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Explore / history / early history

Wupatki National Monument

Historic Pueblos


2 Cool Lizards travel guide

Wupatki National Monument can be reached by Scenic Loop Drive, near Flagstaff. The monument consists of 5 pueblos. Drive the entire Scenic Loop Drive for spectacular views of the Bonita Lava Flow, painted desert, wildflowers and ponderosa pine. Visit Wupatki Ruins on the north end, and Sunset Crater's Lava Flow Trail on the south end.


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Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument are both located on Loop Road. Loop Road turns east off Hwy 89 approximately 12 miles north of Flagstaff, runs through Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, then heads north and passes through Wupatki National Monument before heading west to meet back up with Hwy 89. Scenic Loop Drive 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.

Wukoki Pueblo
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.

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).

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.

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.

I love clouds and the weather was in my favor the day I took this trip. They definitely created a magnificent backdrop.

Thunderheads form on hot summer afternoons, but do not always bring the badly needed rain.

Photo Below Center: Citadel Pueblo as seen from Loop Road.

RESOURCES
1.  "Wupatki And Sunset Crater Volcano." National Park Service: US Department of the Interior

Fabulous Reviews Of Nearby Places:
Sunset Crater National Monument
Lava River Cave
Petrified Forest
Walnut Canyon Cliff Dwellings
Meteor Crater


Lava Trail Sunset Crater
Wukoki (big house)
View of painted desert from Sunset Crater
Citadel Pueblo
ATV trail Sunset Crater
Storm Clouds


Directions


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 all part of the Scenic Loop Drive. Sunset Crater Naional Monument is on the south end of Loop Road, and Wupatki National Monument is on the north end of Loop Road. Loop Road is 35 miles long, and starts and ends on Hwy 89. Click the link below for more information.

Resources:

Wupatki National Monument: maps and information about park activities, fees, etc.

phone: 928-526-0502; website: www.nps.gov/wupa


accessible travel

accessible trail Sunset Crater Bonita Lava Flow
Accessibility
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.

Visit accessible travel for more information.


travel with children

Bonita Lava Flow Sunset Crater
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 climbing on pueblo walls damages them. Some railings exist, but falls could still occur.

Visit travel with children for more information.


travel with pets

Wupatki National Monument
Pets
Pets must be leashed at all times in parks and are NOT ALLOWED in or around pueblo buildings or on park trails.

NEVER leave a pet unattended in a vehicle; temperatures can be extreme in Arizona. ALWAYS clean up after your pet.

Visit travel with pets for more information.



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