Montezuma Castle National Monument Travel Guide

  • Montezuma Castle cliff dwelling.
    Montezuma Castle cliff dwelling.
    by razorbacker
  • View of castle through trees from the Verde River.
    View of castle through trees from the...
    by razorbacker
  • More ruined ruins.
    More ruined ruins.
    by razorbacker

Montezuma Castle National Monument Things to Do

  • Sinagua Ruins

    Small impressive settlement of the pre-Columbian Sinagua peoples, sons of Lehi in antiquity, in the Verde Valley of central Arizona. Very accessible and comprehensible example of similar communities dotted throughout the Southwest. There is an impressive very well-preserved naturally-protected cliff dwelling and, a bit further south and exposed to...

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  • Swallet

    This small opening where the water flows out of the well is called a swallet. The water flows underground through here, 600 feet, to the outlet on he other side of the well’s wall.

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  • Well Outlet

    Here is the outlet where water from the well joins Wet Beaver Creek and provides the water for the irrigation ditch.

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  • Irrigation Canal

    Here you can see part of the mile long irrigation ditch the Sinagua built paralleling Wet Beaver Creek to divert water to irrigate their crops.

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  • Hohokam Pithouse

    The area you see here is the floor of an ancient Hohokam pithouse. It is believed the Hohokam came here around 600 AD. Pithouses are so named because they are partly built below ground level.

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  • Stand-alone Pueblos

    The piles of rocks you see here are the remains of a 15 to 20 room pueblo built here on this hilltop. Other pueblos were built on other hilltops overlooking the farmland. These pueblos were built using sandstone and limestone a similar technique as was used to construct the nearby Tuzigoot Pueblo.

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  • Cliff Dwelling

    Here you see an example of a cliff house built by the Sinagua. These were built facing east so the morning sun would warm the house in the winter. The houses were relatively easy to make because all you had to do was enclose the mouth of the cave. You got to the house using narrow ledges or wooden ladders. These type of houses were popular...

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  • Cave House

    Here you see how the inhabitants built these houses in the naturally occurring caves using the cave walls and roof as parts of the buildings. The doors are small to protect against the hot summer sun and the cold winter winds. Note the black color of the cave ceiling from the cooking fires.

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  • Montezuma's Well

    Montezuma’s Well was probably formed about 11,000 years ago when the roof of a large water-filled underground cave collapsed. The resulting formation provided the water for a thriving Sinagua community and today offers us a unique look into the past. There are examples/remains of four types of Sinagua Dwellings here; Cliff Dwellings, Cave...

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  • Agriculture

    The Verde Valley was first settled around 700 AD by hunter gatherers who hunted antelope and gathered food on the fertile land along Wet Beaver Creek. You can see the course of the creek by looking for the line of green trees in the picture. Farming was probably introduced to these hunter gatherers by the Hohokam who came this way to trade. In the...

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  • Musuem in Visitor Center

    Visitor Centers are like a museum within a museum. They not only provide a service in preserving and protecting our past, but provide a upclose educational look at centuries past. They had some really nice displays of artifacts and some really neat old photographs of what the ruins looks like when it was first discovered and visitors in the 1800's.

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  • Plaques along the pathway

    I think these plaques are essential to any national park or monument. I know with my boys, they love to read them. And I am sure as with many school children find them enjoyable as well as many adults like myself. I watched many people just walk along and not even glance down on them. I know at one point my oldest was reading them to my younger one...

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Montezuma Castle National Monument Transportation

  • Restrooms at Park Visitor Centers

    If you are ever in the area just hiking around or in a emergency situation with a family member, park visitor centers will always have restrooms available. I know they are essential to my family….lol.

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  • Driving through the Mojave Desert.

    During our drive from Los Angeles to Phoenix we drove about 600 km through the Mojave Desert. We passed the Joshua Tree National Monument, which is a very poor soil area with highly deformed trees. These trees can grow up till 15 meters. We also drove through the windmill park of Palm Springs. This was the scenery we drove through, to get to...

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  • Like in practically the whole...

    Like in practically the whole of the United States of America, the car is the best way (often even the only way) to travel from A to B. It has an extra plus, as the freedom to stop where-ever you want is unlimited. So, do this whenever there is something to enjoy and this is in the U.S. of A. as well ... unlimited. If not ... you miss the...

