Montezuma's Castle National Monument
Home of Prehistoric Sinagua Indians
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
Rates & Fees
Entrance Fee: Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments $10/person, good at both monuments - that means only one fee now! An annual pass will be added for $30, also good at both monuments. Montezuma Well will remain free.
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.
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.
Camp Verde, AZ 86322
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