Visiting the Verde Hot Springs was one of my favorite Weekend Getaways in Arizona. It is one of the easiest accessed hot springs in Arizona and is near the Verde Campground where I camped for 2 nights. They are located about midway between Payson and Camp Verde, but more on the Camp Verde side, thus the name ‘Verde Hot Springs. Because of its location, it is better if one has a4 wheel drive. A 2 wheeler will get there fine, but it will be slower and the driver must be very careful going down the unpaved road near cliffs that drop hundreds of feet down.
From the camp grounds the spring is about a mile hike, which is great because it offers an opportunity to build excitement, exercise and see the surroundings. Situated up above the Verde River, the spring is protected by a foundation built around it. It was built in at an old resort that burned down years back and it looks like some hippies have been living in the area, leaving some unbelievable artworks, rather questionable if you ask me on the walls of the springs.
There are two pools; the indoor and outdoor pools. The outdoor pool gives you a great view, but can be very chilling as the brisk winds blow over. The indoor one is warmer, but the art on the wall can be overwhelming.
This was believed to be the source of water supply for the Castle. Located below the castle grounds it is easily seen and accessible. The history is much more than what one sees, it is a testament to the ingenuity of the people who lived hundreds of years ago.
Half of the well is filled with spring water. Its size is a little is a little unusual and one can tell that the outlet was used to irrigate fields by the people that lived there. Inside the visitor center, information on the well confirms that the people known as the Hokokam and Sinagua built wells around the edge for irrigation purposes.
The Hopi consider the site of importance to them and other tribes and clans today trace their ancestry here.
Hollywood shows us forts in the old west with large wooden poles surrounding the fort and John Wayne shooting from the top of the walls. In reality the forts were frequently placed in very desolate places where there are not enough trees to build such a wall. They were unnecessary anyway. The local tribes almost never attacked a fort because they knew they would be outmanned and outgunned. They may, however, hide on top of mesas like those in this picture to observe what the soldiers in the fort were doing.
The last surviving building is the Doctor's Quarters. Duty in the west during the late 1800s was very hazardous, and the doctor was an important member of the unit. Unfortunately, the pay of $123 a month, while much more than the soldiers made was very low for a doctor so most of the doctors working for the army were not very good. Photo 1 shows the outside of the building; Photos 2 and 3 show the parlor; and Photo 4 shows the Doctor's Office and some of his instruments.
The next building is the Bachelor Officer's Quarters. The Married Officer's Quarters and the barracks for the enlisted soldiers are no longer standing. Photo 1 shows the outside of the building; Photos 2 and 3 show a typical room; Photo 4 shows some typical equipment from the period assembled on a soldier's bunk; Photo 5 is looking towards the Commanding Officer's Quarters from the back porch. Notice the hay for the horses by the Commander's Quarters.
The first building you see is the Commanding Officer's Quarters. Photo 1 shows the exterior of the building; Photo 2 and 3 show the master bedroom; the wife would bathe here, the men and children bathed in the kitchen; Photo 4 shows the parlor where the family would gather in the evening and where they would entertain guests; Photo 5 shows a child's room; just beyond the children's room would be the Striker's Room. A striker was an enlisted man who helped with the chores, cooked, and watched the children. If you were a striker you had much better living quarters and earned an extra $5 a month. $5 may not sound like much but the normal pay was only $13 a month so an extra 5 was quite a bit.
As you cross the street from the Visitor's Center toward the remains of Fort Verde, you will see a large open area in front of the buildings. This is the parade field where the soldiers would assemble before missions and where they would conduct drills and ceremonies.
Within the Visitor's Center is the museum. The museum has several nice displays showing the soldiers and their lives here at Fort Verde. There are also some displays about the civilians that lived on the fort and the nearby town. Photo 1 shows a recreation of the Commander's Office; Photo 2 shows the saddles used by the soldiers; Photo 3 shows the dress uniforms of an officer and a sergeant; Photo 4 shows the layout of the original fort; and Photo 5 shows some of the military weapons used in the late 1800s.
Another attraction near Camp Verde is the Fort Verde State Historic Park. Fort Verde is a good example of the forts built throughout Arizona and was constructed in 1865. This location was first named Camp Lincoln, the Camp Verde and finally Fort Verde. Fort Verde was the primary base for General George Crook’s U.S. Army scouts and soldiers. Your first stop will be the Visitor's Center so you can pay the entrance fee ($2 for adults 14 and up) and collect brochures about the site.
