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Camp Verde is in Northern Arizona. It is in Yavapai County. The town is located on Interstate 17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff. It is in the Verde River Valley of central Arizona. The town is near the geographical center of Arizona. You can get to Camp Verde from Phoenix or Tucson by taking Interstate 17 north out of town. It is approximately 85 miles north of Phoenix. You can get to Camp Verde from Flagstaff by taking Interstate 17 south out of town. It is approximately 50 miles south of Flagstaff.
Camp Verde is a great old town that combines a military influence, ancient cultures, and a ranching heritage into one diverse spot. It is a small town that began with farming and cattle ranching. Today Camp Verde’s population is 6,200. The town sits at an elevation of 3,133 feet. The town enjoys a dry, mild, four-season climate. The summer high is 100 degrees and the winter low is 30 degrees. Camp Verde offers a wide variety of scenic, recreational and archeological attractions.
There are many attractions that are very close to town that you will not want to miss. The Fort Verde State Historical Park is a great visit back in time. Here you will see some of the original buildings closed down over 100 years ago. Montezuma Castle National Monument is a cliff dwelling built in 1150. It is one of the best-preserved examples of cliff dwellings in the country. The Cliff Castle Casino is a lively gaming casino in town. It offers guests a fun time.
Camp Verde has many outdoor activities. Montezuma Well is a natural limestone sinkhole. The Sinagua Indians living at Montezuma Castle used the Well. This water supply was very important to their livelihood. General George Cook, who was stationed at Fort Verde, developed one of Arizona’s most scenic drives. The old military road once connected Fort Apace with Prescott and Fort Verde. The Rim Road as it is called today follows the Mogollon Rim and offers drivers wonderful views.
Gun and Knife Show March
Camp Verde Southwestern Day April
In 700 A.D. the Hohokam Indians moved to the area and used an irrigation system for their crops. Then the Sinaguan Indians resided in this spot. Then word Sinagua means “without water”. These people relied on rainfall to maintain life. In 1066 A.D. the Sinagua left because of a volcanic eruption. Later the Anasazi Indians built multistoried dwellings. But in 1300’s something happened and the Anasazi’s disappeared.
It wasn’t until 1865 when some men set off from Prescott in search of a place to establish a farming settlement that this spot became inhabited again. They chose a spot where the West Clear Creek meets the Verde River to build a settlement. After planting crops and bringing in livestock the Yavapai and Apache Indians, who lived in the area became upset with the encroachment on their land. The tribes raided the settlements.
These raids cause the Army to step in to resolve the unrest. Thus, Camp Lincoln was established in 1865. The name was later changed to Camp Verde due to so many camps had been given the name Lincoln, in honor of Abraham Lincoln.
General George Cook arrived at Camp Verde in 1872 to end the fighting. The Indians were placed on the Rio Verde Reservation in 1873. When the federal government took the reservation away two years later, this move caused the tribe to go to the San Carols Reservation. The Indians were forced to march 150 miles to the San Carlos Reservation to live. This famous march was named “March of Tears”. Many Indians lost their lives during the trek.
Then in 1879, the name changed again, this time to Fort Verde. Soon the wars in the area were almost over and Fort Verde closed in 1891. Today you can visit the surviving buildings left from the fort.
Things To Do
Visit Montezuma Castle National Monument
Montezuma Castle National Monument is a cliff dwelling built by the Sinagua Indians in 1150. Later, in the 1300’s it was abandoned for reasons still unknown today. The settlers who first discovered the dwelling’s remains believed that the Aztec emperor Montezuma, who was fleeing from the Spanish conquistadors, built it. Thus, the name Montezuma Castle was given to the structure. The name has stuck. The word castle can be a stretch. You will not find a true castle, but in those times I am sure it was a castle. A structure nestled in the limestone recess is an amazing sight.
