Montezuma Castle National Monument: Camp Verde, Arizona - PassPorter.com
PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks
Home Florida - Walt Disney World Caribbean - Disney Cruise Line California - Disneyland Resort Anywhere and Everywhere! Travelers Store Message Boards PassPorter's Club Help!
  About Us  |  Customs Office   |   Register Your Book   |   Book Updates   |  Newsletter  |  Articles  |  Photos  |   Follow Us on
       LINKS
       ARTICLES
Globetrotting Planning Articles

Globetrotting Traveling Articles

Globetrotting Lodging Articles

Globetrotting Touring Articles

Globetrotting Dining Articles

Globetrotting Making Magic Articles

Globetrotting General Travel Articles
12 Tips to Hotel Bliss
Assateague Island National Seashore
Back To Barcelona
Bellagio of Las Vegas
Bonaire, Antilles
Cairo, Egypt
Cape Cod
Carcassonne, France
Carlsbad Caverns
Chateau de Chenonceau
Chicago
Chincoteague, Virginia
Costa Blanca
Discovery Cove
Disney on Broadway
Disney's Magical Express
Disneyland Paris
Dominica
Eurotunnel
Exploring Chicago's Museums
Flying Premium Economy
Geneva, Switzerland
Gloucester, Massachusetts
Grotte de Pech-Merle, France
Harvard University
Hastings, England
Hersheypark
Hersheypark, Pennsylvania
Hever Castle
Hiroshima, Japan
Hong Kong Disneyland Celebrates
Japan
Kauai, Hawaii
Kennedy Space Center
Key West
Lake Constance, Switzerland
Lake Powell
Lake Thunersee, Switzerland
Learning the Language
London, England
Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania
Making Your Way by Ferry to the Magic in Disneyland Paris
Managing Memories
Miami, Florida
Montezuma Castle National Monument
Montserrat, Spain
More of Hilton Head Island
Mount Fuji & Hakone, Japan
My Quest for the West
New Orleans Revisited
Nikko, Japan
One Place is Never Enough!
Palacio Real
Palm Beach, Florida
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Portsmouth, England
Rocamadour, France
Sardinia
Seattle, Washington
Serendipity 3 in New York City
St. Paul's Cathedral, London
Star Wars in Concert
Taking to the Road
The 'Other' Jersey
The Billie Swamp Safari Park
The Egyptian Museum
The Gardens of Versailles
The Green Heart of the Big Apple
The Manatee Tour
The Palace of Versailles
The Pyramids of Giza
The Walt Disney Family Museum
Tired, Tried And True
Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo DisneySea
Tokyo, Japan
Traveling the Northern Oregon Coast
Valencia, Spain
Valley of Fire
Viewing Cities From Above
Visiting the French Alps
Willcox, Arizona
Wimbledon Tennis Museum
You Don't Have to Cruise to See Alaska
Zurich, Switzerland

View all PassPorter articles
PassPorter's
Article Tools
Print Article
Download PDF
View Photos
Visit Forum
Read Comments on This Article

Montezuma Castle National Monument: Camp Verde, Arizona

U.S. Travel photo
by Terri Sellers, PassPorter Message Board Guide (Moderator)
Last modified 01-24-2011
  

Cool Tip: Click here to get a FREE PDF version of this article, fully formatted to print and put into your PassPorter Deluxe Binder!


Filed in Articles > U.S. Travel > General Travel  

Montezuma Castle National Monument is located in Camp Verde, Arizona, about 90 minutes north of Phoenix and 45 minutes south of Flagstaff on I-17, at exit 289. The Monument was dedicated in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt to protect one of the best-preserved cave dwelling sites in the entire United States and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 


The National Monument consists of two separate sites located within five miles of each other, the Castle, and Montezuma Well. The castle site is five stories in height and was a multi-story "apartment complex." The  other site's name is actually a mistake. The first non-Indians who saw the ruins assumed they were built by Aztecs, and named it after the Aztec king, Montezuma. We now know that it was not built by Aztecs, but by the Sinagua (sin-a-gwa) Indians that lived there more than 900 years ago. The site was abandoned about 600 years ago for unknown reasons.

