Results 1-10of 15 Reviews
by Kate Chopin
January 20, 2012
From journal A great weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona
by Red Mezz
Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom
April 8, 2010
From journal The Art and Grace of the Red Rocks of Arizona
London, United Kingdom
December 16, 2007
The Sinagua people were known to have practiced a rudimentary style of irrigation to keep farm plots watered and at the backside of the well, you can explore a 1,000 year old irrigation channel that is still utilized by locals today.
There is no visitor centre at the well but a ranger’s hut at the start of the trail provides leaflets and information. Entrance to the well is free and unlike the trail at Montezuma Castle, the path to the well is fully exposed to the heat of the sun so a hat and sunscreen are probably a good idea for the half-mile loop. The path takes you around and down to the edge of the well. Cliff dwellings are visible at the top of the well and graffiti from 18th century visitors can be seen lower down on rock overhangs. There are additional cave dwellings at the base and indications of Sinagua life, such as fire-blackened roofs that are still visible.
As we ascended back up and around the well, we followed a path that splits off from the main loop and follows the irrigation channel, which is dug into the tranquil, shady cliff side. I wished that the trail followed the water channel further as it really is quite a picturesque scene.
The warm water flowing into the well exits through a cave that empties into the irrigation ditch. The water has a large carbon dioxide content, meaning that while no fish can survive in the well, unique species of leeches are able to live there.
There were far fewer visitors to Montezuma Well than at the Castle, which made for a really relaxing stroll around. It’s not a very hard or long hike down to the well and as long as you have comfortable walking shoes or even sandals, it’s pretty manageable in spite of the steep drop. The steps down are very sturdy and it’s well worth the short hike to see the cave dwellings and different perspective.
After visiting the irrigation channel it’s a short walk through the cacti back to the car park.
From journal Rubies in the Dust: Sedona & the Land of the Sinagua
The word Sinagua comes from the Spanish words, which mean "without water". In the 1100s, the Southern Sinagua farmers began building a five-storey, 20-room cliff dwelling, which explorers later assumed was Aztec, hence the inaccurate naming of Montezuma Castle.
We visited on a mild, sunny November day and I was immediately impressed by the modesty of the visitor’s centre. There are no gaudy signs or high tech audiovisual guides, just a simple historical exhibition and some well placed information plaques as you walk around the grounds.
My in-laws purchased a Golden Passport, which gave my husband and myself free entry to Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot. Even without this luxury, the entrance fee is a very reasonable $5 and the website advises that a discounted rate of $8 is offered for entrance to both the Castle and to Tuzigoot.
We picked up a leaflet, which gives a brief history of the monuments. The short path winds through a leafy garden of sycamore, walnut and mesquite trees on one side, and the burbling Beaver Creek on the other. Within seconds, we were looking up at the Castle (which isn’t technically a castle either), which stands 100 feet above the valley floor. Sadly it isn’t possible to actually enter the monument. It was open to the public up until 1951 but closed due to safety and preservation concerns. On the nps.gov website, there’s a pretty good virtual tour where you can see photos of the interior of the Castle, but standing in its shadow you still get a good idea of the impressive construction feat that it is.
The path follows a loop, where we enjoyed many different vantage points for taking photographs. There are also rangers who occasionally patrol the path and were more than happy to stop and answer questions from inquisitive visitors.
The small but comprehensive visitor centre included an exhibition on the Sinagua people at Montezuma and included beautiful artifacts such as weavings, clothing and jewelry. There’s also a useful diorama along the trail outside that shows a cutaway of the Castle and what life may have been like there during the time it was occupied by the Sinaguan people.
To the left of the main construction are ruins from another pueblo, a smaller 6-storey, 45-room dwelling, which was mostly destroyed by a fire in the late 1400s. The path actually cuts closer to this remain and you get a good look at the foundations of the lower level rooms.
December 28, 2006
From journal National Monuments of the NPS - Arizona (NPS #5)
Heidelberg, Virginia, Germany
May 18, 2006
Background: Montezuma Castle is the ancient dwelling of the prehistoric Sinagua Indians. This group inhabited the castle and the surrounding land by Beaver Creek over 600 years ago. The National Park Services (NPS) claims it is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America.
Fun Fact:The structure, which is five stories high and consists of 20 rooms, was never actually a castle; it was used more like an apartment building. Also, Montezuma never set foot anywhere near the area.
Why you will want to go see it: This is a great side trip for families! Visiting the Montezuma Castle is a short half hour/hour stop. Visitors enter through the park museum, which displays a timeline of world events and an array of tools used by the Sinagua to build the Castle. World travelers will appreciate the timeline that covers concurrent world events; e.g., while the Sinagua were building this structure, the French were building Notre Dame. The Museum also hosts a small gift shop, where you can pick up postcards and get a stamp for your National Park Passport.
To visit the actual Castle you exit the other side of the small museum and follow a short paved trail. The trail has markers providing detail about the area and the Monument. Halfway down the trail you approach the Castle. It is quite imposing from below.
As you continue around the trail you walk along the Beaver Creek and come past a small Castle replica. The National Park service built a replica with an audio system that tells about the Sinagua who inhabited the structure so many years ago. This is a great stop for kids, as it talks about the Sinagua children and their pastimes.
Logistics:The park is open in the summer (May 30 - Labor Day) from 8am until 6pm and in the winter from 8am until 5pm, 7 days a week. A fee of $5 dollars is charged for admission (16 years and under are free). Before you go, be sure to check the NPS website: http://www.nps.gov/moca/index.htm. The NPS has brochures available that suggest day trips to the area and provide more information on the Castle.
Tip:If you arrive 30 minutes or less prior to closing, the fee is waived and you will have adequate time to see the Castle.
How to find it: Montezuma Castle is located 3 miles off Interstate 17. Use Exit 289 and simply follow the signs!
From journal Weekend Escape to Scottsdale, Arizona & the Sedona
Los Angeles (Woodland Hills), California
January 22, 2005
One tip: If you visit Montezuma before going to Sedona, make sure you get books and maps of Sedona at the Montezuma visitors center, where they had the best selection!
From journal Four Days in Sedona
May 9, 2004
From journal Desert Oasis
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
July 29, 2003
From journal Week in Arizona
February 28, 2003
From journal Arizona in February