The dwelling is a 5-story stone and mortar structure set back underneath a cliff ledge at a height of 100 feet. It is believed that wood ladders connected the different floor levels. The structure includes 20 rooms and was occupied by about 50 people. The location of the dwelling was ideal. The cliff overhang gives protection from rain, snow, and the hot summer sun. In addition, the dwelling overlooks Beaver Creek.
There is another much larger structure built against the base of the cliff, but unfortunately, it did not stand the test of time as well as the cliff structure. It is now badly deteriorated. The larger structure called “Castle A” had 6-stories and about 45 rooms.
It is believed that the ash-pink adobe castle was reached by a series of ladders placed against the face of the cliff. Its first floor is a horizontal row of eight rooms. Some of the bricks set in cement still show the fingerprints of the original Mason. The roofs were probably constructed in the usual Pueblo manner with sycamore beams and successive toppings of small sticks, reeds and a thick layer of adobe that formed the floor of the story above. As the community grew, each new family constructed its own addition to the castle. The structure is forty feet high and the fifth story reaches the very top of the natural cave. The number of rooms decreases in each ascending story till the fifth story has but two rooms and a plaza on it.
Montezuma Castle is one of the best-preserved examples of cliff dwellings in the country. Over a million visitors come to see the dwelling each year. Due to its popularity, there is a heightened concern for its preservation. These dwellings are very fragile, so visitors are not permitted to walk through the structure. The taking of cultural and natural materials from the site is also prohibited.
Visitors can see the dwellings from the path at the base of the cliff. This path is wheelchair accessible. The paved one-third of a mile self-guided trail is the only way to view the dwelling. Rangers are available on the trail to answer questions.
A Visitor Center has many artifacts found in the area on display. There are exhibits showing what life was like for the Sinagua people. A diorama/audio program depicts an interior view of the cliff dwellings. Visitors will also learn about the various plant, wildlife, and geology of the Verde Valley, where Montezuma Castle is located. The Visitor Center has books for sale that are great for learning more about the past cultures, wildlife, and plants.
Springtime is the most popular time to visit. December and January are the slowest times of the year. Visitors are urged to plan on spending 45 minutes to an hour taking in the Monument. There are picnic tables available near the creek. Benches and drinking fountains are sprinkled along the path to the cliff dwelling.
Montezuma Castle National Monument is open every day from 8:00 to 5:00, during the winter months and 8:00 to 7:00 pm from Memorial Day to Labor Day. If you would like more information on the Monument, you may call 520-567-3597.
Montezuma Castle National Monument is approximately three miles north of Camp Verde. You can get there from Camp Verde by taking Main Street north out of downtown Camp Verde. This road changes into Montezuma Castle Highway. Continue along the highway, until you see signs for the turn off to the castle. You can get there from Phoenix or Tucson by taking Interstate 17 north out of town. When you get to exit 289 for Camp Verde take it. Head east on Middle Verde Road for a short distance, until you see the signs for the Monument. It is approximately 90 miles north of Phoenix. You can get to the Monument from Flagstaff by taking Interstate 17 south out of town. When you get to exit 289 for Camp Verde take it. Head east on Middle Verde Road for a short distance, until you see the signs for the Monument. The monument is approximately 50 miles south of Flagstaff.
Montezuma Castle National Monument is a special place to me. My mother worked and lived at the Monument, while I was in school at Northern Arizona University. I have many memories of weekends wandering the grounds after dark, in the shadow of the Sinagua Indian home.
Visit Fort Verde State Historic Park
Fort Verde was established in 1865 when the Yavapai and Apache Indians in the area began attacking the newly built farming settlement. The fort was originally named Camp Lincoln. The name was later changed to Camp Verde, due to the fact that so many camps had been given the name Lincoln. Fort Verde was used as a base for patrols, a supply center and staging spot for activities. Indians never attacked the fort.
