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How To Visit Tuzigoot National Monument Near Sedona

How To Visit Tuzigoot National Monument Near Sedona

Tuzigoot is a national monument located in Yavapai Country, Arizona. It’s an ancient multi-room pueblo built by the Sinagua pre-Columbian culture between 1100 and 1450 AD. This monument is a great place to stop before the Verde Valley train ride and it’s open everyday from 8:00am-4:45pm.

In this guide, we’re going to show you everything you need to know about visiting Tuzigoot National Monument in Arizona.

Our Tuzigoot Experience

A woman walking into the Visitor Center at Tuzigoot
Kristen heading into the Tuzigoot Visitor Center

We visited Tuzigoot on a chilly day in December 2021 as part of an eight day trip to Sedona. After visiting Tuzigoot, we took a train ride on the Verde Valley Canyon Railroad. We hiked around the entire monument and explored the trail leading to the Tavasci Marsh. Read more about us.

It took us about two hours to visit the Tuzigoot ruins including the museum and walking trails. This guide contains our personal Tuzigoot National Monument photos and tips for your visit. If you have never seen an ancient pueblo, we highly recommend you add this to your Sedona itinerary.

What Is Tuzigoot?

Side view of of the ruins at Tuzigoot
View of the Tuzigoot ruins from the hiking trail

Tuzigoot national monument is one of the largest remaining pueblos built by the Sinagua people. While modern tribal divisions are sometimes hard to distinguish, the Sinagua are ancestors of the Hopi, Navajo, Yavapai, and Apache tribes.

Archeologists estimate this pueblo was constructed between 1100 and 1450 AD. Situated high above Arizona’s Verde River, this ruin contained at least 97 ground level rooms as well as a second story consisting of another 10 rooms.

It’s estimated that about 250 people lived in this complex. The ground rooms featured hatchways leading to the roofs with ladders. While the upper rooms of the dwelling had doorways leading through the side.

Originating from the Apache word Tú Digiz meaning “crooked water,” the Tuzigoot name was given to this historical site in 1934 by Ben Lewis, an Apache man who helped with the excavation.

Built in a prime location with access to water and bountiful flood plains, the nearby cultures produced water-intensive crops like cotton. This region in northern central Arizona connected many trade routes extending to the top of the Colorado Plateau, Central America and the Pacific Coast.

The Sinagua moved out of Tuzigoot in the mid-1400’s for unknown reasons, but there are several theories including overpopulation, depletion of resources, conflict, disease, spiritual beliefs and climate change.

Travel Tip: Tuzigoot is often mispronounced. It’s pronounced too-zee-goot.

Tuzigoot Tickets

In order to enter Tuzigoot Monument, you will need to purchase an entrance pass. The cost for this pass is $10 per adult and free for children 15 years of age or younger.

This pass is valid for 7 consecutive days and it will give you entry in both Tuzigoot as well as nearby Montezuma Castle. Be sure to save your receipts if you plan to visit both areas. You can purchase this pass online here or at the door when you visit.

If you have an America the Beautiful Pass, you will receive free entry into both Tuzigoot and Montezuma Castle National Monument. Similar to the national parks, you just show your signed pass for entry.

The visitor center at Tuzigoot is open daily from 8:00am4:45pm. But the park is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day. It also closes at 1:45pm on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.

Dogs are allowed at Tuzigoot National Monument, but must be on a leash no longer than six feet. Available services include a bookstore, and restrooms.

Travel Tip: If you want to have enough time to see most of the monument, you should try to arrive by 4:00pm.

Visitor Information

Main parking lot for the national monument
Parking lot at Tuzigoot National Monument

Tuzigoot National Monument is located about 2 hours north of Phoenix and about 1.5 hours south of Flagstaff. Many people visit this historical site as a day trip from Sedona because it’s about 30 miles southwest of town, just a few minutes off the 89A which makes it easily accessible.

  • Address: 25 Tuzigoot Rd, Clarkdale, AZ 86324
  • Location: Google Maps

Here are directions for Tuzigoot:

If coming from Sedona, follow highway 89A west for about 17 miles to E Mingus Ave just before Cottonwood. Turn right onto E Mingus Ave for 2.0 miles and make a right onto N Main Street. After about 1.1 miles, N Main Street will turn into S Broadway. Turn right onto Tuzigoot Rd after 1.0 mile and the right hand turn for the Visitor Center will be about 1.0 mile down this road.

Further Reading: Best ruins near Sedona

3 Best Things To Do At Tuzigoot National Monument

In addition to seeing the ruins, you can access three main trails on the property, but all visitors must check in at the main visitor center before hiking.

If you want to learn about the lifestyle of the Sinagua culture, be sure to stop at the museum filled with numerous exhibits and artifacts.

As of October 2023, the Tavasci Marsh and trails have been closed due to fire. You can check the official website for more information.

Hiking Tip: When exploring outdoors, be sure to always practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace to preserve natural beauty so others can enjoy the same environments.

