4 lesser known National Monuments and Historic Sites of Arizona

Categories:Featured | National Parks and Monuments

I have joined a group of bloggers who are celebrating the anniversary of the Antiquities Act by writing a blog post about our National Parks Monuments, and Historic Sites. Without this act’s formation many of our favorite locations to hike and adventure in would not exist. I thought it appropriate to talk about 4 lesser known National Monuments and Historic Sites in Arizona.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Photo Source: Flickr Photo by: adifferentbrian

Location: Chinle, AZ

The Park Service and Navajo Nation actively work to manage and conserve the homes and images that tell stories of the people who have lived there for nearly 5000 years. That is the longest time anyone has lived uninterrupted anywhere in the Colorado Plateau In an area called Tseyi, their homes and images tell us their stories of everyday life in the canyons. Today Navajo families raise their children, farm and watch over livestock.

Make sure to research your visit before going. Access is limited due to the Navajo families that still call the canyons home.  Travel into the canyons could be restricted due to to poor weather or resource protection.  Park entrance is free and is open from sunrise to sunset. The visitor center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5p.m. DST. There are 3 overlooks on the North Rim and 7 on the South Rim. A two hour drive time needs to be allotted for each rim drive.

There is only one public trail which is called the White House Trail. A 2.5 mile round trip hike full of switchbacks and an elevation gain of 600 feet. Most hikers can complete the trail in two hours.

Companies do provide tours of the canyon. Permits are required as is hiring a authorized Navajo guide if you choose to go on a tour. Hiking, horseback, or by vehicle are available.

Remember to take plenty of water with you and check the park’s website for events and other park information.


Chiricahua National Monument

Source Flickr: Photo by Ken Lund

Location: Wilcox, AZ

Known as the Wonderland of Rocks this National Monument is waiting for you to come and explore. The 17 miles of day use hiking trails and 8 mile paved scenic drive provides ample opportunities to discover the natural beauty of the 11,985 acre site. To learn about the history of the area and the people who called this wonderland of rocks home you can visit the Faraway Ranch Historic District.

Like always take plenty of water, know your limits, and check to see if there are any current active alerts at the park before visiting. There is a hiker shuttle that departs the visitor center at 9 a.m. and takes hikers to Echo Canyon or Massai Point trailheads. You must sign up for the shuttle in person at the visitors center the day before your hike.

Remember to take plenty of water with you and check the park’s website for events and other park information.

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site

Source: Flicker Photo by: Ron Cogswell

Location: Ganado, AZ

Hubbell Trading Post is the holest operating trading post on the Navajo Nation. Selling grain, harware, horse tack, coffee and Native American Art since 1878. A stop here will surely take you back in time as you step on the squeaky wooden floor.

While you are there you can take a tour of the historic Hubbell Home, wander the grounds of the family homestead seeing the bunkhouse, barn guest Hogan and historic farm equipment.

Keep in mind that the Navajo Nation observes Mountain Daylight Savings Time from March thorough November while the rest of Arizona observes Mountain Time. Visit the site’s website for operating hours and events calendar.

Montezuma Castle National Monument

Source: Flicker Photo by: Ken Lund

Location: Camp Verde, AZ

Montezuma Castle is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. A multi story 20 room high-rise dwelling gives you a look into the incredible legacy of the people who struggled to survive the harsh desert over 1,000 years ago.  While there you can also visit the Montezuma Well.

A 1/3 mile self guided trail takes you past the  5 story cliff dwelling winding through a sycamore grove and along the spring-fed Beaver Creek. A second 1/3 mile loop leads you past the oasis of Montezuma Well. This well was used by the Sinagua people over 600 years ago.

Remember to take plenty of water with you and check the park’s website for events and guided tour information.

I personally find National Parks and Monuments incredibly interesting. I think it has something to do with my love of history and the outdoors all rolled into a great experience. Many of the parks and monuments that I have visited are well maintained and finding the ones that are off the beaten path or less known can sometimes be the most fun. I can spend hours looking out across the landscape of the parks wondering what they looked like when that first person set foot there and said wow we should preserve this for future generations to see. I would like to thank all the people who take care of our parks across the country but also those who had the passion to preserve them. Without our National Parks and Monuments our country’s splendor and majesty would be absent. To learn more about National Parks and Monuments in your area please visit the National Park Website.

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