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One of the things I knew I wanted to do while my parents were visiting was to go to Jerome, Tuzigoot, and Montezuma Castle because I knew they were all really close together.
They basically let me plan the trips, so what do you know, we got to go to all three! Don’t worry, they were interested in these kinds of things, too. And hey, sometimes I pick things that seem pretty random, like Bombay Beach, that they knew nothing about and ended up loving!
Well, for this section of the trip, we spend two days in Cottonwood since it was more central (and cheaper and less busy) than Sedona.
We had one full day and on that day we visited Tuzigoot and Montezuma Castle National Monuments then popped into Sedona just so they could see it.
Sedona wasn’t even peak season busy but it was still SO busy, we didn’t really spend much time there. We didn’t even go to the main part of town, just the part closer to Red Rock State Park.
But today is all about Tuzigoot National Monument. The main reason I wanted to go here was because of the name. I mean, Tuzigoot! How fun is that? It means “crooked water”, in case you were wondering.
But then I found out it was ruins and that sealed the deal. We started our day there and the weather was perfect. We stopped in the visitor center and looked around the little museum area, which was interesting.
Instead of the Anasazi people of southern Utah, the Sinagua people lived here starting around the year 650. Instead of cliff dwellings like Butler Wash or Mesa Verde, this is a multi-room pueblo more out in the open.
We also learned here that they communicated with other people and pueblos in the area with smoke signals. While it was being excavated, they found items and materials traded from hundreds of miles away!
We just did the short hike around the pueblo (I didn’t go to the top of the ruin because I forgot my mask in the car) and then did a short walk out to the left of the visitor center.
That part of the trail just goes out to a little prairie area, I guess with some more signs about the nature and natural history of the region. There was no one else over here and it wasn’t a long or thrilling walk, but it’s a nice way to hike a little more. Or walk, I guess.
While Tuzigoot isn’t my favorite park or ruin out there, I did enjoy it and I’m glad we went. It’s definitely worth visiting if you’re in the area and interested in this kind of this. It’s also good national park site for history buffs.
National Park Goodies
- If you’re planning to visit three or more national parks within a year from your trip, definitely get the America the Beautiful pass. It will save you money in the long run if you’re going to more than three parks in a year. Buy the pass here.
- If you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking on your trip, or even at home, check out AllTrails! This is my favorite app to find, keep track of, and track my hiking activity. And it’s FREE! Sign up here.
- This Ultimate National Park Planning Bundle is a must-have. You get two ebooks and a planner, saving 50% by getting them as a bundle! If you want all the details, this is the bundle for you. Buy the Ultimate bundle here.
- This National Park Planner (one of the ebooks from the bundle above) is perfect if you just want some guidance in your planning. Buy the planner here.
- Get yourself a National Park journal for all of the NPS sites (400+!) to keep track of your travels!
- Consider reading some of these books set in national parks before your big trip, on your adventure, or once you get home to take you back to the parks until next time.
Tuzigoot National Monument hike
The Tuzigoot Trail is just a 0.4 mile hike around the ruin structure. You can also go up to the top of it and down to the bottom of it. It’s a super easy walk and you probably won’t need more than an hour here.
There is a little museum-y area in the visitor center that is worth visiting if you’re there while it’s open. It’s small but it’s good to learn about the history. There are signs along the trail, too.
Where is Tuzigoot National Monument?
Tuzigoot National Monument is just 10 minutes from Cottonwood, 15 minutes from Jerome, and 25 minutes from Sedona. It’s super easy to visit from any of those places. It’s about an hour and fifteen minutes from Flagstaff if you’re staying there and still want to see it.
How far is Tuzigoot from Montezuma Castle?
Tuzigoot to Montezuma Castle is just 23 miles, or 34 minutes. It’s a nice, easy drive between the two and they can easily be done in one day, even half a day.
Best time to visit Tuzigoot
I think you could do this anytime of year since it’s a short walk, but fall was wonderful! The weather was perfect and the cottonwood trees were yellow, which I loved. If you go in summer, just be sure to bring water even though the trail isn’t that long.
Is Tuzigoot worth visiting?
If you’re in the area, yes! I wouldn’t go way out of my way for this, but if you’re visiting Jerome, Cottonwood, or Sedona, it’s worth the short side trip. It’s not the most exciting ruin site out there, but it is impressive.