Sunday, April 21, 2024

Yavapai Point and Montezuma Well National Monument

Distant Drums RV Resort

Camp Verde, AZ

April 21, 2024 

Our last two days at LDSP were spent staying put and just enjoying doing nothing...well unless you call walking, sitting, grilling and taking in the beauty something to do.  Late afternoon walks to capture the sunsetting is magical at LDSP.  The well known Superstition Mountains that grace the park all day turn from a dull brown/gray color to a beautiful orange/red color right before you eyes.  

Morning walks with Sally...

Late afternoon magic... 

Thursday was travel day.  

Sally settled in under my foot stool...

I enjoyed watching the beautiful scenery...

and Joe did his thing managing the ups and downs, twists and turns of the highway.

We are now all settled in at Distant Drums with a nice pull-in site.  We face west...I am happy ! 

And Sally is happy...she has grass.

The down side...the afternoon breeze has blown the Cottonwood tree's fluffy white seeds everywhere.  The tree is huge and about three sites down from us.

It looks like it is snowing.  The seeds stick to our clothes and in our...well, my hair and Sally's nose and the AC intake.    

It's very much worth the mess.

So, what have we done the past couple of days.  Friday was errands to restock veggies and dairy products, but not without a stop for maps at the Ranger Station/Visitor Center and a fun stop at Son-Silver first...both located on State Route 179.   Even though we have visited Camp Verde several times during the past years, we have not stopped by the VC since April 2014...our first visit to the area.  We took a few minutes to study the exhibits.  

This was my favorite display.  

It began with the footprints of a tiny field mouse and ended with these of the bear. When you flip the card there is lots of info about the animal.  And yes, that is the bear's poop!  

A favorite scenic drive is Red Rock Scenic Byway...also known as State Route 179. This byway is less than 8 miles from the interstate and ends within the Sedona city limits. There are many hiking/biking trails and parking areas along the road.  There are also beautiful up close and personal red rocks.  

Bell Rock and The Courthouse

Son-Silver is just fun and I can not imagine coming here and not going there.  

Saturday was hiking day.  Our choice for parking was Yavapai Point.  We combined the Yavapai Vista, Basalt, and Slim Shady Trails for a nice 2.5 miles.  

Lots of big views to take in along the trail...


And lots of little things too.

The creamy color of cliff rose...

Blue/gray Juniper berries...

Red and green Manzanita bushes

And dainty little daisies that put a smile on my face.

On the way home we made a stop at Montezuma Well National Monument.  It's a new stop for us and just like Montezuma Castle, which we visited for the first time in the fall of 2022, we were glad we did.  

The first POI is the ruins of a pithouse that was discovered here in 1958.  It took three weeks to excavate this site. 



The two larger holes in the middle of the dirt floor held the main roof support timbers and the smaller holes around the edge reveal the outline of the house where the wall posts were placed in the ground.  The entry is the  small extended section on the right. 

The pithouse was built around 1050 AD by farming families who used the resources on hand for either a multi family home or a community structure. 

Montezuma Well is really not a well and Montezuma was never here so why it is called Montezuma Well is a mystery to me.  None the less, it is an amazing piece of history from years gone by.  It's a nice paved walk up to the well.  As with he castle we did not know what to expect and were quite surprised.  The "well" is a limestone sinkhole that is continuously fed with water from an underground spring.  

The "well" measures 386 feet in diameter from rim to rim and measures 55 feet deep.   More than a million gallons of water a day flow into the well.  To date, the source of the water has not been discovered.  The "well" with its unique geology and primordial origins provides refuge to species of animals and plants found nowhere else in the world.   

Near the top of the ridge is a cliff dwelling...

A downhill spur trail close by has two POIs.   

The water in the "well" exits thru an underground side cave.   First, you can see the spring that flows from the well.  The water from the well that exits here has been used for many, many years by the people who lived here for irrigation and is still used for that today.  

A few more steps down the second POI is another dwelling site.  

The graffiti you see in the photo was by a photographer who left his advertisement for business there in 1818.  He was a photographer...go figure!  

The graffiti in the photo was left in 1896 by Duke Heflin...

Further along the main trail is one more spur trail that goes to the creek, the outlet, and the canal used for irrigation by the early inhabitants who lived here.  

The narrow walk that hugged the cliff made it difficult to get a photo of the creek, but the sound of the running water was music to my ears.

Wet Beaver Creek is a tributary of the Verde River.

The outlet flows into Wet Beaver Creek.

The man-made canal for irrigating.

The up shot by the creek...

The down shot by the small canal...

Today was a stay at home with Sally day, reading, napping, and blogging kind of a day.  

Hope you have a great week.  Until next time, 

Yavapai Vista Trail

One of the spur trails at Montezuma Well



  1. On a trip to Montezuma Well there was an exhibit of the blind albino shrimp that live in its depths. Pretty unique critters live in and around the well. You are certainly finding fun stops on your outing.

    1. Good morning Jeff…we missed that exhibit of the shrimp, but saw photos on a kiosk which described some of the living things in the well. The leeches did it for me…😬. We have been visiting this are for 10 years and I can’t believe we never stopped there until now.

  2. I love your way of traveling--no hurry, lots of easy hiking, beautiful photos--perfect. And time spent with furry friends! Cottonwood fluff--a pain--we have lots of cottonwood trees along our creek in Montana. We so enjoyed visiting Montezuma Well and Montezuma Castle--some of the first southwest ruins we ever visited. We have always thought we could live in the Camp Verde area--but now we would have to win the lottery!

    1. Good morning Janna…I’m enjoying our new way of traveling too. When full-timing, we always had an agenda and were always busy…really busy… to see everything we could during a stay. These days it’s very different. We really enjoyed both the castle and the well. The old dwellings are their history always takes my mind on a journey of how people lived and survived and how they depended on each other in this world. It is amazing the amount of water that flows into the well everyday and the importance it still has in Verde Valley.

  3. Nice that you took some time to just "be" there, and absorb the beauty all around you. Well, except for the darn cottonwood puffs! Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well were two of the very first places we explored in our early travels (70's). Thanks for reminding us of those days!

    1. Hi Sue…we have both decided that just “being” there is a great way to roll. I don’t really know why we didn’t explore the castle and well in all the years we have been here. I guess hiking was at the top of the list and we never took the time. We enjoyed both!

  4. Glad you could revisit both Montezuma's Castle and Well. It was a reminder of what we saw back when the nearby Highway was being expanded.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. Hi Rick…this is a beautiful part of Arizona and rich in history. Glad we went to explore both the castle and the well and I am very happy both are national monuments and protected.

  5. What a great preview of our visit next month - although we'll be at Verde Ranch instead. We're there three days and hoping it's not too hot by the time we're there. Gorgeous pics, love all the red rock. Son-Silver looks like so much fun!!

    1. Hi Jodee...thank you! I will keep my fingers crossed for you for some cool temps...there is a lot to see and do. It is beautiful country for sure!

  6. We really enjoyed Montezuma's Castle and Well. The canal was so such an amazing task. Your second photo is meant to be enlarge and hung on a wall. Spectacular! Sally in the grass looks like a stuffed teddy bear. So sweet. Looks like a great time.

    1. Thank you Pam…Joe says the same thing about that photo. I’ll have projects when I get home! And Sweet Sally says thank you too. As much as I miss Dover and Jack, I am glad to have just Sally time. She is pushing 18 years old.