Montezuma Castle – A Part Of Arizona’s History
You made it to the forty-eighth state of Arizona and now you decided to see what it has to offer with Montezuma’s Castle. Wise decision you made since we have some amazing sunsets, out of this world natural wonders, and a history that inspires Hollywood movies to be made.
A large part of Arizona’s history has deep roots with Native American tribes. Some have come and gone like the Sinagua people who left traces in the form of cliff dwellings. Stop by the Montezuma Castle National Monument to see more about these early settlers and their culture. An easy stop on the way to Sedona or the Grand Canyon for anyone who wants to take a look into the past.
What Is Montezuma Castle
The Sinagua famers were the first ones to jump on the Arizona band wagon of building five stories buildings. In fact, their five story dwelling, was built on the side of a cliff. This was accomplished between 1100 and 1300 A.D..
Wonder why they named it Montezuma? It all comes down to early Americans mistaking it for Aztec orgin and thus named it accordingly. Want to know more, then go check out the National Park Service website.
What To Expect
Not a lot of crowds. Yes, you heard me right. This is one destination that very rarely will you ever see a huge crowd, which makes it perfect to visit. In todays world, it can be hard to find a destination that dose not suffer from crowds.
Summer season is when you will experience the dry heat we are known for. In addition, this season is also Monsoon season, where you can experience haboos and micro burst of rain. Always check weather reports beforehand. The other seasons are actually very nice to visit during.
Unlike the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings, you cannot climb up to see the Montezuma dwellings. What they do offer is a paved path that’s easy for all ages to walk. Along the way, take a look at the different signs, they will teach you about the history. If you have kids, then make sure to grab a Junior Ranger workbook at the visitor’s center.
How To Get There
If you plan on driving from Phoenix, then take the I-17 North. The drive will take less than 2 hours. Take exit 289, toward the Montezuma Castle National Monument. Turn right on West Middle Verde Rd till you come to Montezuma Castle Road, where you will need to turn left. Within a few minutes you will be at the parking lot.
Coming the other direction from Flagstaff, then the drive is only going to take less than 1 hour. Instead, take I-17 South and exit 289, onto Middle Verde Road. From here just follow the directions to the castle.
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Have an America The Beautiful Pass from the National Parks Service, then you are in luck. This is one of the over 2,000 federal recreation sites that the pass allows entry into. If you are planning on seeing a few other destinations, then this is the cost affective way to go.
In fact, we ended up buying a $80 annual pass to get into the Grand Canyon Park. Since then, we have use it at many other sites. It is worth buying one if you haven’t already.
Furthermore, the best time to visit to avoid the heat is during the fall season or spring. The springtime will see an increase in visitors since Phoenix holds spring training, Barrett Jackson Auction, and the Phoenix Open to name few.
Try These Other Destinations
Tuzigoot National Monument
Another Sinagua village that you can view is located east of Montezuma Castle. This history site was known to house 50 people in their two story pueblo for around 100 years. Make sure to check out the Tuzigoot visitor center for more exhibits on the Sinagua people.
This is exactly as the name describes, it is a limestone sinkhole that filled with water a long time ago and became a well. From it, the Sinagua people were able to irrigate their crops. Water is life in the desert and they were able to manage it due to this blessing. Along the water you will see more of their dwellings. It is a short drive north of the Montezuma Castle.
Sedona Red Rock State Park
Red Rock State Park is a special place in Sedona, that people from all over the world visit. This place offers visitors hiking, biking, off road adventures, and a natural water park, known as Slide Rock State Park. Sedona is also known as a vortex for those that come for meditation. It is a place of majestic beauty that everyone should visit at least once in their lives.
Jerome Haunted Hotel
Close by is the famous Jerome Grand Hotel, which is considered to be haunted. The building was opened in the 1920’s as the United Verde Hospital. This area was big on mining copper, which is still being mined in a few towns, like Bagdad, Arizona. They also offer tours for those that are just passing through.
In addition, you can visit the Gold King Mine Ghost Town that is also located in Jerome. This town was created after finding gold in a 1,270 foot shaft. Sadly, like most mining towns, once the mine dried up so did the town. Now you can visit a part of Arizona’s past and try your hand at gold panning.
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Have you visited Montezuma Castle? Did you enjoy yourself and is there anything you would recommend? Have any other activities or places we should see, let us know in the comments section. From Phoenix? Hi neighbored! Thanks for taking a look at our site and don’t forget to subscribe for future articles and tips.
The information on this website has come from research and by experiencing it ourselves. Opening hours, closures, prices, etc. are always subject to change. We try to keep up to date on any new information, or tips to help make your adventure more enjoyable.