Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument are both located on Loop Rd (a loop that parallels Hwy 89) north of Flagstaff, Arizona. Loop Road is 35 miles long and drives through beautiful mountail meadows, lava flows and the Wupatki ruins.
Sunset Crater is on the south end of the loop; Wupatki is on the north end of the loop.
Wupatki National Monument contains the ruins of five pueblos: Wukoki Pueblo, Wupatki Pueblo, Lomaki Pueblo, Citadel Pueblo and Nalakihu Pueblo. The Box Canyon dwellings are located near the Lomaki Pueblo.
All are located near Loop Road except the Wukoki Pueblo, which can be reached by a short drive. It is well worth the extra time, but keep in mind that this pueblo is not accessible by wheelchair and pets are not allowed on trails.
I love clouds and the weather was in my favor the day I took this trip. They definitely created a magnificent backdrop.
Based on pottery and other artifacts found on-site, it is estimated that the pueblos were occupied between
1120 and 1210 AD. Hopi, Navajo and Zuni are believed to be modern day descendents of those who occupied these pueblos.
1941 and 1954 brought some stabilization and reinforcement construction to the pueblos; other than that they remain as they were in ancient times1.
Wukoki Pueblo: Aug 2007
Wupatki Pueblo served as a multi-story building. Construction materials included sandstone slabs, limestone blocks and basalt set with clay based mortar. These buildings have stood
for over 700 years.
Thunderheads form on hot summer afternoons, but do not always bring the badly needed rain.
Below left: Citadel Pueblo as seen from Loop Road.
Respect the area. Don't collect anything and don't leave anything behind. Do not climb on the pueblo walls or boulders around the pueblos.
Fall through spring is the best time to visit. Spring provides wildflower blooms and fall offers a display of colorful foliage.
As in all Arizona travel, bring plenty of water and sunscreen. There is not a lot of shade on these trails; so bring a wide
brimmed hat and a good pair of sun glasses.
Overnight camping is permitted at Bonito Campground, located near the Visitor's Center in Sunset Crater National Monument (located just to the south on Loop Road).
1. "Wupatki And Sunset Crater Volcano." National Park Service: US Department of the Interior
Traveling with children, pets or special needs
The restroom at the parking lot for lava flow trails (Bonito area) in the Sunset Crater National Monument on the south end of Loop Road contains
a large, accessible stall. There are no family style restrooms.
Wukoki Pueblo trail is somewhat accessible just far enough to see the pueblo, if your tires can handle sandy soil.
The paved road through the park provides views of the other pueblos.
Traveling with children Please - STAY ON TRAILS. For the safety of your children and the environment, keep your children on the paths.
Children love to climb; however climing on pueblo walls damages them.
Traveling with pets Pets must be leashed at all times and are NOT ALLOWED in or around pueblo buildings or on park trails.
NEVER leave a pet unattended in a vehicle. ALWAYS clean up after your pet.
Directions & Resources
Located north of Flagstaff just off Hwy 89. Follow Hwy 89 north out of Flagstaff for 12 miles. Turn right onto Sunset Crater - Wupatki Loop Road.
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument: maps and information about park activities, fees, etc.