A local “road trip” took us to Fort Verde, Montezuma Castle, and Montezuma Well.
Fort Verde is now a museum with a self-guided tour through the 1880’s era U.S. Army fort. Five of the buildings still stand and it’s interesting to see and envision daily routine in that time and place. From 1865 – 1891 Camp Lincoln, Camp Verde and Fort Verde were home to officers, doctors, families, enlisted men, and scouts. The park at Fort Verde is the best-preserved example of an Indian Wars period fort in Arizona. Here’s a short 3 minute video that explains the strategic importance of Fort Verde in the 1800’s and the significance of the town of Camp Verde in the Forts continued existance.
We then went on up the road about 6 miles to Montezuma Castle National Monument. When I first heard/saw reference to the “castle”, I expected it might be a big building, but had no idea who might’ve lived there. What we found was fascinating – a community built into the side of large limestone cliffs. Montezuma Castle provided shelter from the elements to the local inhabitants in the 1400’s. The cliffs provided 3 walls, a floor and a roof while the occupants could build interior adobe walls and multiple floor levels. Their hunting and farming was down below near the Beaver Creek running adjacent to the cliffs.
After visiting the Castle, we went on up the road to Montezuma Well. Here, there is another cliff dwelling along with a large “sinkhole” of sorts filled by a spring. We walked the rim of the well and then went on down to the spring (where it was about 20 degrees cooler) and enjoyed the cool, clear water running from the spring along a small stream into the well.
Here’s a short video of the stream of cool, clear water that runs from the spring and feeds the well.