In the Verde Valley, we have several American Indian ruins open to the public. Montezuma’s Castle National Monument is well known, with its building perched high in the cliff. But the one I love, and hold close to my heart, is Montezuma’s Well. It’s associated with the Montezuma Castle National Monument, but 11 miles north of the Castle.
Long ago, a limestone cavern collapsed, leaving a circular hole that filled up with water. The Sinagua built dwelling on the inner walls of the cliff. Water constantly percolates up through the limestone, creating a lake of (essentially) carbonated water. The Well is 368 feet across and 55 feet deep.
At one end of the Well, the water flows through a tunnel to the far side of the cliff. Indian ruins sit just above the outlet within the Well and there are also some on top of the cliff.
The water empties into an irrigation ditch dug by the cliff dwellers hundreds of years ago and into a year-round stream, Beaver Creek.
In the confines of the park, there’s a lovely picnic area, a lime coated irrigation ditch, and more ruins under roof.
It’s a lovely oasis in the desert. Jeff and I spent the afternoon here, and had a peaceful lunch in the tree shaded picnic area.