Montezuma Castle National Monument

Overview

Gaze through the windows of the past into one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. Nestled into a limestone recess high above the flood plain of Beaver Creek in the Verde Valley stands one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. The five-story, 20-room cliff dwelling served as a "high-rise apartment building" for prehistoric Sinagua Indians over 600 years ago. Early settlers to the area assumed that the imposing structure was associated with the Aztec emperor Montezuma, but the castle was abandoned almost a century before Montezuma was born.

With heightened concern over vandalism of fragile southwestern prehistoric sites, Montezuma Castle became a major factor in the nation's historic preservation movement with its proclamation as a national monument. The Castle was described in the December 1906 establishment proclamation as "of the greatest ethnological and scientific interest." Acreage: 840.86, federal: 16.83, non-federal.

Map

Seasonality / Weather

Open year-round.

Directions

Driving: 

Follow I-17 to exit 289 (90 minutes north of Phoenix, 45 minutes south of Flagstaff). Drive east (through two traffic circles) for approximately 1/2 mile to the blinking red light. Turn left on Montezuma Castle Road.

For Montezuma Well: Follow I-17 to exit 293 (4 miles north of the exit for Montezuma Castle). Continue through the towns of McGuireville and Rimrock, following the signs for four miles to the entrance to the Well. There is no fee to enter Montezuma Well.

Flying: 

Nearest commercial airports are locted in Flagstaff (50 miles), Prescott (55 miles), and Phoenix (100 miles)

Public Transport: 

Tours are available from Flagstaff and some surrounding communities.