Montezuma Castle National Monument

Location: Camp Verde, Arizona
Date: December 11, 2013

Montezuma Castle

Montezuma Castle is the name given to one of the pueblos above Beaver Creek near Camp Verde, Arizona. The pueblo was built into the cliffs above the creek beginning around 700 CE, and it was occupied until 1425. The five-story pueblo is the best-preserved structure at the site, which includes several other ruins to its side and along the base of the cliff. Visitors are not permitted to enter any of these structures, but a short, flat, and paved trail goes from the visitor center to the base of the cliff where you can easily view the ruins.

Ruins near Montezuma Castle

About 11 miles northeast of Montezuma Castle is Montezuma Well, a section of the national monument  that is a natural limestone sinkhole. The sinkhole is 368 feet across, 55 feet deep, and is a filled by 1.4 million gallons of water that pass through it each day from two springs. Five species are endemic to the well, thus being found nowhere else in the world. A loop trial goes from the parking lot up to the rim of the well where a spur goes down into the well. From this spur you can more closely view some of the well's ruins, its wildlife, and the point were the water flows out from the well through the ground.

Montezuma Well

Ruins above Montezuma Well

The loop trail continues along part of the rim past a few ruins before turning downhill where it reaches another spur. This spur goes to the point where to water flows out from the well above the stream below. Here there are remains of a canal system dating to the 8th century built to transport the water from the well to nearby agricultural fields. The trail then returns to the trailhead. The remains of a pithouse are visible along the entrance road to Montezuma Well.

Canal with the outflow from the well in the background

Part of the canal

Ruins above Montezuma Well

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.


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