General George Crook arrived at Camp Verde in 1872 charged with squelching the Apache and Yavapai Indian uprisings. General Crook proved successful. The Indians were placed on the Rio Verde Reservation in 1873. When the federal government took the reservation away two years later, this forced the tribe to go to the San Carols Reservation. The Indians were forced to march 150 miles to the San Carlos Reservation to live. This famous march was named “March of Tears”. Many Indians lost their lives during the trek. Then in 1879, the name changed again, this time to Fort Verde. The wars in the area were almost over when the name change occurred. The in 1891, Fort Verde closed.
Today the old Fort Verde has been made into Fort Verde State Historic Park. The 10-acre park includes an administration building, bachelor’s quarters, commanding officer’s house, doctor’s quarters and part of the parade field. Visitors will have an opportunity to see these surviving buildings left from the fort’s heydays.
The park has exhibits, photos, maps, letters and artifacts used over 100 years ago. The fort also contains military artifacts, Indian relics, and articles used by the settlers and Indians. Some of the buildings have been restored using furnishings from the era. During the winter, the park holds living history programs on Saturdays.
Fort Verde State Park is open every day from 8:00 to 4:30 pm, except on Christmas. The cost of admission is $2.00 for adults, 12 – 17 years of age are $1.00 and children under 12 are free. There are discounts for group tours. For more information, you may call 520-567-3275.
You can get to Fort Verde State Park from Camp Verde by taking Main Street north. Then turn east onto Hollamon Street. You can get to Fort Verde State Park from Phoenix or Tucson by taking Interstate 17 north out of town. Continue to head north toward Flagstaff, yet before you get to Flagstaff you will see Exit 285 for Camp Verde. Take the exit and head east to Main Street. Travel on Main Street north to Hollamon. Street. When you come to Hollamon Street, head east until you come to the Park. If you are coming from Flagstaff, take Interstate 17 south out of town to Camp Verde. Take the exit 289 for Camp Verde. Then, travel down Montezuma Castle Highway, which turns into Main Street. Then turn east onto Hollamon Street. Fort Verde State Park is located at 125 Hollamon Street, in downtown Camp Verde. It is approximately three miles from the Interstate 17.
There is a lot to take in at Fort Verde State Park. You should plan on at least an hour stay.
Visit Montezuma Well
Montezuma Well is a natural limestone sinkhole and lake. It was formed by a collapse of a large underground cavern. This cavern is filled continuously by a nearby spring. The sinkhole is 470 feet across and is only partly filled by a 55-foot deep lake.
During 1100 the Hohokam Indians used the spring for building irrigation ditches. Then later in 1125, the Sinagua Indians drew upon the well to sustain their life.
Montezuma Well is a unique spot. It is surrounded by lush vegetation, yet it is in the middle of the desert. The water from the lake attracts birds. It is a beautiful spot to visit. Visitors can hike a half-mile trail to the rim of the well. There are other trails that wind down to the lake.
You will not find a Visitor Center at Montezuma Well. There is, however, a Hohokam Indian pit house exhibit along the road up to Montezuma Well. Visitors will also discover a picnic area.
Montezuma Well is a part of Montezuma Castle National Monument. Montezuma Well is open every day. There is no admission charge to the well. If you have questions, you may call 520-567-3322.
It is located approximately 11 miles northeast of Montezuma Castle. You can get there from Camp Verde by getting on Interstate 17 and heading north to exit 298. Take exit 298 and head east, toward Beaver Creek Road. You will follow Beaver Creek Road northeast to the Well. You can get to the Well from Phoenix or Tucson by taking Interstate 17 north out of town toward Flagstaff. When you pass Camp Verde be on the lookout for exit 298. Take exit 298 and head east, toward Beaver Creek Road. You will follow Beaver Creek Road northeast to the Well. You can get to Montezuma Well from Flagstaff by taking Interstate 17 south out of town to Camp Verde. Before you reach Camp Verde, you will take exit 298. Take exit 298 and head east, toward Beaver Creek Road. You will follow Beaver Creek Road northeast to Montezuma Well.
