Camp Verde Travel Blog› entry 4 of 4 › view all entries
On our way back down to Phoenix, we stopped to visit Montezuma Castle National Monument. Mistakenly thought to be Aztec-built, this dwelling nestled in the limestone cliff is five stories tall with 20 rooms.
Sinagua Indians built it between 1150 and 1400. Around 1400, they left the area, perhaps because of drought, and assimilated with the Hopi who lived in the mesas not too far away, evidence of which is found in the Hopi's oral tales.
In 1951, the National Park Service closed the Montezuma Castle cliff dwelling to the general public to prevent further damage to the structure. Since then, only national park personnel have been allowed to enter the ruin to monitor and maintain its stability and study its construction. Although completely understandable that the monument is no longer sustainable for tourists, it still would've been awfully neat to climb inside and walk around the dwelling. Next time around, I'll have bring an archaeologists friend so maybe we can get in. ;0)
It was a quick trip, but well worth it, if only for the time I spent with my mom and the experience of seeing a couple new places. Next time, George and I are renting an RV and crossing the entire state to ensure we take advantage of Arizona!