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Sedona Views and activities

The Road to Orchards: I17 North from Phoenix

The road to Orchards Inn is beautiful, no matter how you get here. Various routes wind through the American Southwest, and take you through breathtaking landscapes, iconic points of interest and past quaint shops and eateries.

We decided to start a series that would focus on the vast options to get to Orchards Inn and Sedona throughout Arizona. We begin our Road to Orchards series with the most popular route, North on Interstate 17. These Sedona directions are arguably the most popular because many of our guests fly into Phoenix International Sky Harbor Airport or travel the short distance from their homes in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson and other Central and Southern Arizona cities.

While you are driving north on Interstate 17 one of the main changes you will notice is the scenery. Within the city limits, you will see many homes, shops, businesses, restaurants, hotels and more. However, once you pass exit #233, buildings become sparse and saguaro cacti emerge – peppering the landscape with their unmistakable shapes.

Saguaro Facts. Did you know…

  • With the right growing conditions, it is estimated that saguaros can live to be as much as 150-200 years old.
  • Saguaro are very slow growing cacti. A 10 year old plant might only be 1.5 inches tall. Saguaro can grow to be between 40-60 feet tall.
  • When rain is plentiful and the saguaro is fully hydrated it can weigh between 3200-4800 pounds.
  • The saguaro is the largest cactus in the United States.
  • Most of the saguaros roots are only 4-6 inches deep and radiate out as far from the plant as it is tall. There is one deep root, or tap root that extends down into the ground more than 2 feet.

As you climb in elevation, the saguaro cacti thin and you will find small bushes along the highway. Depending on the season, as you gaze out the windows you may see snow in the higher elevations or animals, including antelope, deer and elk as they make their way across our high desert.

Stops along the way

The drive from the Phoenix area to Sedona is not long, but if you aren’t in a hurry there are some great stops along the way. Here are just a few….

  1. Tortas Chano: Featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri, (formally Roberto’s Authentic Mexican) Tortas Chano is a locally owned, family restaurant serving authentic Mexican food. Guy tried the tacos al pastor and the chimichanga burrito after which he asked to be the chimichanga ambassador. 39510 North Daisy Mountain Drive, Anthem AZ 85086
  2. Rock Springs Cafe is a central Arizona pie tradition. Unfortunately, a stop here for pie will cause you to judge every other pie against these culinary creations. Of course, we stop for the Apple pie, a la mode, but all their flavors are worth a taste or two. Rock Springs also serves Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, but they won’t bat an eye if you order dessert first. Want your pie for free? Bring them a unique bottle of hot sauce and they’ll trade you, or if you need to stop for gas, there is a gas station next door and they’ll give you a free pie coupon. 35900 South Old Black Canyon Highway, Rock Springs, AZ
  3. Arcosanti is an urban laboratory focused on innovative design, community, and environmental accountability. Their goal is to actively pursue lean alternatives to urban sprawl based on Paolo Soleri’s theory of compact city design, Arcology (architecture + ecology). Built by over 7,000 volunteers since the commencement of the project in 1970, Arcosanti provides various mixed-use buildings and public spaces where people live, work, visit, and participate in educational and cultural programs. Stop and enjoy a tour. The guided tour includes an overview of the Arcosanti project and a walk-through of the built environment that demonstrates a working example of how architecture could meet ecology.
  4. Montezuma’s Castle protects a set of well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings near Camp Verde, Arizona, United States (exit #287). The dwellings were built and used by the Sinagua people, a pre-Columbian culture closely related to the Hohokam and other indigenous peoples of the southwestern United States, between approximately 1100 and 1425 AD. The main structure comprises five stories and twenty rooms, and was built over the course of three centuries. Several Hopi clans and Yavapai communities trace their ancestries to early immigrants from the Montezuma Castle/Beaver Creek area. Clan members periodically return to these ancestral homes for religious ceremonies.

Buckle Up & Enjoy The Ride!

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