- Montezuma Castle National Monument lies nestled into a limestone recess high above the flood plain of Beaver Creek in the Verde Valley stands one of the best preserved cliff ruins in North America. The five-story, 20-room cliff dwelling served as a "high-rise apartment building" for prehistoric Sinagua Indians over 600 years ago. Early settlers to the area assumed that the imposing structure was associated with the Aztec emperor Montezuma, but the castle was abandoned almost a century before Montezuma was born. With heightened concern over vandalism of fragile southwestern prehistoric
Copyright: - US National Park Service
Montezuma Castle National Monument
sites, Montezuma Castle became a major factor in the nation's historic
Recreation - Visitors to Montezuma Castle National Monument can participate in a wide range of activities within the site. The visitor center contains a small museum displaying artifacts that were found on site. Rangers provide information, programs, and assistance.
There is a level, paved hiking and biking trail one third of a mile in length. Wayside exhibits along the self-guided trail describe the cultural and natural history of the site. Rangers are available on the trail and programs are presented when staffing permits. Because summer temperatures can be fatal to pets left in closed vehicles, they are allowed on the self-guided trail while restrained on a leash of no more than six feet in length.
There are no camping facilities at Montezuma Castle, however the surrounding area provides a variety of camping opportunities from U.S. Forest Service and State Park campgrounds to private RV parks. A small picnic area is located at the park, however no ash producing fires are allowed.
Climate - Central Arizona is a very arid part of the United States. Rainfall in the region is less than ten inches per year. You can expect hot summers with temperatures close to or above 95 degrees F. Spring and fall are very pleasant, usually warm temperatures reaching 80 degrees. Winter can be cool, but the lack of moisture in the air makes the temperatures mild.
Montezuma Castle is located in central Arizona between Flagstaff and Phoenix. More accurately the site is 50 miles south of Flagstaff along Highway 17. It lies within the Tonto National Forest.