One of the most well-preserved ruins in North America, the 1,000-year-old Montezuma Castle was once home to ancient farmers known as the Sinagua Indians. Although the majestic ruins were given a “castle” title, they were actually a multi-family cliff dwelling. In 1906, the site was declared one of the United States’ first national monuments.
Many visitors tour Montezuma Castle in Camp Verde on a day trip from Phoenix, Sedona, or Flagstaff. In addition to the ruins themselves, tourists should set aside a few hours to explore the museum, walk the scenic trails, and have lunch along the shore of Beaver Creek. Visitors can focus on the castle and nearby Montezuma Well, or opt for a guided tour to five Arizona national monuments in a single day, including Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well, Tuzigoot, Wupatki, and Sunset Crater National Monuments.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Visit the castle on its own or bundled with other national monuments.
- Dogs are welcome on park trails but must remain on leash.
- The park visitor center and much of the paved trail at the castle are wheelchair accessible.
- Montezuma Castle is at a high elevation in a dry climate—bring a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water.
How to Get There
Montezuma Castle National Monument is located in Northern Arizona off I-17, exit 289 (about 90 minutes north of Phoenix and 45 minutes south of Flagstaff).
When to Get There
The national monument is open daily throughout the year, with the exception of Christmas and New Year’s Day. During the hot summer months, plan your visit in the early morning or early evening.
Just a few miles from the cliff dwelling sits another archaeological site worth visiting, Montezuma Well. This limestone sinkhole is believed to be the remains of the Sinagua’s irrigation system. A half-mile paved trail winds through the site, and it’s an excellent spot to observe local wildlife such as whitetail deer, muskrats, rock squirrels, and some 100 species of birds.