It’s 5:30 am and the sun is starting to come over the horizon. I’m 45 mi from the closest city and surrounded by high elevation desert. Snow capped mountains can be seen in the distance. Suddenly the ruins of a pueblo start to appear. I’ve arrived at Wupatki National Monument, one of the most well preserved ancient sites in Arizona.
Dating back as far as 500 CE, the site probably saw the largest group of people living here, around 100 or so, soon after the nearby eruption of what is now Sunset Crater, around the late 11th century. Because of the volcanic ash and subsequent nutrients, agriculture boomed in the 12th century. The structures were likely abandoned by 1225.
Whether you want to hike, explore, or just drive through, this park probably offers you the best bang for your buck for ruins in the area, even though there are many other pueblo sites you can visit. It’s proximity to Sunset Crater Volcano makes it easy to spend a day in the area.
Closest Supercharger Flagstaff AZ 45 mi.
2650 S Beulah Blvd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
25137 N Wupatki Ln, Flagstaff, AZ 86004