Montezumas Castle National Monument
In 1906 Montezuma’s Castle was recognized as a National Monument. The Sinagua culture, a native group survived in this area in the cliff dwelling and in huts along the waterways for centuries, long before Columbus discovered the “new world”. The Verde Valley provided everything they needed to sustain the habitat they lived in. The public has not been allowed inside the Castle for the past 50 plus years. This is due mainly to its age and fragility. Built into a cliff, you will find this 20 room apartment above Beaver Creek. This was not the only structure at that time, however, it is the only one that has survived time. When you look through the windows you are peeking into America’s past and into the best kept cliff dwelling in the US. Built by the Sinagua’s nearly 1,000 years ago it depicts survival and amazing creativity in designing a dwelling to protect them from the blistering desert sun during the day and cool to frigid temperatures at night. At 9am every Sunday Ranger John will guide you through the Montezuma Well which is 11 miles from the Castle. The Well is the result of a collapsed limestone cavern allowing a million plus gallons of water to run through the well daily. The fresh warm water that continuously flows created an aquatic habitat found nowhere else in the world. For thousands of years this well has provided an oasis for humans and the local wildlife. Here you will find animal species you have never seen before. NAU has been researching where the water is coming from and how it maintains its constant and consistent 74 degree temperature. Somewhere deep in the layers of earth lies the secret of this well. As you wander through the winding pre-historic dwellings you will find pueblo ruins and an irrigation ditch over 1,000 years old that is still used today by the locals. In 1933 an excavation crew discovered the Tuzigoot Village, stabilized it and built a museum which holds the Tuzigoot People’s story. Not a lot is known about the Tuzigoot people. They were believed to be hunters and traveled along the Verde Valley. The citadel is said to have possibly house 250 people in its 110 rooms. The size of the city and the number of people caused them to create solutions to problems and learn how to live together and make good choices to survive.
The Montezuma Castle Visitor Center holds the largest displays of ancient Sinagua artifacts, approximately 23,016 items. They were known for their beautiful textiles and pottery. You will find the displays incredible.
There is a lot of walking and the summer temperatures are extreme. Dress appropriately, wear comfortable shoes and bring lots of bottled water to make sure you stay hydrated. Winter temperatures can range between 14 degrees and 45 degrees, a vast difference from the summer temperatures.
Mailing Address: Montezuma Castle National Monument, PO Box 219, Camp Verde, Arizona 86322
Visitor Center Phone: 928-567-3322 – Managed by the National Park Services
Park Headquarters Phone: 928-567-5276 Fax: 928-567-3597
Directions: take the I-17 to exit 289 drive east approximately 1/2 mile to the red traffic light turn left on Montezuma Castle Road.
Hours: June through August 8am to 5pm; September through May 7am to 5pm (Closed on Christmas Day)
Montezuma Castle Admission: Adults 16 and over, $5.00 (good for 7 days) Children under 16 are free
Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments – discounted rate for both together is $8.00 – ask for the pass if you plan to see both parks. There is no admission fee to visit Montezuma’s Well.