Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Wupatki National Monument

Wupatki National Monument is located east of Highway 89, north of Flagstaff. The Visitor Center is just nearly midway on the 35 mile paved loop road that connects Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monuments to Highway 89. I entered at the Sunset Crater end which meant much of the loop road was a descent for me. Part of the road crosses National Forest land. At least one spot near mile marker 12 looked like boondocking potential if the Forest Service hasn’t put it off limits.

There are unmarked ruins scattered throughout the Monument, sometimes near the road. The major ruins are clearly marked.

The Wukoki Pueblo remains were visible from nearly a mile away in spite of the blowing dust. The majority of the ruins in this area were freestanding masonry, in this case built on a rock. There’s a parking lot near the ruin, with a few spaces for RV parking. When I was there Sunday afternoon, I was the third vehicle in the lot.

This ruin, along with the others that I visiting here, have seen significant stabilization and reconstruction. I couldn’t find any available staff to ask about when the rebuilding was done, but there is lots of visible cement mortar in places.

I loved looking up this wall.

If you looked close, you could find finger prints in the clay.

The Wupatki ruin was larger and included multiple structures. It also included a lot more people and a lot more cars in the lot.

I was really impressed with this rock that was built into the wall, but as I looked closer, you could see lines where repair work had been done below the rock, including the wood post that had been trimmed with a chainsaw.

As I pulled in to the Citadel Pueblo parking lot I spotted this ruin and that – not much. Must have been what others thought as I watched a couple cars slow down and then keep going.

But if you looked up, you could see that the whole top of the hill was a built up masonry wall

on top of the lava rock that formed the original hill.

From the Citadel, you were supposed to be able to spot eight other Pueblos. I spotted four, including this one.

From here, I’m continuing northbound, bucking a very stiff quartering headwind, looking for cliff dwellings. I'm also looking for free wifi since I left our mifi home with BJ.

This post was uploaded and scheduled complements of the wifi (and coffee) at McDonald's in Kayenta, Az.


  1. Enjoyed the visit. Have passed through the area a couple times, but never stopped. Safe travels..

    1. That was our experience as well. We would always drive by saying "I wonder what's there." Now you know.