Here are the best activities for the family at Tuzigoot National Monument:

1. Check Out The Ruins

Close shot of ruins
Close up view of the Tuzigoot Ruins

One of the best things to do at Tuzigoot National Monument is to explore the ruins. Unlike many nearby ruins, you can actually go inside the ancient pueblo.

If this is your first time at Tuzigoot, we recommend you take the Pueblo Trail which will lead you directly to the Citadel room which overlooks the entire ruin from the second story. The main trail loops around the entire circumference of the pueblo and then connects back to the visitor center.

2. The Park Museum

Museum in the Tuzigoot Visitor Center
The museum at Tuzigoot National Monument

If you are interested in learning more about the Sinagua or this region in general, stop by the museum located in the visitor center. This is where you can find many artifacts that were dug up during the excavation of the Tuzigoot pueblo. Some of these artifacts include:

  • Woven baskets
  • Jewelry
  • Sea-shells from far away oceans
  • Exotic minerals
  • Feathers of the Macaws

The 3,158 artifacts helped researchers learn about the thriving trade culture of ancient times because many of these items can only be found in Mexico and South America. There are several informative exhibits to help you understand the people who built the Tuzigoot pueblo nearly a thousand years ago.

3. Three Hiking Trails At Tuzigoot

Paved trails leading to the Tuzigoot ruins
The start of the Pueblo Trail

Tuzigoot has three self-guided trails including a pueblo trail, a marsh trail and a river trail. Below is a brief description of each trail.

  • The Pueblo Trail: This is a paved 1/3 mile trail that will lead you around the circumference of the pueblo with the option to visit the Citadel room overlooking the entire ruin on the second story. As you enter the pueblo on the far side, the path guides you through a few rooms and requires the use of some stairs to reach the Citadel room.
  • The Marsh Trail: This loose gravel trail is 0.7 miles one way. It connects to a 0.4 mile paved and gently sloped Marsh Overlook trail. This trail would be a great option for wheelchairs or strollers.
  • The Verde River Trail – This includes two short trails located next to the Verde River including a 0.6 mile loop or a 0.75 one-way trail running parallel to the Verde River.

Hiking Tip: If you plan to hike, just watch your time because the entrance gates are locked at 5:00pm.

Tips For Visiting

The remnants of Tuzigoot
A section of the Tuzigoot ruins

We’ve covered everything you need to know in this guide, but here are a few important tips to consider for your trip:

  • If you visit in the summer, start your day early to avoid the heat.
  • Read the displays found along the hiking trails because they are very informative.
  • You may find rangers on the trails to help answer any questions you have.
  • Take your time when visiting the site to fully appreciate the ancient history.
  • Use your America the Beautiful Pass to receive free entry.

We recommend visiting both Tuzigoot and Montezuma Castle National Monument including both the castle and well. It’s possible to visit all three historic sites one day.

Start by visiting the Montezuma Well first and then loop around to Montezuma Castle. From the castle, you can then go on to visit Tuzigoot National Monument or some of Sedona’s popular wineries.

When we visited Tuzigoot, we arrived right at opening time at 8:00am and we were the only people there. If you want to avoid the crowds, start early.

Best Time To Visit

A woman in the the Citadel room
Kristen standing in the Citadel Room

Spring and fall would be the best time to visit Tuzigoot when temperatures are cool. Arizona summer days are extremely hot ranging anywhere from 95°F to 110°F. Very heavy rains are common late June to early August during the early afternoon. It’s important to drink plenty of water and hydrate properly, especially in the summer months.

Tuzigoot National Monument is open year round. We visited in December and the weather was perfect for hiking at about 60°F. Visiting in the off season also meant fewer crowds.

Winter days in Arizona tend to have an average temperature of around 60°F with lows commonly in the teens. Snowfall is rare but is possible. Be sure to check the weather forecast when you visit and plan appropriately. You can check for weather warnings in the area here on the NPS website.

In Conclusion

Close up of some ancient pottery
Ancient pottery recovered from the archeology site

Tuzigoot is a well-preserved multi-story pueblo built by the Sinagua pre-Columbian people. It’s one of the best things to do near Sedona because you can go inside and climb to the second story to enjoy the views over the beautiful Verde Valley.

Is Tuzigoot worth it?

Yes, Tuzigoot is worth visiting because it’s the second best activity in Clarkdale according to TripAdvisor. The paved 1/3 mile self-guided Pueblo Trail circles the entire ruin making it easy for all visitors to access. It will take about an hour to visit Tuzigoot unless you plan to explore the other hiking trails.

More Historic Sites In Sedona

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Want more Arizona content? Head over to our Arizona travel guides to explore the best of Grand Canyon, Sedona and beyond.

We hope this guide to Tuzigoot National Monument helps with planning your visit to Sedona!

Please let us know if you have any questions about Tuzigoot or your visit to Sedona in the comments below.

Happy Travels,

Mark and Kristen

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