Only fifty miles east of Prescott, Arizona, is an ancient wonder of the Sinagua people;
Montezuma Castle National Monument. From approximately 1100 to 1400 CE
the Sinagua people inhabited and thrived in this region. It is an easy day
trip from Phoenix or Northern Arizona, and can be combined with several other interesting stops in
Montezuma Castle was originally thought to be built by Montezuma, hence the
name. But, it was actually built by the Southern Sinagua people, who lived there for about 300
years before disappearing. The main structure is the rooms built into the side of the limestone
hill. People are no longer allowed to go into the structure, but you can see the amazing structure
easily from several places along the walking path.
Along with the main castle ruins, there are remnants of a structure
that was supposedly much larger than the main ruins. You can actually walk right up
and almost into them, which really gives you an up-close look at the construction. We
don’t claim to be birders, but we enjoyed seeing the cliff swallow nests in this area, which are
pretty cool, strange nests.
The 1/3 mile loop trail is paved and easily accessible. We had both a
stroller and wheelchair on our last visit and it was super easy to navigate the self-guided walking
tour. There are ranger talks available, and you just need to check times at the ranger
station each day.
The little kids participated in the Jr Ranger Program bingo game. They
enjoyed it tremendously and loved being sworn in for their badge.
Take a few minutes to check out the little museum inside the ranger station. It gives a
good overview of the ancient Sinagua people and supplements the information on the trail
signs. It was neat to see how much smaller the people were during that time. They also have a nice
little gift shop to support the park.
Outside of the ranger station there are bathrooms and a really nice
picnic area. You do not need to pay to use the restrooms and picnic area, since they are on the
Overall, this is a pretty quick stop, so it’s well worth a little detour if you are in
You can find Montezuma Castle National Monument at:
2800 Montezuma CastleRoad Camp Verde,