When you enter the park, first stop and visit the Visitor's Center. There is an interpretive center here with detailed information on the monument and its history, as well as the Sinagua, their lives in at the site, and the plants and animals that you might see while you visit. Park rangers are here to answer any questions and there is a small bookstore with books, DVDs, stuffed animals and other souvenirs. All entrance fees and profits from the bookstore go back to maintaining the sites. Ranger talks are also offered on a variety of subjects throughout the day. These vary by season, check with the Visitor's Center for more details. One fun thing that we do is to collect passport stamp cancellations from each National Park and Monument we visit. At nearly all of the 394 American National Parks and Monuments (and many of the National Park Service's affiliated areas), one or more National Park Passport stamps can be acquired at no cost at park visitor centers and ranger stations. The stamps are similar in nature to a passport stamp stamped in a traveler's national passport. The stamps serve as a record of each park visit and are a fun way to remember our trips. You can purchase your passport book at any National Park or Monument bookstore for about $10.00.

After you leave the Visitor's Center walk back along the paved, ¼ mile trail from the center to the base of the cliff where the Castle ruin is. Before 1953, visitors were allowed to climb a ladder and actually enter the ruins, however, due to the adverse effects of so many people entering the ruins, it was decided to close them from future visitation to protect them. The path is a very easy walk and paved for ease of access by people of all mobility levels. The path passes in front of the castle, and to the base of the cliff where a smaller ruin called "Castle A" is located. Guests can get very close to the Castle A site. The path then curves toward Beaver Creek through a large grove of sycamore trees. This was an area that the Sinagua had fields and grew a variety of crops including corn and squash.



Montezuma Castle - Distant shot photo
Montezuma Castle - Distant shot

Photos from Montezuma castle and Montezuma Well National Monument. - photo by DrDolphin

After viewing the castle site, get back in your car and head about 4-miles north on I-17 to exit 293. Follow the signs for Montezuma Well. This is a pre-historic sinkhole that is filled with water by two artesian springs that remains at 74 degrees year-round, and has been the site of Native American culture in the area for about 1,000 years. It’s not hard to understand why – in the hot Arizona summer 74 degrees would be pretty refreshing, and in the cold winters (it was in the 30s when we visited in January), it would be nice and warm. The springs pump out about 1.4 million gallons of water a day. The water has low oxygen levels, so no fish can live there, but some things have learned to live in the water, including some species that are only found at the well site. There is a large diversity of wildlife that use the well including many species of birds and some reptiles. I was happy we were visiting in January and these same reptiles were happily hibernating underground. My snake-loving husband was less happy.

When you enter the well site, first you will pass by "The Pithouse" ruin. Before the Sinagua became efficient pueblo builders, they dug down into the ground to create communal living areas called "pit houses." These had dirt floors, and walls and roofs made of plant material. The Park Service has built a structure over the ruins to protect it from the elements.

After visiting the pithouse, continue on the road to the main well site. The trails here are paved, but have many uneven stairs and the ascent to the well site is steep. Montezuma Well is a sort of Crater Lake at the top of a hill, and it's huge. From 900 to 1400 A.D. it supported a community of over 200 Sinagua people. Built into the well's rock walls are the cliff dwellings typical of Sinagua civilization. There is a perimeter trail that circles about ¾ of the top of the crater, and a steep trail of rock stairs that descend into the well's crater to the water's edge. Look up at the walls of the crater from down here and you can see more of the cliff dwellings inside the crater. There are also at least two small ruins near the water's edge that you can see, but not enter.

After climbing back out of the well, follow the “well outlet” signs to see an amazing engineering feat. Montezuma Well's outflow has been used for irrigation since the 8th century. Part of a prehistoric canal is preserved at the picnic ground, and portions of the original Sinagua canal are still in use today. Water flows from the well through an underwater "relief valve" and the Sinagua harnessed this relief valve by digging a half-mile-long canal to water their crops.

Visiting Montezuma Castle (and Well) National Monument is an enjoyable, educational 2-3 hour trip that is low cost for the whole family, with lots to see and do. The $5.00 per person fee is good for up to seven days, and covers entrance to both parts of the Monument. We chose to visit in the winter when crowds are lowest, but the sites are open year round (except Christmas Day) and the change in seasons will also bring changes at each location as different plants and animals will be out and about for the nature enthusiast to see.


