Sunday, December 1, 2013



For those people like me who need a navigator to get where they want to go, Montezuma Castle has no physical address. I used  latitude and longitude (N 34*36'46' W 111*50'24') I got there with no problems.

Entrance fee $5 a person, but we used our National Park Pass and got in free. This pass has came in handy and we'll be sure to renew it for next season. Inside there is a small museum and shop. Parking is very limited. As you walk out the back door to make your way around the park it will not take long before you see Montezuma Castle cliff dwelling. The walk is easy for anyone at any age with flat paved trail and 1/3 mile long. For dog lovers, they allow dog as we saw many owners walking their dogs.

The castle was carved into the side of the limestone cliff. It took three set of ladders to climb Montezuma Castle which made it incredibly difficult for enemy tribes to penetrate the natural defense of the vertical barrier. There are three dwelling to see, but only one still stands fully built. When the area became a National Monument in 1906 it was one of the four original sites designated by President Theodore Roosevelt. From 1906 until 1951 (completion of I-17 being built) brave and welling visitors could climb the ladders to see inside the cliff dwelling. Now, visitors can only see models and historical photos of the inside. 

One exit North on I-17 and 11 miles later you can arrive at Montezuma Well. I did not need my navigator for this trip. As you enter the NM there is a Pit House Ruin just off the main road. Fee is free and parking is limited here too. The walk is 1/3 mile from the parking lot to the top of the well. There are paths, but climbing up and down hill sides and if you want you can climb to the bottom of the well with narrow rock path.

Montezuma Well is a detachment of Montezuma Castle NM. Over one million gallons (five million L) of water flows through two underground springs. The well measures 368 feet (112 m) across and 55 feet (17 m) deep. Montezuma Well has proven to stand the test of time as it has been used for irrigation since the 8th century. The well holds no fish, however the well has most endemic species in any springs in the Southwestern United States where diatom, springtail, water scorpion, amphipod, fresh water leech and the Montezuma Well springsnail all call home. You can also see cliff dwellings along the ridge of the well. 

On the way back to the RV park we stopped at Sunset Point rest stop to admire the nice view of the sun setting over the mountains.

There are a lot of National Parks in Arizona and California that are within a three hour drive of us. We will try and see more parks to check off our list and share the adventure with you in this blog.

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