It's not a castle and Montezuma was never here. Nestled
into a limestone recess high above the flood plain of Beaver Creek in
the Verde Valley stands one of the best preserved cliff dwellings 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
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 sites. Montezuma Castle became a major factor in the nation's historic preservation movement with its proclamation as a national monument. The Castle was described in the December 1906 establishment proclamation as "of the greatest ethnological and scientific interest." Acreage: 840.86, federal: 16.83, non-federal.
The monument is a very pretty place to visit, especially during the summer... great place to escape the heat of Phoenix. It is also a good side trip on a day excursion up to Sedona and Jerome... along with stopping at Montezuma's Well. It is a pleasant walk from the visitor center to the viewing area of the cliff dwellings. Dont expect to spend more than 30-60 minutes from the highway to see this monument, not more than 1 mile of hiking and you've seen it all.
Basic Information for Montezuma Castle
Operating Hours, Seasons
Open every day of the year, including Christmas day. Winter hours: 8 AM to 5 PM; Summer hours: 8 AM to 7 PM.
PLANE - Nearest commercial airports are locted in Flagstaff (50 miles), Prescott (55 miles), and Phoenix (100 miles)
CAR - Montezuma Castle is located 3 miles off Interstate
17. Use Exit Number 289 and follow signs.
Weather & Climate
Summers generally hot and dry, with mild winters. It is possible to get snow during the winter, but mostly bright blue skies, with highs in the 50's and 60's.
The visitor center and most of the paved trail are accessible to wheelchairs. A portion of the Castle trail is too steep for wheelchairs and is marked with a sign. The picnic area is not accessible to wheelchairs. Please contact a ranger for more information. Audio cassettes and braille text are avaialble for the visually impaired.
Camping at Montezuma Castle National Monument
No camping within the park, but is available in nearby National Forest land.
Activities and More Information on Montezuma
Castle National Monument
There is a level, paved trail 1/3 of a mile in length. Wayside exhibits along the self-guiding trail describe the cultural and natural history of the site. A diorama/audio program depicts the interior view of the cliff dwellings. Rangers are available on the trail and programs are presented when staffing permits.
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