Montezuma Castle National Monument
|Description: One of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in North America attracts visitors to this national monument in the Verde Valley of Central Arizona. Located at a junction between the Colorado Plateau and the Basin and Range regions, the five-story, 20-room cliff dwelling was home to the Sinagua people in about 1200 A.D.
The dwelling, known as Montezuma Castle, overlooks Beaver Creek. Sycamore riparian habitat along this creek provides rich habitat for birds and other wildlife. The monument also includes Montezuma Well, a unique habitat formed when an immense cavern collapsed to form a limestone sink. This sink has a flow of more than one-half million gallons of water per day.
Wildlife to Watch: Nocturnal animals include woodrat, pocket gopher, skunk, ringtail, a variety of bats, amphibians such as Woodhouse’s and red-spotted toads and owls. Animals that are most active at dawn and dusk include mule deer, coyote, porcupine, desert cottontail, black-tailed jackrabbit and many songbirds. A few desert animals are primarily active during the day, including hawks and eagles, Clark’s and desert spiny lizards and black-necked and terrestrial gartersnakes.
During the spring and summer breeding seasons, black-throated sparrow, Bewick’s wren and brown-headed cowbird are among the most common species, although frequently observed riparian birds include Cooper’s hawk, common black-hawk, belted kingfisher, Gila and ladder-backed woodpeckers, black phoebe, Bell’s vireo, bridled and juniper titmouse, Lucy’s and yellow warblers, summer tanager and hood, Bullock’s and Scott’s orioles.
Special Tips: Early morning and off-season visitation may be more productive for wildlife viewing.
Call 928.567.5276 for more information.
Other Activities: A 1/3 mile loop trail is located at Montezuma Well. At the cliff dwellings a ½ mile trail provides interpretive signage about cultural and natural history.
Ownership: National Park Service
Size: 920 acres
Closest Town: Camp Verde
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: