THIS MONTH’S HIKE:
Montezuma’s Castle National Park
Difficulty rating: Easy
Distance: .33 miles
Between Flagstaff and Phoenix lies a special attraction that is a must-see for any tourist or resident of our fine state. Over 600 years ago Arizona was inhabited by the Sinagua people who left incredible ruins and artifacts behind and the beautiful Montezuma’s Castle is just one of these amazing pieces of our history.
This towering high-rise, 20-room home is tucked away into the limestone, resting above the flood plain from Beaver Creek and rising more than five stories high. In the 1930’s, Montezuma’s castle was a prime destination for motorized tourists from all over the world. Interestingly, at the time people were allowed to climb inside and explore the castle by using ladders. Today the castle is closed to the public for inside touring, however, even seeing it from the visitor’s path is exciting and memorable.
The sycamore trees line the shaded pathway and during the fall the leaves change color and softly drift to the forest floor with the winds. This is a great place to spend a few hours, and it has a gift shop full of Arizona goodies and great books with a friendly and knowledgeable staff to help out. The castle is located just a short distance from the I-17, take exit 289 for Montezuma’s Castle Highway. Montezuma’s well is also a great attraction to pair with the trip, entrance to this park is free and both are located in Camp Verde. Get out and take a trek this winter!