Tuzigoot National Monument

Written by on March 12, 2015 in AZ History & Heritage - Comments Off on Tuzigoot National Monument

Sitting in the center of the Verde River Valley is a hill, atop which the Sinagua people built a multi-room pueblo called Tuzigoot. From the roof, the view of the surrounding mountains is truly amazing and it is easy to see why these ancient people chose the site to call home. From almost any spot on the hill, the Sinagua would have been able to scan the landscape for visitors, enemies and food animals.
The pueblo consisted of 110 rooms including second and third story structures, and the first buildings were erected around A.D. 1000. The Sinagua were agriculturalists with trade connections that spanned hundreds of miles. They traded for food, shells, beads, rare earths used in creating dyes and paints … even parrots from Mexico found their way into the Sinagua dwelling.

The Tuzigoot ruins have been partially reconstructed, and the remainder of the stone was used to construct the Visitor’s Center, which houses the park rangers and a terrific little museum and gift shop.

The park rangers say they love watching the change of seasons. Spring brings wildflowers in profusion to the area, and during winter, the desert is cloaked in browns and golds. According to one ranger, the summer months bring an influx of rattlesnakes into the area, since there is a large nest nearby. Naturally, part of the rangers’ job is to encourage those snakes back to their native habitat when they crawl up into the ruins. One ranger said, “We use a curved crook and a bucket to scoop them up and return them to their home. The older snakes are so used to the routine that they’ll crawl into the bucket the moment they see us coming.”

The monument contains numerous species of plants, such as mesquite, catclaw, and saltbush, which have adapted to life in an arid environment, but what makes this area truly unique is the riparian (river) environment. There are tall sycamores and cottonwood threes, as well as the nearby Tavasci Marsh, with it’s slow-moving water, which provides yet another habitat for the great diversity of plant and animal life found within and adjacent to the monument.

The Sinagua abandoned their hilltop home around 1400, although no one is really sure why. Nearly all the pueblo people in the southwest abandoned their homes around the same time … perhaps due to drought or illness … but their departure remains a mystery.

Tuzigoot is well worth the time to visit, both for the history, and for the incredible scenery and natural beauty that surrounds it.

Other attractions in the area include:
Top 10 Things To Do In Sedona
Pueblo Ruins
Verde Canyon Railroad
Walnut Canyon National Monument
Top 10 Things To Do In Flagstaff

Tuzigoot National Monument
P.O. Box 219
Camp Verde, Arizona 86322

Visitor Information
(928) 634-5564

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