Montezuma Castle - Zoomed in photo
Montezuma Castle - Zoomed in

Photos from Montezuma castle and Montezuma Well National Monument. - photo by DrDolphin




About the Author:
Terri is a Passporter Message Board Co-Guide for the Globetrotting; Disney Cruise trip report; central Florida and Running at Disney World forums. She and her husband Chris are planning their next Disney cruise in March 2011 aboard the Dream for their first anniversary.

Related Links:
Serendipity 3 in New York City - A Dining Review last updated 12/29/2008
Hong Kong Disneyland Celebrates - A New Year In A New Disney Park last updated 12/18/2008
Valencia, Spain - Travel Tips last updated 11/27/2008
Bellagio of Las Vegas - Simply Bellissimo! last updated 1/08/2009
Hever Castle - Kent, England last updated 1/15/2009




Reader Comments:


Excellent and descriptive article.

We visited Montezuma Castle during our Adventures By Disney tour--Southwest Splendors--summer of 2009.

I highly recommend Adventures By Disney!

     toddjodybrent on January 26, 2011 @ 5:53 pm
This is an extremely well written, accurate article! smiley for :waytogo: I live in Phoenix, and have driven by Montezuma Castle many times. Our family stopped one time on the way home from Prescott, and we loved it! It was peaceful, beautiful, and truly amazing to see what the ingenous Indians were able to accomplish WAY before technology. I was disappointed that we weren't able to actually go inside of Montezuma Castle; however, it really is worth the visit if you get the chance! smiley for :D

     ilovedisney0_0 on January 27, 2011 @ 11:22 am
Having visited the Castle and Well before, I totally agree it is a great place to visit and see how people lived centuries ago. Having read your article, I see there are enough things I missed the first visit to warrant a second visit in the future.

Thanks for a very good review, Terri. smiley for :D

     Kenny on January 28, 2011 @ 7:45 am
View all 3 comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)




Updated 01-24-2011 - Article #571 



Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  

-HTML

 
 

We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2014
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

       SEARCH
       LEARN MORE
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


 

RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Globetrotting: General Travel Planning
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Planning a trip around the globe, or just away for the weekend? Ask questions and share experiences! Forum Sponsored by CruisingCo.com


Cape Cod or Maine Coast-Which would you do?
by Huntermom
13 Apr 2014 at 7:42pm
I am thinking of getting a rental house for a week this summer and inviting my son and his wife and infant as well as my sister and her husband...
(click title above to view replies)

Park,ride and stay logan
by Huntermom
9 Apr 2014 at 7:02pm
I have a 6:30 am flight out of Logan in JUne. I am going to Houston for 8 days and am wondering if I should look into a hotel that provides parking...
(click title above to view replies)

Vegas hotel help
by Katie
5 Apr 2014 at 7:53pm
I know I've asked this before but couldn't find my post so... We will be staying in Vegas for one night on our way to California. The kids want to...
(click title above to view replies)

London in June Recs
by buckysmom
1 Apr 2014 at 1:40pm
DD (13)is attending a summer school in St Andrews in July so since we're already paying Delta the exorbitant fare, we're going to spend 5 nights in...
(click title above to view replies)

Sanibel Island, Florida
by KathyL
30 Mar 2014 at 6:17pm
We are considering taking a trip to Sanibel Island late this year or early the following year (December/January). Does anyone have any great...
(click title above to view replies)

Must See's in New Orleans?
by B.M.
30 Mar 2014 at 1:18pm
In a few weeks, I will be spending a day in New Orleans with 3 teenagers, an eleven year old, and a seven year old. I'm looking to do about a...
(click title above to view replies)

Eating in DC
by DebbieG
25 Mar 2014 at 10:37am
I will be in DC for 3 days and 2 nights, most likely staying at the Holiday Inn on C street, just behind the Air and Space Museum. Since we will be...
(click title above to view replies)



Total Visits: 5142


PassPorter ~ 1998-2014 ~ 16 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Press
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
Guidebooks
About
Previews
Buy
Reviews
Updates
Features
News & Updates
Articles
Podcasts
Photos
Message Boards
Newsletter
Concierge Desk
Desktop
Trips
Books & E-Books
Tips
Settings
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Contests
Checklists
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube Channel
Questions? Please visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.