McGuirevilleis in Northern Arizona. It is in Yavapai County. The town is part of the Verde Valley and is surrounded by the Prescott National Forest with Wet Beaver Creek flowing through it. The Verde Valley has scenic views of the San Francisco Peaks, the red rocks of Sedona, Mingus Mountain and the green valley where it sits. It is located off of Interstate 17, just north of Camp Verde with Flagstaff 50 miles north and Phoenix 100 miles south.
McGuireville is an unincorporated planned community that has traditionally been a haven for retirees. Recently though, families have been moving to the area because of the affordable housing and land. Today McGuireville’s population is 2,400, which is a combined total of the nearby towns Lake Montezuma and Rimrock. The climate is mild with a winter low Temperature of 25 degrees and a summer high Temperature of 90 degrees. The dry healthy climate and its proximity to recreational activities and metropolitan cities have made this community a popular spot to live.
McGuireville was first referred to as “The Station.” Eugene McGuire owned a gas station in the area that is now McGuireville. McGuire would service cars on their way from Camp Verde to Stoneman Lake. After a time, the name McGuireville stuck.
You will find several outdoor activities near McGuireville that are worth the visit. The Beaver Creek Golf Course is located in Lake Montezuma. This 18-hole course also has a restaurant. The wonderful weather makes golfing a good year round sport. Stoneman Lake is approximately 20 miles north on Interstate 17.
The lake is unique in that geologists have yet to decide if it is a volcanic crater or a sinkhole. The fishing is great. Yellow perch, pike, and sunfish have all been caught in Stoneman Lake. There is a boat ramp, but no camping area. Montezuma Castle National Monument is a cliff dwelling built in 1150. It is one of the best-preserved examples of cliff dwellings in the country. Montezuma Well is a natural limestone sinkhole. The Sinagua Indians living at Montezuma Castle used the well for a network of irrigation canals. This water supply was very important to their livelihood.
Verde Village is in the Verde Valley adjacent to the city of Cottonwood. It is 1,200 square miles in area, at an elevation of 3,300 feet, and is 101 miles north of Phoenix. Due to the mild climate Verde Valley has become a haven for retirees and recreation seekers. Verde Village was developed in 1970 and is unincorporated.
The varied scenic, historic and recreational areas of north-central Arizona (Verde Valley) are easily accessible from Verde Village. Jerome, four miles northwest, was once the site of the nation’s richest copper mine. In 1920, Jerome had a population of 15,000 which dwindled as the ore deposits were exhausted until it became a ghost town. Today, it is a thriving artist colony and tourist attraction.
The Jerome Historical Society operates an exceptional mine museum on Main Street, and the State Parks Board operates a State Park in the community. The 42-acre Tuzigoot National Monument, two miles northeast of Verde Village, houses three large Indian Pueblos containing more than 100 rooms that were occupied from the 12th to the 14th centuries.
Additional Indian dwellings can be seen at Montezuma Castle National Monument near Camp Verde. These ancient Indian structures are among the best preserved in the nation. The five-story, 20-room apartment is perched high on a limestone cliff. This dwelling was constructed around 1050 A.D. and abandoned in 1450. The Montezuma Well, part of the National Monument, is a natural limestone sink 470 feet in diameter and 125 feet deep.
The Indians diverted water from this into irrigation ditches for their farmlands below. Oak Creek Canyon is one of Arizona’s most beautiful, scenic drives. It lies on the northern edge of the valley and is reached via U.S. Highway 89A through Sedona.
Sedona is widely known for the beauty of its red rock formations and its reputation as one of Arizona’s foremost artist colonies. State Highway 89A follows Oak Creek through this beautiful canyon to Flagstaff. Red, yellow and white rock form the canyon walls, while trees in the canyon provide one of Arizona’s most beautiful fall foliage displays.