Monday, March 22, 2010

Tuzigoot and Montezuma National Monuments, Sedona, Arizona

There are three National Monuments within minutes of Sedona managed by the National Park Service.  Now the first time we were in the valley I passed on these little gems.  I though that they were just one of those units in the National Park system that were established to help bring tourism dollars to the local economy.  Just like Santa Monica National Recreation Area which is really a county park managed by the National Park Service with federal dollars.

It  was not until we were leaving Sedona that I noticed that two of the monuments were established by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906 and the last by his cousin in 1939.  The monuments and parks established after 1970 tend to be ho hum in many cases,  but find a monument from 1906 or 1939 and you have something special.  Be sure to visit these sites.  I was not going to miss them this time around.

Montezuma's Castle National Monument was established in the very first round of National Monuments way back in 1906.  The picture above is the view of the "lodging" from the trail.  The fee for admission is $5, but with an Access or Age pass it is free as with all National Parks.

Montezuma's Castle has Beaver Creek flowing by the visitor center.  It is a very pretty area, well worth a longer stay than most folks give the area.  So pack some walking shoes and a picnic lunch to see more of this monument.

Just north of the Castle is Montezuma's Well.  Imagine finding a 74 degree lake in the middle of the desert.  Lakefront property was popular even in the 12th century when the Southern Sinagua's lived here.

There is a nice, very short loop trail that goes up and around the lake and parking area with a short spur down the water.

The lake reminded us of the Seep Lakes of eastern Washington.  Our lakes were carved out by floods of biblical proportions about 10,000 years ago.  However, it took the Bureau of Reclamation and Grand Coulee Dam to fill them in the 1950's.  But that is a story for a future blog.

The well is kept full from seepage up from the underground springs.

If you are from eastern Washington and homesick Montezuma's Well will make you feel right at home.

The last National Monument is Tuzigoot which was proclaimed by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1939.  It is just north of Cottonwood and next to Dead Horse State Park.  Which has a campground and is worth a visit in its own right.

As you can see by our clothes and the clouds that pesky El-Nino weather kept following us around Arizona!

This community in it's day was a thriving condominium complex.  It would have been interesting to sit in on the condo meetings from the 12th century!

Here are the web sites for the monuments.  Visit the web site prior to seeing the area in person.  It will make your experience much richer and meaningful.

For Tuzigoot:

For Montezuma's Castle:

For Dead Horse State Park:

Don't forget those boondock sites in the previous blog!

Our goal is to expand this blog into a full blown web-site with much, much more information on exploring our public lands and small towns.  We are going to start publishing on special places on Monday.  Wednesday we will shift to posts similar to our previous wildflower post.  That is useful information that is not tied to one area, but will provide information on how to find your own special spots.  On Friday's we will post information on "stuff" that will make exploring your public lands more interesting.  We will review items such as binoculars, telescopes, maps, GPS units, fishing gear, etc. etc. 

Drop suggestions on the blog comment or e-mail us at  We hope this is the beginning of a long journey with many friends that we have met along the way!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog and have really enjoyed what I've read so far. Used to live in Mt Shasta and the coastal area wasn't anywhere near that expensive in the '70s. Then again when my folks traveled through in mid '60s campgrounds cost from $1.25 - $3.00. More expensive and they wouldn't stay. Looking forward to staying in touch.