We had passed by the exit to Montezuma’s Castle way too many times and I finally said to my husband “This weekend” and we set out to go up and check it out.
My husband is a Veteran who has a disability rating with the military and recently applied for a National Parks Pass. Because of his disability rating (he lost hearing in one ear due to his service), he gets some benefits. But, we also can get access to the National Parks for free or reduced pries.
This is not just for military families, but for anyone who has a permanent disability. It does not have to be a 100% disability. It must be medically determined and you have to have proper documentation. The cost of obtaining this pass is $10. It is not transferrable to anyone else and usually will not cover special rec fees. You can find out more here.
Getting off the highway was a little bit confusing. There are two roundabouts right off of the highway. You will want to stay as straight as possible onto W Middle Verde Road (heading south). If you start heading up the hill towards the Cliff Casino Castle, you are going in the wrong direction. It was a little congested for no apparent reason. There wasn’t any signage at the roundabouts when we were there, which made it a little strange. Head to Montezuma Castle Road, and then, its pretty self explanatory.
Since our kids are all under 15, they would all enter Montezuma’s Castle for free. And for my husband and I, we would both be free.
Of course, we arrived, and the fee was waived for everyone! HA!
I think it was because of the health situation we were in, and there was just a basket full of maps. I’m not sure.
The visitors center had a small gift shop and one bathroom. Just one. One measly bathroom. Plan accordingly to use the bathroom in Camp Verde. Don’t wait until you get to Montezuma if you really have to go!
The walkway throughout was nicely shaded and perfect for a 90 degree day. Just remember that while it may be a little cooler in temperature than the valley, it is higher in elevation. So, it really still feels warm.
The Pathways were pretty easily accessible, except one that was marked to say it wasn’t for wheeled vehicles because of its steepness. Otherwise, it was a great place to walk or wheel!
There were also many areas to sit and enjoy the view and talk about the great technology and wonder about life back 900 years ago!
There were many signs that explained what you were looking at. Here, Giggles is looking at a sign that overlooks the Verde River. Of course, the Verde River wasn’t really flowing at this time. But, it could flow with a good rain!
This was a great model that was a look from the inside. There was a speaker that explained what life was like and talked about the different rooms. The model was made in the 1950s!
About 35 people would live in the “Castle”. It seemed to me like a lot of work for 35 people! Would you live in the Castle?
Montezuma Castle isn’t a huge park, but it really did raise a lot of questions about what life was like so long ago, and what would make people do all of this work and then leave! It was a beautiful area too.
Little Kid Friendly
This is a National Park that is definitely little kid friendly and is easy for a quick day trip!
A Few people asked what there is to eat around the area. There is a Sonic right off the highway as well as the Casino. And, Camp Verde is not too far and has a few restaurants in town. We brought food with us and just snacked in the car!
Here’s a great history video about Montezuma’s Castle too