Tuzigoot National Monument preserves a 2- to 3-story pueblo ruin on the summit of a limestone and sandstone ridge just east of Clarkdale, Arizona, 120 feet above the Verde River floodplain.
Water flows under and through this landscape, feeding the growth of people and towns. The Verde Valley is watered by snowmelt, summer monsoons, and springs that well up from the ancient sedimentary rocks. In the heart of the valley, a thousand years ago, people began to build a little hilltop pueblo that would grow into one of the largest villages in the area.
From Phoenix or Flagstaff, take I-17 to exit 287, and then travel west on Highway 260 to Cottonwood. Once in Cottonwood, travel north through the town on Main Street. Just before entering the town of Clarkdale you will see signs directing visitors to the right, to Tuzigoot Rd.
Tuzigoot Visitor Center
This visitor center provides the first stop for visitors to Tuzigoot National Monument. Stop in to purchase entrance tickets, see the museum, and check out the Western National Parks Association bookstore.
From Interstate Highway 17, take exit 287 for Highway 260 west to Cottonwood. In Cottonwood, turn left on Hwy 89A (Main Street), toward Clarkdale. Past OId Town Cottonwood, go up the hill and turn right on Tuzigoot Road.
Tuzigoot with Tavasci Marsh
A marsh with open water, cattails, and a masonry dwelling beyond.
Tuzigoot Pueblo sits on a hilltop above an area perfect for farming. Tavasci Marsh provides water and other resources.
Tuzigoot with Snow!
4 foot masonry walls covered in snow
Even central Arizona can get a lot of snow! Check out the dwellings at Tuzigoot covered in a winter storm.
Tuzigoot with Black Hills
4 foot masonry walls with mountains and clouds behind them.
Tuzigoot was built on a low hilltop in the Verde Valley. The Verde River and Black Hills provided a variety of resource areas for the Sinagua.
A sunny day at Tuzigoot
A pueblo built by the Sinagua
The inside of a masonry room with wood posts supporting the roof.
Rebuilt in the 1930s, this room at Tuzigoot would not originally have had a roof. Today, you can climb through the room to experience the landscape that surrounds this enduring Pueblo.
Climate and Water Monitoring at Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments
At Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot national monuments, the precontact built environment reflects the importance of reliable water sources. At these parks, the Sonoran Desert Network monitors climate, groundwater, springs, and streams. Understanding changes in these closely linked factors helps managers make informed decisions affecting both natural and cultural resources. Learn about our recent findings in these special parks.
A stream runs past a pool in a riparian area.
2011 SCPN-NAU Student Projects
In spring 2011, the SCPN-NAU School of Communication collaboration began with a multimedia studies course focused on documenting park resources and resource projects. The class was taught by NAU professors Laura Camden and Peter Friederici.
2011 Student Projects
Streams Monitoring in the Sonoran Desert and Southern Plains
Because of their importance, streams were chosen as a focus for monitoring in the National Park Service (NPS) Sonoran Desert and Southern Plains inventory and monitoring networks. Portions of several major river systems (or their tributaries) are found within many parks of both networks.
Monitoring water quality from a boat
Wildland Fire: Defensible Space Created—Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot
The Zion and Saguaro Wildland Fire Modules conducted hazard assessments of park structures and infrastructure within Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well, and Tuzigoot National Monuments. They also reduced fuels near buildings to create defensible space around park administrative buildings, housing, and infrastructure from future wildfires.
firefighters work near a stone wall and propane tank in a desert environment.
Climate and Water Monitoring at Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments, 2017
At Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot national monuments, the precontact built environment reflects the importance of reliable water sources. At these parks, the Sonoran Desert Network monitors the health of Beaver Creek, Wet Beaver Creek, and the Verde River. The program is designed to detect broad-scale changes in ecological condition by observing certain parameters over time—and to give park managers early warning of any issues they may need to address.
Streams monitoring on the Verde River at Tuzigoot National Monument
Wildland Fire in Ponderosa Pine: Western United States
This forest community generally exists in areas with annual rainfall of 25 inches or less. Extensive pure stands of this forest type are found in the southwestern U.S., central Washington and Oregon, southern Idaho and the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Recently burned ponderosa pine forest.
Early Custodians of Tumacácori
Early leadership at Tumacácori during the New Deal period of the 1930s made some of the most lasting and significant decisions in the park's history.
sepia-toned photo of Louis Caywood in ranger hat
Southwest River Environments
In the arid Southwest, water means life, and prehistorically, rivers were the lifelines of the people.
The Colorado River flowing through a canyon
Transition Highlands and the Mogollon Rim
The Transition Highlands, or Central Mountains, consist of numerous rugged low mountains marking the boundary between the tablelands of the Colorado Plateau and the southern deserts.
Looking out from the Gila Cliff Dwellings
Climate Monitoring in the Southern Plains, Sonoran Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert
Climate is one of many ecological indicators monitored by the National Park Service (NPS) Division of Inventory & Monitoring (I&M). Climate data help scientists to understand ecosystem processes and help to explain many of the patterns and trends observed in other natural-resource monitoring. In NPS units of the American Southwest, three I&M networks monitor climate using the scientific protocol described here.
Kayaking across a fl ooded parking lot, Chickasaw NRA, July 2007.
