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Montezuma's Well National Monument, AZ
Written: Apr 24, 2012
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Nice sight to visit. The water, the ruins the walk I liked it all.
Cons:No visitor center.
The Bottom Line: I strongly recommend visiting Montezuma's Well and if there has to be a choice of one over the other, check out the well even if that means no Visitor's Center.
Montezuma's Well is better named than Montezuma's Castle. Both are National Monuments that were inhabited by the same people the Sinaqua peoples who lived these lands at the beginning of AD time until the 1400s.
Both, however, have no reason to be named Montezuma for it's a falicy that they were part of the Aztec Empire as those who named believed. Also, the castle is not a castle, it was a structure that had a series of homes built into a cliff wall. The well however was much better named because it indeed is fed by underground springs and therefore is a well.
Well that's what I was told in so many words by Ranger Ryan.
The Well is about ten miles north of Montezuma's Castle.
Right away I could see that this annex site is not equipped for crowds. There's a small parking area and very basic facilities with just a small post house to do business from.
It has no Visitors Center, actually the it's part of the Montezuma Castle Monument, but the day we were there we were greeted by a very knowledgeable fellow, Ryan, who was interesting and quite eager to share what he could but not in an overbearing or boring way. The well was formed into a collapsed limestone cavern. It's some 350 feet across and in an almost perfect circle. The water is well below the rim and along the cliff walls remnants of cliff dwellings can easily be viewed.
There's also a walk down to water level where more ruins can be found.
Personally I found Montezuma's Well much more interesting than its counterpart the "Castle." The walk up takes but a couple of minutes and the view is beautiful. It's overall feel, yet of course much less dramatic and smaller reminded me in a way of looking down into Crater Lake when we visited there many years back.
We also took the rim walk around that brought us different perspective of the well. I started down the well cut steps to go down to water level but Carolyn was uncomfortable without handrails and such. What I saw from some 50 feet down (it goes further) was remarkable as the cliffs started to loom above and the vegetation swallowed me from Carolyn's view.
I really would have liked to have investigated more but we are in partnership when on such treks. If one is out, we are both out.
I was very pleased that even though there was no VC they did have a stamp in the small booth so I could add this Monument to the others I have in my Passport To National Parks Book. I was disappointed however that though I checked in the "Castle" VC they did not carry an embroidered patch for the "Well."
I strongly recommend visiting Montezuma's Well and if there happens to be a choice of one over the other, check out the well even if that means no time in the Visitors Center.
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