Sedona Area Cliff Dwellings
Montezuma Castle National Monument
Inhabited by the Sinagua people in 1050 CE, the ruins of buildings in Montezuma Castle National Monument is a 5-floor, 20 room cliff dwelling inhabited by multiple families. Cliff dwellings were built into natural caves of cliffs and accessed by ladders. Next door to Montezuma Castle is a 45-room building, which looked larger than Montezuma Castle. This particular location in the cliff was probably chosen because it faces south, keeping warm in winters and cool in summers.
Looking up at the cliff dwellings at Montezuma Castle NM, AZ
The Sinagua people began living in the Verde Valley around 650 CE and continued to live here until 1400 CE. It is not clear why the Sinagua people left in the 1400s.
Montezuma Well is a subunit of Montezuma Castle located 11 miles away. The "well" itself is a limestone sink that is fed by a spring. There are a few cliff dwellings along the rim of the "well". The water in the well contains high levels of arsenic, carbon dioxide and calcium, making it inhospitable for fish to live in. As a result, just a few animals live in it.
Cliff structure overlooking the arsenic containing Montezuma 'Well', AZ
Tuzigoot National Monument
Located at the top of a hill, this ancient pueblo has over 100 rooms. There are very few doorways found, entry was thought to be by ladders and ropes from the roof. Tuzigoot is thought to have housed several hundred people. The inhabitants of Tuzigoot are thought to have left the site around the 1300's, after having lived there for several hundred years.
Strolling along the hilltop village ruins of Tuzigoot, AZ
|Features:||Marvel at the architecture left behind by the Sinagua people of 1000 years ago.|
Montezuma Castle: Short hike on paved trail passing under the cliff "castles"
Montezuma Well: Short uphill hike to the edge of the "well", then downhill on somewhat uneven terrain to go to the shore of the "well". The trail continues to make a loop to pass by the Outlet Trail (closed at time of visit) then back to the parking lot.
Tuzigoot: Short walk of less than ½ mile to the pueblo site on the hill. Other short hikes to the neighboring marshes.
|Entrance Fees:||$10/person over 16 years old for entrance into Montezuma Castle NM and Tuzigoot NM, valid for 7 days. Free for 15 years old and under. Free for 3 person over 16 years old with National Parks Annual Interagency Pass.|
|Website:||For updated information, check Montezuma Castle & Tuzigoot NM|
Honanki Heritage Site
Active between 1150 and 1350 AD, this cliff dwelling along with it's sister dwelling, Palatki, were considered the largest cliff dwellings found in Red Rock Country. The Sinagua, ancestors of the Hopi, lived here and raised their families. We were not able to visit neighboring Palatki since it was closed due to Covid pandemic.
At the base of Honanki Cliff Dwellings, near Sedona, AZ
At Honanki, we followed the "Discovery Trail" route not too far from the entrance. It led us to a rocky undulating short trail which eventually opened up to the base of the cliff dwellings. It was a nice surprise at the end of our short hike. We looped back to our car via the alternative to the "Discovery Trail" route. We saw groups of visitors coming by jeep tour on our visit.
|Our Hike:||A short hike via the rocky "Discovery Trail" and looping back via the regular trail, less than 1 mile|
|Features:||Marvel at the remains of an almost 1000 year old Native American cliff village|
|Directions:||A rough 9 mile drive on potholed unpaved road from highway 89A. The alternate way from Sedona may be slightly shorter on the unpaved portion. Road may be impassable when wet. High clearance is probably necessary.|
|Fees:||$5/day/vehicle or free with National Parks Annual Pass or Red Rock Pass|
|Website:||For updated information, check Honanki Heritage Site|