woman holding an object in her hand.
Witches Well

Witches Well
At the back of the cave is another deeper well with petroglyphs etched as high as 10 feet or more.  And there is so much more to this canyon, however, you will just have to visit Rondeho Canyon to find out.

Four wheel drive is recommended because there is plenty of sand out there.  Drive 40 miles west of Concho, Arizona.  Follow Highway 89 to Witches Corner, turn left.  Go north about 3 miles,  turn right at the windmill, watching for the cows to greet you and keep heading east. This canyon is best visited after August and before June to avoid the monsoon season.


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