on December 28, 2006
Wupatki National Monument is located just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona and pays tribute to the pueblo people of the Colorado Plateau near the Little Colorado River. There is a 35 mile loop road that cuts through the park. There are several remains of pueblo ruins within the park, although the largest and most well preserved is the Wupatki Pueblo for which the park is named.The Wupatki Pueblo had over 100 rooms, with a beautiful view over the painted Arizona desert. Most pueblos in this area were more like single family dwellings, but it is believed that the multi-level Wupatki Pueblo housed several families when built in the 1100s. With the rumblings of the nearby volcano, it is believed that the people left this area in early 1064 before the eruption of 1064-1065.The people later returned and resumed their farming endeavors thanks largely to the improved soil made possible by the volcanic ash. The native people of the area again left Wupatki after then volcanic eruption of 1180. Because of the harsh environment, few stayed or returned to the high deserts of the Colorado Plateau. Those who did had to be adaptive and innovative in order to survive.There are several pueblos here at Wupatki NM, all within an easy walk from the main road and adjacent parking lots. If you are interested in seeing the largest Wupatki is fortunately also the closest to the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and is about a 45 minute drive from the main visitor center there. If you are up for the full loop road tour of Wupatki NM, plan on taking a couple of hours to stop and see the Wukoki, Lomaki, Citadel, and Nalakihu Pueblo ruins. During our visit we did go to the Wukoki Pueblo ruins, but the Citadel was closed for refurbishing. All of the ruins have storyboards telling of the people and their lives, plus artists’ renditions of what the area is believed to have looked like at the time when these stone dwellings were occupied.
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