Take a Stroll at Montezuma Well

Montezuma Castle National Monument 

The Less Visited Side

A pond with very high banks in the desert.
The vantage from the First Overlook shows Montezuma Well, the desert surrounding it, and the Colorado Plateau beyond.

NPS Photo/Sharlot Hart

Montezuma Castle National Monument sees hundreds, if not thousands of people every day.  Montezuma Well, a part of the monument but located 11 miles north of the main portion, gets far less traffic.  And that means far more time to sit and enjoy nature sounds, get your photo of Sinagua dwellings from the 1300s, and just meander the trails.  

Take That Stroll!

Two masonry rooms are set in the caves of Montezuma Well.
These two Sinaguan cliff dwellings overlook Montezuma Well.

NPS Photo/Sharlot Hart

The trails at Montezuma Well take you around the rim of the spring-fed "well" that served the Sinagua 800 years ago, and continues to provide water to the monument and our neighbors.  Short spur trails also take you down by the Swallet Ruin, on the inside of the well's bowl.  This dwelling was built into a small cave, like many Sinagua homes.  With the back wall of the cave, you only have to build three walls instead of four to complete your house!

Another spur trail takes you to see the canal by which water leaves Montezuma Well, and Wet Beaver Creek.  This riparian area stays nice and cool during the hot summer months in Arizona, and is a favorite place to sit and listen to birds or watch for white-tailed deer to come and get a drink.

Finish with a Picnic and Play

A grassy area with tall trees.
The picnic area sits between the canal and Beaver Creek, making it a cool, green place to eat and play.

NAU

Once you're done seeing the main area of Montezuma Well, drive down to the picnic area.  Have your lunch, dip your feet in the section of canal flowing by, or take another stroll in our rehabilitated pasture.

This pasture was used historically by the Back family for ranching.  Starting in 2009, we began a long struggle to beat back invasive plants that had taken over.  By 2014 the percentage of invasives was down by 60%, and pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds were coming back!  We installed a new mile-long trail around the pasture for you to see this native success!

Last updated: June 16, 2015