Tuzigoot National Monument: Probably The Most Fun Name For A National Monument Possible

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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!

view from tuzigoot national mountment

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.

ruins at tuzigoot national mountment

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.

ruins at tuzigoot national mountment

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.

view of jerome arizona from tuzigoot national mountment
That’s Jerome up on the hill!

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.

ruins at tuzigoot national mountment

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.

ruins at tuzigoot national mountment

National Park Goodies

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.

ruins and fall trees at tuzigoot national mountment

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.

view of fall trees and ruins at tuzigoot national mountment

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.

ruins at tuzigoot national mountment

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.

view from tuzigoot national mountment
More ruins below the main structure

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.

I realize that was a contradicting sentence, but I stand by it. The structure is impressive, but there are other ruins I like more, like Wupatki or House on Fire.

Tuzigoot National Monument photo gallery

6 thoughts on “Tuzigoot National Monument: Probably The Most Fun Name For A National Monument Possible

  1. As usual, you have visited the most exciting, remarkable and useful places in the USA.! Thanks for sharing!

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