The Verde Valley Ancestral Garden was constructed by the area’s only archaeology museum and is free for the public to enjoy. Featuring ancient seeds and plants that the Hohokam, Sinagua, Yavapai, and Apache once harvested, the garden allows visitors to view and learn about plants harvested here centuries ago.
The garden’s extraordinary features are the series of rock terraces, completed by hand, that act as a container for rainwater. With sometimes hefty monsoon seasons in Camp Verde, rain harvested was an important function of ancient gardening. Still today, this ancient rock technology can be used to conserve water for the Verde River. The river, located less than a mile east of the garden, is Arizona’s only federally designated Wild and Scenic River and was the main water source for the indigenous populations. The Verde Valley Ancestral Garden promotes educational learning about the river and also exemplifies gardening techniques to save water.
The ancestral garden is a great place for an afternoon picnic or a short hike along the quarter-mile trail. There are benches offered for seating, and trees that allow for shade during the hot summers. Along the trail, visitors will find educational displays that provide details about the various archaeological digs around the garden and the history of the Sinagua. Parking is available in the dirt lot of the trailhead.