Montezuma Castle: A Not-So-Typical Castle In Arizona

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After a nice morning visit to Tuzigoot National Monument, my parents and I headed over to Montezuma Castle National Monument about 30 minutes away.

This is another pretty small park that can easily be done with very limited time. There is the main Montezuma Castle ruin and if you want, you can also go to Montezuma’s Well nearby. We just went to the castle this time.

montezuma castle arizona

We got here in the late morning and it wasn’t packed or anything. We definitely weren’t the only ones there but it wasn’t terribly busy either. There was a little waiting at one area where you can get a little closer to the ruin wall but other than that it was fine.

We stopped at the visitor center first (of course) for a patch, postcards, and a mug. Then we hit the very short trail to go see the castle! It’s a nice, easy paved trail that is just a 0.4 mile loop.

montezuma castle arizona

For some reason, in my head, some of the trees were yellow, but looking at my pictures, it’s just green. Maybe I’m just moving them from Tuzigoot to here in my head, who knows. I guess they’re a little yellow here now that I’m seeing them bigger!

Whether the leaves are changing or not at Montezuma Castle specifically, you’ll probably be able to see some turning yellow in the area if you’re here in October, which is always incredible to see.

montezuma castle arizona

The first part of the loop takes you along the bottom of the cliff wall that Montezuma Castle was built into. It looks very impressive up as high as it is, but I was more impressed once we saw the little diorama showing what the inside of it looks (looked?) like in it’s heyday.

You can’t go up or into the castle and it’s hard to imagine how people even got up there but I’m sure ladders and hand/footholds carved into the rock did the trick.

montezuma castle arizona

After this, the trail loops around so you’re just walking through a little woodsy area and you can see the castle through the trees. There are signs along the way talking about the plants and how they were used.

Then, just before the visitor center, there is a little TV and diorama showing the inside of the castle! There are multiple levels inside of it where they show what people did where and how everything was done.

It’s so interesting seeing what life was like here because when you just see the ruin, it’s hard to imagine what it was really like and I know just seeing an animated video recreating life isn’t the same as actual life, but I think it helps me grasp that more than just pictures/paintings.

Overall, it was just a short visit but I enjoyed it. It’s not my favorite ruin out there but it is cool and worth visiting if you’re in the area. It’s super easy to combine with a trip to Tuzigoot and as a day trip from Sedona or Flagstaff.

montezuma castle arizona

National Park Goodies

sun through tree at montezuma castle arizona

Where is Montezuma Castle in Arizona?

Montezuma Castle is 40 minutes from both Jerome and Sedona. If you’re visiting from Flagstaff, it’s just ten minutes more at 50 minutes. They’re all nice, easy drives.

How far is it from Montezuma Castle to Tuzigoot?

From Montezum Castle to Tuzigoot, it’s just a 23 mile, or 35 minute drive. It’s super easy to get between them and you can easily visit both in a day or half a day.

montezuma castle arizona

Montezuma Castle trail

Like Tuzigoot, the Montezuma Castle Trail is just 0.4 miles and it’s really easy. It’s all paved and easy to follow. There is one section that is dirt with a couple of stairs to a place to view something a little closer though.

montezuma castle arizona

Is Montezuma Castle in Arizona worth it?

If you’re in the area, yes. This is a cool and impressive structure because it’s SO high up, but I like other ruin sites more. It was impressive getting to see what it would have looked like in it’s heyday though. I did like that a lot.

Have you been to Montezuma Castle in Arizona? What did you think of it? Do you want to go?

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