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While visiting new states and places, it’s always fun to experience and see some of the historic landmarks in the area. This can be especially true if there are some really cool monuments that capture what life was like hundreds of years ago! Here are some of the most awesome Native American ruins around Arizona that will surely make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
One of Arizona’s top natural wonders, the Canyon de Chelly National Monument was constructed sometime between 350 and 1300 AD and is known to be one of the longest continuously populated Native American regions in all of North America, as it was lived in for almost 5,000 years. The steep and sleek red cliffs are distinguishable from a far distance, and it’s truly a humbling place to visit for those who enjoy seeing significant and historic landmarks. Today, the Navajo Nation works hard alongside The National Park Service to keep his monument well kept and preserved for the current and next generations to enjoy.
Montezuma Castle National Monument is a famous cliff dwelling that was home to the Sinagua people over 600 years ago, and the entire site is one of North America’s most well-persevered Native American ruins. The castle itself is quite large and impressive, as it has five stories that house 20 different rooms. Even though visitors haven’t been able to walk within the ruins in over six decades, there is a 1/3 mile loop path that goes right up to the bottom of it for fantastic photo opportunities.
The Sierra Anchas region is rich in Native American history, and it’s not hard to tell by looking at their ruins that this is a place that has been through a lot. It was inhabited mostly between the years of 500 AD to 1350 by three different cultures of people, and a lot of what archaeologists have found still remains a big mystery. These ruins are mostly in a rural area, and even though the road to get there (Cherry Creek Road) has been partially repaired in recent years it will still require four-wheel drive to get to the Sierra Anchas area.
Casa Grande, which translates to “Great House” in English, are ruins that were built and lived in by the Sonoran Desert People many years ago in history. It was built roughly in the year 1350 and inhabited for 1,000 years until it was completely abandoned about 1450. Back in the day, visitors used to be able to walk in the ruins and see things up close, however, these days a roof was put in place and restrictions were made to ensure that it gets persevered for as long as possible.
The Navajo National Monument is more than just Native American ruins that are fun to visit and take photos of, but they have also become an icon for the state of Arizona. They’re located in the northwest part of the state and are thought to have been built around the year 1250, similar to many of the other ruins throughout the region. Visitors are able to take guided tours over the cliff dwellings, which are named Keet Seel and Betatakin, as no one is allowed to explore them on their own without an Indian Guide.
Just about 40 miles north of Phoenix is where the Agua Fria National Monument is located on over 70.000 acres of land. It has been a particularly popular hot spot for archaeologists with over 450 different dig sites in the area, and there are plenty of different ruins for visitors and tourists to check out. Some of the most popular ones include the Pueblo La Plata, which has between 120-160 rooms, and the Pueblo Pata that has roughly 300 rooms.
The Tonto Basin area was occupied by Native American cultures between the 13th and 15th centuries, and the cliff dwellings there that overlook the area have been well-preserved for visitors to enjoy. There is a short self-guided walking tour that will take you to the Lower and Upper parts of the ruins, and it’s definitely a great place to take in some desert sights. Be sure to call in ahead of time before your visit, as the site has been known to close from time to time on short notice due to lots of active beehives.
Near the town of Cottonwood in the northern part of the state is the Tuzigoot National Monument, which is actually an ancient village that was built by the Sinagua people. The main part of the pueblo had about 110 rooms, which the in habitats stayed in until the year 1400. This is a beautiful area that has a more hilltop feel to it than some of the ruins down in the desert, and it has some especially beautiful views of the mountains!
The Sycamore Canyon Cliff Dwelling is not too far away from the city of Sedona just north of the town of Clarkdale. This is yet another structure that was built by the Sinagua people and was constructed using a mud and rubble mixture. This dwelling is not maintained by any company or organization, so it sits out in a rural part of a desert that can be somewhat difficult to get into. There are also plenty of pictographs on the walls, which are common in Arizona, but still fun to look at!