National Monuments in Arizona

National Monuments in Arizona
In addition to the Grand Canyon and Saguaro National Parks, Arizona has 14 National Monuments. Created to protect ancient dwellings, geologic features or unique landscapes, these monuments are scattered throughout the state. Most are relatively small and day-use only; check the monument's websites to plan your visit.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument

This unique monument preserves ancient cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloans, and preserves the modern-day culture of the Navajos that still live in the canyons. Located 3 miles from Chinle, the two scenic drives offer views into the canyons. White House Ruin is a self-guided hiking trail; ranger-led and guided tours provide access into other portions of the monument.

Casa Grande Ruins and Hohokam Pima National Monument

Casa Grande Ruins, located in Coolidge, features a "Great House" pueblo that was inhabited and abandoned by the Sinagua people by A.D. 1450. This is the largest prehistoric structure in North America. The monument is day-use only. Hohokam Pima, located on tribal land, is not open to the public.

Chiricahua National Monument

This monument covers 11,985 acres and has a campground, 8-mile scenic drive and 17 miles of hiking trails. The Chirichua Mountains are called sky islands, for they rise up from the surrounding desert.

Montezuma Castle National Monument

This 20-room pueblo, located high up in a limestone cliff, was occupied by the Sinagua people 1000 years ago. These desert farmers grew crops and harvested wild plants and animals for food. This day-use monument is located 45 miles south of Flagstaff.

Navajo National Monument

Located on the Navajo Reservation near Black Mesa, this monument protects 3 intact pueblos of the Ancestral Puebloan culture. Visitors can enjoy rim hikes, ranger-led hikes to the pueblos, camping, or back-country adventures to the Keet Seel pueblo.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Located on the border of the United States and Mexico, this 330,689-acre monument has a campground, hiking trails and visitor center. Many different cacti such as the organ pipe, night-blooming cereus, saguaro, barrel and chollas grow in the monument. Located 4 miles west of Why, this is one of the larger national monuments in the state.

Parashant National Monument

Established January 2000, Parashant protects wild lands on the north edge of the Grand Canyon. Wild and remote, this 1,050,963-acre is managed by both the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Pipe Springs National Monument

Occupied historically by Kaibab Paiutes then Mormon settlers, Pipe Springs is located 15 miles west of Fredonia. The visitor center, museum and Windsor Castle are open June through August.

Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument features a massive cinder cone formed during a volcanic eruption between A.D. 1040 and 1100. The day-use monument is 14 miles northeast of Flagstaff and has a scenic drive and short trails. Located along the same loop drive with Sunset Crater is Wupatki National Monument. Located 33 miles northeast of Flagstaff, the Sinagua people occupied the 100-room Wupatki Pueblo 800 years ago. In the 35,422-acre monument there are trails to different archeological sites, which include a blowhole, handball court and dwellings. Campgrounds are located outside the monument.

Tonto National Monument

This monument protects cliff dwellings of the Sinagua people that were occupied during the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. Located 100 miles east of Phoenix, the Upper Cliff Dwelling is only open from November to April.

Tuzigoot National Monument

This ancient 110-room pueblo was inhabited by the Sinagua people from A.D. 1000 to 1400. Located 52 miles south of Flagstaff, this 42-acre monument is a day-use area.

Walnut Canyon National Monument

Located 7.5 miles east of Flagstaff, Walnut Canyon was inhabited by the Sinagua people up to 700 years ago. Rim trails offer views of the sandstone canyon, as well as numerous archeological sites. This is a day-use monument.

Article Written By Damian Fagan

Damian Fagan is a writer living in the Pacific Northwest. He has written several field guides for the Globe Pequot Press and published articles in magazines such as "Bird Watchers Digest," "Moab Happenings," "Faces" and "Appleseeds." Fagan holds a Bachelor of Science in botany.

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