Arizona: Tuzigoot National Monument
In the Verde Valley of Arizona, Tuzigoot National Monument features a Southern Sinagua pueblo and the Tavasci Marsh, a natural area along the Verde River. While the valley was more recently the site of several large copper mines, it has a deep history that goes back thousands of years. This history is just as connected to the natural resources of the Verde Valley as the mining operations of the 19th and 20th centuries.
National Park Service Commemoration of the 19th Amendment
In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment the National Park Service has developed a number of special programs. This includes online content, exhibits, and special events. The National Park Service’s Cultural Resources Geographic Information Systems (CRGIS) announces the release of a story map that highlights some of these programs and provides information for the public to locate and participate.
Opening slide of the 19th Amendment NPS Commemoration Story Map
NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Tuzigoot National Monument, Arizona
Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. [Site Under Development]
Series: The New Deal at Tumacácori
The grounds of Tumacácori protect a map of treasures made by men and women during the New Deal era of the 1930's. Will you find them all?
black and white photo of young men and truck in walled courtyard garden
Series: National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas
The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geoheritage-conservation.htm">geoheritage</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geodiversity.htm">geodiversity</a> resources and values all across the National Park System to support science-based management and education. The <a href="https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1088/index.htm">NPS Geologic Resources Division</a> and many parks work with National and International <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/park-geology.htm">geoconservation</a> communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available.
park scene mountains
Series: Defining the Southwest
The Southwest has a special place in the American imagination – one filled with canyon lands, cacti, roadrunners, perpetual desert heat, a glaring sun, and the unfolding of history in places like Tombstone and Santa Fe. In the American mind, the Southwest is a place without boundaries – a land with its own style and its own pace – a land that ultimately defies a single definition.
Maize agriculture is one component of a general cultural definition of the Southwest.
Series: SCPN-NAU School of Communication Collaboration
The Southern Colorado Plateau Network (SCPN) of the National Park Service has been partnering with the Northern Arizona University (NAU) School of Communication since 2011 to develop student multimedia projects that highlight resources and activities in network parks. This collaboration gives NAU students hands-on experience in creating multimedia projects and provides network parks with products that can help to promote their unique resources and scientific or educational project work.
SCPN-NAU student projects
The Heliograph: 2020 Edition
The Heliograph is the newsletter of the Sonoran Desert Network and Desert Research Learning Center. This issue features stories on how we adapted our operations to minimize field work lost to the covid-19 pandemic, vegetation mapping at Saguaro NP, and communication improvements and opportunities for network parks. We also probe the minds of our interns and celebrate a high honor for our program manager.
Person wearing hat and face covering sits near a stream with a bucket and net.
Surveying for Northern Mexican Gartersnakes (Thamnophis eques megalops) at Tuzigoot National Monument
A variety of methods exist for surveying snake species. We used two of these methods in 2016 and 2017 to capture northern Mexican gartersnakes (Thamnophis eques megalops) in Tavasci Marsh at Tuzigoot National Monument in central Arizona. This species was listed as federally threatened in 2014 and faces population declines, mainly due to habitat loss.
dark snake curled up in grassy area
Series: Intermountain Park Science 2021
Integrating Research and Resource Management in Intermountain National Parks
Group of National Park Service staff and volunteers standing in front of a desert canyon.
The Heliograph: Summer 2021
The Heliograph is the newsletter of the Sonoran Desert Network and Desert Research Learning Center. This issue shares predictive tools and planning processes that can help park managers make proactive decisions in the face of climate change. We also explore some explanations for this spring's highly unusual saguaro bloom, celebrate our staff members, and provide updates on our monitoring projects.
Saguaro cactus with blooms all over its top
Can't visit in-person? To help relax and stay grounded, we came up with fun nature-inspired yoga poses you can practice no matter where you are.
A Park Ranger demonstrates mountain pose at Tuzigoot Pueblo.
Find Your Park on Route 66
Route 66 and the National Park Service have always had an important historical connection. Route 66 was known as the great road west and after World War II families on vacation took to the road in great numbers to visit the many National Park Service sites in the Southwest and beyond. That connection remains very alive and present today. Take a trip down Route 66 and Find Your Park today!
A paved road with fields in the distance. On the road is a white Oklahoma Route 66 emblem.
Changing Patterns of Water Availability May Change Vegetation Composition in US National Parks
Across the US, changes in water availability are altering which plants grow where. These changes are evident at a broad scale. But not all areas experience the same climate in the same way, even within the boundaries of a single national park. A new dataset gives park managers a valuable tool for understanding why vegetation has changed and how it might change in the future under different climate-change scenarios.
Green, orange, and dead grey junipers in red soil, mountains in background
eDNA Inventories to Reveal Species Use of Sonoran Desert Network Springs
At nine southwestern parks, Sonoran Desert Network staff are performing environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling. By analyzing the genomes present in a water sample, eDNA sampling allows us to learn which species use a given area without the use of capture, hair snares, or cameras. The results of this inventory will help NPS staff to prioritize springs for monitoring and conservation.
A large tinaja set within bedrock walls
The Heliograph: Summer 2022
The Heliograph is the newsletter of the Sonoran Desert Network and Desert Research Learning Center. In this issue, find out how eDNA inventories may change what we thought we knew about SODN springs. Learn about the new technology that will improve our streams monitoring, and the lasting contributions of our IVIPs to projects across multiple networks. Get caught up on our latest reports and the status of ongoing projects, and find out what’s happening at the DRLC.
Two men at the edge of a marsh. One crouches. The other holds a long metal rod with a disc on top.