Montezuma's Castle National Monument

Home of Prehistoric Sinagua Indians

Montezuma's Castle

Nestled into a limestone recess high above the flood plain of Beaver Creek in the Verde Valley, stands one of the best preserved and most easily accessible cliff ruins in North America. This 5-story, 20-room cliff dwelling served as a "high-rise apartment building" for prehistoric Sinagua Indians more than 600 years ago.

Early settlers to the area assumed that the imposing structure was connected to the Aztec emperor Montezuma, but this "castle" was abandoned almost a century before Montezuma was born.


Overview | Climate/Map | Description | Things to do | Camping/Lodging | Nearby

General Information

Rates & Fees

Entrance Fee: $5.00 per person, children 16 and younger are admitted free of charge. Golden Passports have been discontinued and replaced by the America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass– Senior Pass.

Visitor Center

Hours: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.


The Visitor Center contains a small museum displaying artifacts. Southwest Parks and Monuments Association runs a small bookstore in the Visitor Center.

Programs & Events
Wayside exhibits, found along the self-guiding trail describe the cultural and natural history of the area. The trail is a paved, level sidewalk just over 1/3 of a mile in length. A diorama/audio program depicts the interior view of the castle. Rangers are available on the trail and programs are presented when staffing permits.

There are no food or supplies within the monument. Overnight accommodations, food, supplies and gasoline are available in downtown Campe Verde, 4 miles south.

The Visitor Center and paved sidewalk are fully accessible to wheelchairs.


Click here for PDF

Montezuma Castle, comprising 840 acres, is located approximately within the town of Camp Verde, 50 miles south of Flagstaff and 90 miles north of Phoenix, Arizona. It can be reached by taking Exit 289 off I-17 and following the signs 3 miles to the Visitor Center parking lot.


Summers are generally hot and dry, with somewhat mild winters.

Things To Do

Montezuma Well is an added section to Montezuma Castle National Monument. The unit preserves a large, spring-fed limestone sinkhole and prehistoric ruins that remain from early Hohokam and Sinagua occupation. Both cultures lived at the site and irrigated their crops with the water from the well. Remains of their ancient irrigation canals can still be seen.

No entrance fee is charged. The well is located approximately 11 miles from Montezuma Castle. Take Exit 293 from I-17 and drive four miles. There is a 1/3-mile loop trail that is not recommended for wheelchair use. Click here for trail map PDF.

Camping & Lodging


There is no lodging in the monument. Numerous hotels and motels are located in and around Camp Verde and Sedona, AZ within 25 miles.


There is no camping in the Monument. U.S. Forest Service and private campgrounds are located in and throughout the area, including Oak Creek Canyon.

Precautions, Rules, Regulations

It is the visitor's responsibility to know and obey park rules. Regulations are designed for visitors' protection and to protect natural resources.

  • All vehicles, including bicycles, must remain on designated roadways. Always use designated parking areas, never stop in the roadway.
  • Observe posted speed limits - park roads are not designed for speed. Enjoy the scenery safely. Slow down at dawn and dusk and watch for animals.
  • Buckle up. Seat belts are required by law.
  • Do not feed wildlife. Avoid contact with rodents. The white-footed deer mouse is a carrier of hantavirus and prairie dogs can carry plague.
  • Poisonous snakes and insects are common but not aggressive. Keep a safe distance. This is their home and they are protected.
  • All natural resources, animals, plants, and rocks are protected. Look, but do not take.
  • Hunting and the possession of firearms is prohibited within the Monument.
  • Due to the extreme temperatures experienced in the park, dogs are welcome on the trails at both Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well. If you visit during the summer months, please do not leave your dog in your parked vehicle. Even with the windows rolled down slightly, temperatures inside a locked car can climb to over 140 degrees!
  • However, all dogs must remain on a leash (no longer than 6 feet) and under control at all times. Pet owners are required to clean up after their dogs and prevent them from harming park plants and wildlife. Dogs are not allowed inside the visitor center at Montezuma Castle.

Box 219
Camp Verde, AZ 86322


Share this page on Facebook:

DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)

The Desert Environment
The North American Deserts
Desert Geological Terms



Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
The movie Stagecoach, in 1939 introduced two stars to the American public, John Wayne, and Monument Valley. Visiting Monument Valley gives you a spiritual and uplifting experience that few places on earth can duplicate. Take a look at this spectacular scenery in this DesertUSA video.

Glen Canyon Dam - Lake Powell Held behind the Bureau of Reclamation's Glen Canyon Dam, waters of the Colorado River and tributaries are backed up almost 186 miles, forming Lake Powell. The dam was completed in 1963. Take a look at this tremendous feat of engineering - the Glen Canyon Dam.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyon de Chelly NM offers the opportunity to learn about Southwestern Indian history from the earliest Anasazi to the Navajo Indians who live and farm here today. Its primary attractions are ruins of Indian villages built between 350 and 1300 AD at the base of sheer red cliffs and in canyon wall caves.

Laughlin - Lake Mohave - Colorado River
In the summer, Katherine's Landing at the southern end of Lake Mohave is a hub of activity. It has fuel, a general store, a restaurant and a snack bar. The Colorado River south of the dam offers many recreational opportunities. Take a look at this river destination!


Take a look at our Animals index page to find information about all kinds of birds, snakes, mammals, spiders and more!

Hot temperatures in the desertAre you interested in the temperatures in the desert?

Click here to see current desert temperatures!

DesertUSA is a comprehensive resource about the North American deserts and Southwest destinations. Learn about desert biomes while you discover how desert plants and animals learn to adapt to the harsh desert environment. Find travel information about national parks, state parks, BLM land, and Southwest cities and towns located in or near the desert regions of the United States. Access maps and information about the Sonoran Desert, Mojave Desert, Great Basin Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert.

Copyright © 1996-2016 and Digital West Media, Inc. - -