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Jan 25

Montezuma Castle: National Monument in Arizona

Cliff DwellingMontezuma Castle in Arizona is a great place to visit past civilizations.  Being a history major in college seeing anything over 100 years old is a real treat for me and getting to see a 20 room high-rise apartment building that is over 800 years old was something that I could not pass up.  Montezuma Castle near Cam Verde, Arizona was a quick one hour stop for us after a long day visiting Out of Africa Wildlife Park and Fort Verde State Historic Park and a perfect end to our fun day.Visitor CenterKaren and I have visited other ancient dwellings before but Montezuma Castle was different because the others we have visited have all been in the pueblo design and this was our first time to see a cliff dwelling together.  I have to say looking 70 feet up in the air at a cliff to see a housing structure appear out of the side of a rocky wall is a pretty spectacular sight.Montezuma CastleThere is a visitor center on the grounds that gives a good history lesson on the Sinagua people that built and lived in the dwelling along with some tools and other artifacts that were used in everyday life.  The cliff dwelling can be viewed from a paved 1/3 mile trail that starts at the visiting center and goes to the base of the ruins.  Up until 1951 tourists could access Montezuma Castle itself, but due to extensive damage we can now only see it from a distance.  There is nice (but old) model of the ruins of what it would have looked like in its prime.ModelMontezuma Castle makes for a great stop to stretch your legs if you are driving from Flagstaff to Phoenix as it is just a short distance off of Interstate 17.  We found the ruins to be worth visiting, but once is probably good enough for us.

Montezuma Castle
Located at 1620 W. Finnie Flats Road, Camp Verde
Hours of Operation 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 7 days a week closed Christmas Day
Cost as of this Posting: 16 and over $5.00
For more information visit http://www.nps.gov/moca/index.htm

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