Sunset, Arizona


Could there be any more lonely place than this hillside overlooking the Little Colorado River, and beyond, the San Francisco Peaks? As I look out over the windswept landscape, in all directions I see emptiness. But the 200 Mormon missionaries who came here from Utah in 1876 saw instead hope and promise, and they were determined to make the area around Sunset Crossing a productive place to live. Despite their hard work and perseverance, floods destroyed their dams and flooded their fields, and they were eventually assigned to other missions; the last of these pioneers left in 1888. The tiny cemetery bears witness to the hardships these pioneers faced; of the 15 people buried here, at least two-thirds of them were children -- some only a few hours old at the time of death.

Sunset Cemetery is located within Homolovi Ruins State Park, just north of Interstate 40 and east of Winslow in northern Arizona. The cemetery is an easy half-mile walk along a trail which starts at the visitor center parking lot; a guide brochure is available at the visitor center. There is a small entrance fee to the park.

Revised: November 17, 2006
Copyright © 2006 Joe Orman
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