Wupatki National Monument

Wupatki National Monument

Quick Facts

Wupatki National Monument

Arizona

(928) 679-2365

Map Directions

Things To Do

     

Overview

For its time and place, there was no other pueblo like Wupatki. Less than 800 years ago, it was the tallest, largest, and perhaps the richest and most influential pueblo around. It was home to 85-100 people, and several thousand more lived within a day's walk. And it was built in one of the lowest, warmest, and driest places on the Colorado Plateau. What compelled people to build here? Human history here spans at least 10,000 years. But only for a time, in the 1100s, was the landscape this densely populated. The eruption of nearby Sunset Crater Volcano a century earlier probably played a part. Families that lost their homes to ash and lava had to move. They discovered that the cinders blanketing lands to the north could hold moisture needed for crops.

As the new agricultural community spread, small scattered homes were replaced by a few large pueblos, each surrounded by many smaller pueblos and pithouses. Wupatki, Wukoki, Lomaki, and other masonry pueblos emerged from bedrock. Trade networks expanded, bringing exotic items like turquoise, shell jewelry, copper bells, and parrots. Wupatki flourished as a meeting place of different cultures. Then, by about 1250, the people moved on.

The people of Wupatki came here from another place. From Wupatki, they sought out another home. Though no longer occupied, Wupatki is remembered and cared for, not abandoned.

Map of Wupatki

Latitude, Longitude: 35.583319, -111.405259

READ MORE

Activities

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Bicycles are restricted to the Loop Road.

    Much of Wupatki and Sunset Crater Volcano can be experienced by driving the 36-mile Loop Road connecting the monuments to U.S. Highway 89. Traveling from the south, stops include:

    * Bonito Park, for a view of Sunset Crater Volcano * Sunset Crater Visitor Center * Bonito Lava Flow Pull-out * Cinder Hills Viewpoint * Painted Desert Vista * Wupatki Visitor Center with access to the major pueblo * Doney Mountain Viewpoint

  • Hiking

    Hiking is restricted to established trails only. The backcountry of Wupatki is closed to hiking to protect fragile archeological sites.

    * Wupatki Ruins Trail from the Visitor Center, is a self-guided tour of the largest pueblo in the Flagstaff area. An infomative booklet is available identifying 17 stops along the trail, including a ball court, amphitheater.and the blowhole, a fascinating geologic feature. The trail is less than 1/2-mile round trip. The pueblo can also be viewed from an overlook (100 yards). * Lomaki Ruins Trail is a 1/2-mile easy walk with access to several pueblos. * Wukoki has a short (.2 mile) paved trail. * Citadel has a short (.2 mile) paved trail. * Nalakihu has a short (.2 mile) paved trail. * Doney Mountain Trail, signed "View Point and Lunch Area," ascends from the picnic area to the top of the mountain (1/2 mile) for spectacular views of the surrounding area.

  • Picnicking

    There is no food service in the monument, but there are picnic tables near the visitor center, and at the Doney Mountain and Lomaki parking areas.

Seasonality/Weather

Scenic drive, trails, and pueblos are open all year, from sunrise to sunset. Be prepared for variable and extreme weather conditions. Expect windy afternoons. Summer daytime temperatures can exceed 100 degrees. Short afternoon thunderstorms are common July through September. Autumn and spring days are warm and mild while winter days are cool with occasional snow & freezing temperatures. Best advice - dress in layers, because the weather can change quickly at any time of year.

The Visitor Center is open all year, except December 25.

Directions

Driving

From Flagstaff, take US 89 north for 12 miles (19km), turn right at sign for Sunset Crater Volcano - Wupatki National Monuments. The Visitor Center is 21 miles (34km) from this junction.

Flying

Nearest commercial airport is located in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(928) 679-2365

Links