Tuzigoot National Monument

Note to self. Highway 89A from Prescott to Clarkdale is not a shortcut if you’re driving a nine-thousand pound dually campervan. The hint we missed was when Google maps said it was 20 miles and one hour to Cottonwood. And yep, it took an hour to go up and over that mountain. A bunch of 15 mph downhill switchbacks, me trying to save my brakes by engine braking at 5000 rpm in 2nd gear, not looking over the guardrail at the dropoffs.

Not gonna miss that hint next time.

Tuzigoot National Monument was established to protect the ruins of a hilltop pueblo populated for several hundred years prior to about 1300 a.d. The pueblo consisted of about a hundred interconnected dwellings, now partially excavated and restored.

It’s adjacent to what was a major copper mining and smelting area, complete with the requisite tailing dump covered over with native vegetation. The area is now a vacation & tourism destination.

We did a bit of hiking around the Monument and toured the museum, which had examples of pottery, clothing, arrowheads and food preparation items from the period.

There is a marsh within the Monument – pretty devoid of wildlife – but not devoid of junk, derelict cars.

I wasn’t expecting to see that within the Monument property.

The back side of the marsh is accessible by about a mile of easy trail from the adjacent Dead Horse Ranch State Park.

Great view, but other than a virginia rail that sang out a couple of times, not much wildlife.

We’ve been in Arizona State Parks for the last few nights. AZ’s parks tend to be nicer than average, well maintained, etc. Some have a good network of trails, others are more RV Park-like with no space between sites – oriented toward boating or other recreation. We call them Arizona State Parking Lots. For an overnight, they’re fine.






3 responses to “Tuzigoot National Monument”

  1. Big Foot

    1300 ad. How many pueblo sites were vacated/abandoned in the southwest during this time? Hovenweep, yes. Others?? Many of the petroglyphs in the Rio Grand river valley of New Mexico date from this period! But the peoples of that time just disappeared and left remnants of their advanced cultures.


  2. Big foot

    This is a fine can of worms you have opened! The 1200-1300 disappearance date caught my anomoly detector! That date range matches some known american civilizations! Coincides with the dark ages! Humm it seems only large concentrations (cities) dropped off the edge of the earth. Drought? Disease/plagues? Easter island also had civilization disappear about this time! Many others, maya, anasazi, the list goes on! Now i will lose sleep searching for an unknown answer.



  3. rushenge


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