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Arizona

Montezuma Castle National Monument near Sedona, AZ

This five-story, 20 room cliff dwelling nestled into a limestone recess high above Beaver Creek served as a "high-rise apartment building" for prehistoric Sinagua Indians over 600 years ago. It is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America.
It's not a castle and Montezuma was never here.
With heightened concern over vandalism of fragile southwestern prehistoric sites, Montezuma Castle became a major factor in the nation's historic preservation movement with its proclamation as a national monument.
Approximately one million visitors come to Montezuma Castle National Monument each year. The heaviest visitation occurs during the spring, while December and January are the slowest times of the year.

Open every day of the year, including Christmas day. Winter hours: 8 AM to 5 PM; Summer hours (May 30th through Labor Day): 8 AM to 6 PM Mountain Standard Time.

Montezuma Castle is located 3 miles off Interstate 17. Use Exit Number 289, 1/2 mile past the Cliff Castle Casino at the traffic light is the access road.

Fees: Per Person $3.00 - 7 Days or use your National Park Pass

Montezuma Well is a detached unit of Montezuma Castle National Monument located approximately 11 miles from the park. Take Exit 293 from I-17 and drive four miles. No entrance fee is charged. There is a one-third mile loop trail that is not recommended for wheelchair use. A lush, shaded picnic area is also located at the Well.
Montezuma Well is a limestone sink formed long ago by the collapse of an immense underground cavern. Over one and a half million gallons of water a day flow continuously, providing a lush, verdant oasis in the midst of surrounding desert grassland. The waters of the well contain several forms of plant and animal life not found in any other waters of the world. This unique habitat is perhaps due to the constant input of large quantities of warm water that enter through underground springs, keeping the environment within the well very stable.
Prehistoric Hohokam and Sinaguan cultures took advantage of this source of water by irrigating crops of corn, beans, squash, and cotton. The rich riparian and surrounding uplands provided wildlife and native plants to supplement the agricultural products. Visitors to the site can still see traces of ancient lime encrusted irrigation ditches from past farming activity.

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Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona
Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona

   
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Source: NPS; photos: magazineUSA.com
Last modified: 20090212
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