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Montezuma's Castle

Montezuma's Castle is a five-story Sinagua ruin located just off 1-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff, roughly 50 miles south of Flagstaff. The structures were built by the Sinagua during the early 12th century, and lie along the banks of Beaver Creek. The ruins became part of a National Monument in 1906, prior to Arizona becoming a state.

The ruin is built into a 150 ft. cliff. The inside is closed to visitors. Some of the openings in the cliff below the castle were used for storage. Other alcoves in the area were used as dwellings. The walls are 2 feet thick at the bottom and a foot thick at the top. The ruin also has some small T-shaped doorways.

The site was devastated by "pot hunters" at an early date. In spite of this, excavations have revealed woven cotton cloth along with a host of other items.

The remnants of another ruin, known as "Castle A" can be seen a few hundred yards downstream.

Although the ruin is quite spectacular, there is not much else besides the 1/3 mile loop trail which takes you out to the viewpoint. The Montezuma's Castle Website does have an extensive history, along with nice pictures of the ruin's interiors in their virtual tour.

Montezuma's Well, a limestone sink fed by springs, is located close by. Several small dwellings are also located here.

Location: About 1 hour and 45 minutes north of Phoenix just off 1-17.


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