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Montezuma Castle National Monument Shopping

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo

    by Yaqui Updated Apr 8, 2008

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This visitor center has a lovely gift shop of books, toys, literature filled with many educational information for children and adults alike.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Road Trip

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Montezuma Castle National Monument Local Customs

  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    by Jerelis Updated Sep 13, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Mojave desert lodges a very large variety of (not always visible) fauna, like purcupines, deers, coyotes and foxes.

    We also learned about the legend of the Saguaro's. We learned this from a local man and he told us about it, because we saw so much Saguaro's, which is a large cactus. The Indian legend told us that the cactus represends a dead indian. Each arm on the cactus is a woman he had a relationship with. When the arm goes up the relationship was good and when the arm goes down it wasn't such a good relationship.

    Directions:
    The Mojave Desert (Mojave is used for the desert while Mohave is used for the native people) occupies a significant portion of southern California and smaller parts of southwestern Utah, southern Nevada, and northwestern Arizona, in the United States.

    How much women did this indian have? Relinde in front of a Saguaro.
    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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Montezuma Castle National Monument Warnings and Dangers

  • Fragile

    Please stay out of restricted areas. These ruins are fragile. Help preserve them for future generations.

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  • Dangers for Human and Pets

    Stay on the path please! There are rattlesnakes in this area and they would rather keep to themselves. "Kind of like, you leave me alone and I will leave you alone." They love to stay in the shady areas like grass, trees, and under rocks during the summer months. So it is wise for you stay on the path to avoid them.You are allowed to bring your...

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  • Beware of the Animals

    This area of the desert has a number of animals that can harm you. Be careful about approaching any of the animals especially snakes, spiders or scorpions.

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Montezuma Castle National Monument What to Pack

  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    by Jerelis Written Dec 22, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: * Map and guidebook;
    * Crackers;
    * 2 Liter of water;
    * Fruit / power bars.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: * Hiking boots;
    * 1 extra t-shirt;
    * Shorts with many pockets;
    * Sunglasses;
    * Fleece type jacket;
    * Hat / cap;
    * Raincoat.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: * Lip balm;
    * (Neck) sunblock;
    * Band-aids.

    Photo Equipment: * Camera and lots of films!
    * Filter;
    * Extra batteries;
    * Lens 210 mm.

    Miscellaneous: * Binocular;
    * Compass.

    Here we go ...
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • National/State Park

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Montezuma Castle National Monument Off The Beaten Path

  • Highly Recommended Arizona Stop

    I recommend exploring both Montezuma's Castle and Montezuma's Well. Both are located near each other and should be visited together.

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  • A fascinating landscape!

    A lot of people who drive or hike through the desert have the wrong idea about the Mojave Desert and think that it's a rough waste, but in fact it is a very fascinating landscape. This desert has a very vulnerable environment with a lot of exotic plants and animals. The landscape is a bit monotonous but does vary from waving sunddunes till rocks...

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  • Learn more about its history.

    If you walk a bit further you'll be able to see more ruins of other dwellings. You're not allowed to enter these ruins and there is much to be said for, because a lot of people have already taken some art, pieces of rocks, other artifacts, etc. Nowadays these exhibits are shown in Eastcoast museums or ended up in the illigal circuit. Everything...

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Montezuma Castle National Monument Sports & Outdoors

  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    by Basaic Written Oct 13, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The hiking trails at both locations are relatively short and for the most part easy. They are well-marked so you won't get lost. Most of the trail is also handicapped accessible. Please, for the preservation of the site, and your own safety, stay on the trail.

    Trail Sign Trail Sign Stay on the Trail
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Road Trip
    • Hiking and Walking

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Montezuma Castle National Monument Favorites

  • Budweiser - King of all Beers?

    Let’s make no secret of it. We both like a nice cold glass of beer. Being abroad is always a challenge to find a beer we like, which reflects our taste of having a beer. In America it wasn’t really that hard to find the brand we liked, it was clearly Budweiser, popularly referred to as Bud.Budweiser is a lager made with a proportion of rice as a...

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  • Montezuma's well

    By the way...another part of Montezuma's Castle National Monument is Montezuma Well which is located about 16 km North East of the castle itself.We didn't know this when we visited this beautiful place. We heared it afterwards when we talked about our visit with other people in our hotel in Phoenix. We were sorry about it, because it would have...

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  • I ruthlessly copy this from...

    I ruthlessly copy this from the National Park Service: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....

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