Montezuma's Castle and Montezuma's Well
Montezuma's Castle is just a short 26 mile trip from Sedona. Truth is it was never a castle and Montezuma never lived there but just three miles from 1-17 at exit 289, at the end of the side road that winds down into the valley formed by Beaver Creek, you'll see what some have described as a "prehistoric high-rise apartment building".
The castle sits nestled in the limestone cliff, 70 feet above the valley. It is a 5 story, 20 room dwelling that was built and resided in by the Sinagua Indians in the 12th century.
The ruins were first thought to be Aztec in origin...thus, its name. However, later it was discovered that was not the case.
The inhabitants of the "castle" were farmers. Living there, they looked over their fields where they grew their squash, corn, beans and cotton. They were able to use the water from the Beaver Creek that is located nearby and the location also provided them safety from any attacks from other people or animals.
This ruin was built so well that it is one of the best preserved prehistoric structures located in the entire Southwest. You can also check out some of the ruins still remaining from another six-story 45-room dwelling which was built at the bottom of the cliff.
There's a small museum, and short paved nature trail leading past the ruins at the visitor center. There's also a picnic area.
Please be aware that since 1951, the parks have not allowed visitors to climb up to the ruins so that they may better preserve them. They are open every day of the year...even Christmas!..from 8am to 5pm in the winter and as late as 7pm in the summer. There is a small fee for adults to come (apx $5 for a week long pass to visit).
For more on the Sedona area and it's things to see or fabulous real estate, check out this blog. Image by Wikipedia