Montezuma’s Castle

If you are interested in the historical side of Arizona, be sure to visit Montezuma’s Castle. Perched high on the limestone, canyon wall, this ancient rui

Perched high on the side of the canyon wall, the Sinagua made their homes in the Verde Valley. The first permanent settlers in the area were the Hohokam. When the Hohokam moved north, the Sinagua are believed to have migrated into the area around 1125. The society flourished and the Sinagua began building large pueblos often on hilltops or on easily defensible cliffsides. Somewhere around the early 1400’s, the Sinagua abandoned their pueblos possibly due to dwindling natural resources, disease, change in the weather patterns or perhaps even changes in religious beliefs. The Sinagua were a hunter-gather tribe. In addition, they were good craftsmen creating beautiful pottery, tools and woven garments.

Montezumas Castle was built from limestone and is well protected from the elements. The dwelling is a 5-story, 20 room structure that stands in a cliff recess 100 feet above the valley floor. The monument is one of the best preserved prehistoric cliff dwellings in the United States. The park was dedicated as a national historic site in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. It was closed to public access in 1951 and has been reinforced and stabilized to slow the slow erosion taking place of the pueblo walls and prevent collapse. A flat, easy to navigate trail takes visitors on a 20-30 minute walk around the historic  area. There are many benches and good photo opportunities to get different views of the cliff dwellings from many parts of the trail. Rangers are often on hand to provide additional information and there is a large shaded pavilion where talks are often taking place during visiting hours.  The monument is open 8 A.M. to 6 P.M., 7 days per week. During winter the park closes at 5 P.M. Cost is $15.00 for adults with no charge for children under 15. You can also purchase a ticket that includes a visit to Tuzigoot, another ancient Sinagua settlement for $8.00 per person. Tickets are valid for a seven day period.  Pets on leashes are allowed on the park grounds.

n of the Sinagua Indians dates from somewhere around the early 1400’s. The monument, located north of Phoenix on I-17  is open daily and offers tours and ranger talks on the historical past of this beautiful and interesting area. It is definitely a place not to miss on your way to or from the Phoenix area.