Camp Verde was listed in the book about Arizona Curiosities because it is home to the "World's Largest Kokopelli", a 32 foot statue in front of the Krazy Kokopelli Trading Post. The Kokopelli is the Navajo Indian God of Wealth and Fertility and is popular with a number of tribes throughout the Southwest.
the remnants of one of the largest pueblos built by the Sinagua. Tuzigoot, an Apache word meaning "crooked water," was built between 1100 and 1450 AD and consisted of two stories and 110 rooms. This structure, along with others whose ruins have been found in the surrounding area, provided shelter for hundreds of Sinagua occupants. There really is not much left here, but a stone wall shell of a structure that once was. It is interesting history and the view is pretty . There is a visitors center contains museums Sinaguan artifacts.
Montezuma's Castle is a must see if you enjoy history or archaeology. Early discoverers believed that Aztecs built this castle for Montezuma, it was later learned that he was never this far north and in reality it is the most visibly well preserved Sinagua complex in Arizona. Sinagua is spanish for "without water" The Sinagua's were farmers. They also created and traded decorated reddish brown pottery.
Large walnut and sycamore trees line a paved trail that leads to the "Castle." It is an easy walk around the grounds. The castle is really a five story 20 room dwelling built in a cliff that is 100 feet above. About 50 Sinagua farmers lived in this dwelling from the 1100-until they mysteriously started leaving in the 1400's. Next to Montezuma Castle is what archaeologists called Castle "A" not as well preserved (due to a fire) this cliff dwelling was much larger than Montezuma Castle. It had over 45 rooms and 100 Sinagua farmers called this place home. You can see the ruins in my second photo. There is also an interactive recording as to what the inside of the castle would have looked like that is interesting. It truly is a beautiful area, you can imagine the native people farming, hunting and caring for their families nearly 600 years ago.
Of course, we went to this because I absolutely love cats, which is really what this park is all about-the big cats!
We went when this was still located east of Scottsdale, it is now up in Camp Verde, AZ
The park is unlike a zoo in that it is much more interactive, you can often feed the tigers, hold a baby lion cub, watch caretakers as they interact with the Tigers. It is a cool place to visit. I would love to visit again,especially now they are in their new location.
If you love the big cats of the world, you would enjoy a visit here.
In addition to the large cats, Out of Africa Wildlife Park has wolves, bears, coati, fox, javelina and a variety of birds, lizards and snakes. You can go on a Serengeti Safari tour and see up close giraffees and zebras.
Montezuma Castle National Monument encompasses 826 acres. Montezuma's castle, in the Camp Verde Valley, is a five-level, 20 room cliff dwelling nestled into a limestone recess high above Beaver Creek. It served as a "high-rise apartment building" for prehistoric Sinagua Indians over 600 years ago. It is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. The site is a classic example of the last phase of southern Sinagua occupation of the Verde Valley.
Montezuma Castle Visitor Center
Open From Memorial Day through Labor Day 8 AM- 6 PM
Open From Labor Day through Memorial Day 8 AM -5 PM
It's not a castle and Montezuma was never here.
Nestled into a limestone recess high above the flood plain of Beaver Creek in the Verde Valley stands one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. The five-story, 20-room cliff dwelling served as a "high-rise apartment building" for prehistoric Sinagua Indians over 600 years ago. Early settlers to the area assumed that the imposing structure was associated with the Aztec emperor Montezuma, but the castle was abandoned almost a century before Montezuma was born.
With heightened concern over vandalism of fragile southwestern prehistoric sites, Montezuma Castle became a major factor in the nation's historic preservation movement with its proclamation as a national monument. The Castle was described in the December 1906 establishment proclamation as "of the greatest ethnological and scientific interest." Acreage: 840.86, federal: 16.83, non-federal.
$3.00 - 7 Days
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1640 West Highway 260, I-17, Exit 287, Camp Verde, Arizona, 86322, United States
Good for: Solo
340 North Goswick Way, Camp Verde, Arizona, 86322-7706, United States
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
Hotel was very clean, decent continental breakfast. Nice location. We picked this hotel over the...more