Tuzigoot National Monument in Camp Verde, AZ, has history, friendly rangers, beautiful views and some cool ruins. It is a little drive off of the freeway, and would make a great part of a visit to Sedona or Flagstaff. This is what we were able to do with three little kids in well under 2 hours.
We began by meeting the park ranger about earning Junior Ranger badges. As a family, we admired the artifacts and counted the pots in the historic building’s one open room. Anyone not working on your Junior Ranger badge should still tally them up and ask the ranger; the number and quality are both surprising.
Next, we took a ⅓ mile hike up the hill to the ruins of the 110-room pueblo. We noted that the different types of rocks making up the walls—porous soapstone, jagged lava rock, metamorphic, and sandstone—had smoothed over time by the elements. All were held together by a remarkably strong adobe or mud, that though porous was still holding together 900-years after it was originally made.
To reach the Citadel, the highest part of the ruins, we took a steep staircase. There we enjoyed a serene view that the ancient puebloans must have enjoyed. From that vantage, I could imagine the ancient thriving farmland surrounding the Verde River and Tavasci Marsh.
We completed our Junior Ranger requirements and met again with the engaging and kind park ranger. She complimented the boys on their art and let them wear her ranger hat for pictures with their hard-earned badges.
Our visit was quick, but packed with activity and interest. I hope we can return in another season to spot wildlife and make the ½ mile hike we missed to a view of Tavasci Marsh. Have you been to Tuzigoot? What did you learn?
Jodee is a full-time mom to three playful boys. She was raised in the desert, educated in the Rocky Mountains, and the lived in Midwest before returning to the “dry heat.” She is passionate about learning, culture, and nature. When she isn’t shuttling her boys from school to activities, she is either planning out their next family adventure or playing Duolingo to avoid folding laundry. She dreams of visiting all of the National Parks with her family and to finding the cure for homework battles. You can peek into her life and family outings on Instagram @thatsmoxie.