Wander. Explore. Dine.

National Monument

Experience History: Explore Our Arizona Ruins

Long before statehood, Arizona was home to thousands of Indigenous Peoples belonging to various tribes. Many of today’s ruins, and landmarks are remnants of the once-great Sinagua People, who inhabited much of the northern and central regions of Arizona. Great hallmarks of their time include the large pueblos they constructed, several of which remain standing today, almost a millennium later. While their cultures have since declined, pieces of their history remain. Today, Arizona is home to 22 different tribes, and over a quarter of the land in this state belongs to the Native American peoples.

Scattered throughout the Grand Canyon State, are historical monuments and ancient dwellings that remain preserved through time, and open for visitors interested in learning more about the rich culture and history of these people. Some offer guided tours for up-close and detailed experiences, while others maintain preservation through distanced viewing.

Montezuma Castle National Monument

Located near Camp Verde, is a cluster of dwellings tucked into a cliff high above the ground. These protected ruins were constructed by the Sinagua people, who inhabited the Southwest region. It is thought to have been constructed between 1,100 and 1,350 A.D. and is the last evidence to be found of these people. Visitors can drive in and walk along the base of the cliff, examining the historic dwelling from below.

Wupatki National Monument

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The Monument protects miles of prairie, housing villages of ancient ruins to explore. Surrounded by picturesque geography including red rock cliffs and the breathtaking beauty of the Coconino National Forest lands, history and nature collide with these pueblos, which seem as though they belong to the landscape. First inhabited around 500 A.D., this vast protected space spans around 35,253 acres. The villages once served as a bustling center for trading and living for several archaeological cultural groups, including the Hohokam People. Public trails wind through the settlements, allowing for close inspection and appreciation for these old-world lifestyles.

Tonto National Monument

The Monument features two Salado-style cliff dwellings built into an escarpment near the Tonto Basin. The Salado culture is most known for its colorful pottery and iconographic designs. The Lower Cliff Dwelling details 20 rooms with the original construction, including a few in-tact ceilings; this area is accessible by a short but steep hike up to the cliff. The 40-room Upper Cliff Dwelling can only be reached by a guided hike. This structure is a stunning testament to the architecture of the Salado People.

Tuzigoot National Monument

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This Monument near Clarkdale offers a way to immerse yourself in the rich history of the land. A multiple- story pueblo built atop a desert hilltop, this elongated series of rooms perches along a ridge in the Verde Valley. Once a great residence, Tuzigoot has 110 rooms and is the largest and best-preserved of the Sinagua ruins. This settlement is a testament to some of the findings regarding the social lives and implementation of public spaces in these cultures. Visitors can take a self-guided tour and explore history up close; trails lead you through the rooms, creating an immersive experience that renders this long past era as powerfully present.

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