Montezuma Well is a detached unit of Montezuma Castle National Monument located approximately 11 miles from the park. Take Exit 293 from I-17 and drive four miles. No entrance fee is charged. There is a one-third mile loop trail that is not recommended for wheelchair use. A lush, shaded picnic area is also located at the Well.
Montezuma Well is a limestone sink formed long ago by the collapse of an immense underground cavern. Over one and a half million gallons of water a day flow continuously, providing a lush, verdant oasis in the midst of surrounding desert grassland. The waters of the well contain several forms of plant and animal life not found in any other waters of the world. This unique habitat is perhaps due to the constant input of large quantities of warm water that enter through underground springs, keeping the environment within the well very stable.
Prehistoric Hohokam and Sinaguan cultures took advantage of this source of water by irrigating crops of corn, beans, squash, and cotton. The rich riparian and surrounding uplands provided wildlife and native plants to supplement the agricultural products. Visitors to the site can still see traces of ancient lime encrusted irrigation ditches from past farming activity.
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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