Wupatki National Monument

Activity Date: 

Situated in the rain shadow of Arizona's San Francisco Peaks, Wupatki National Monument was once home to prehistoric Anasazi and Sinagua farmers and traders. Today, this 54 square miles of the Monument preserves many free-standing masonry pueblos, field houses, rock art, pottery, baskets and tools. We walked the trails around 3 of the pueblo ruins. It’s amazing that they built these solid buildings ~800+ years ago. 

Our first stop was the Lomaki (“Beautiful House”) pueblo area.

The trail led around a small canyon with several small pueblo remains.  We saw a rabbit hopping through the bushes and a lizard sunning on a rock wall.

You can see the walls made of rock and mortar.  The buildings had very (very!) few windows. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but these two were built above a small canyon.

A little further on past the canyon were a couple more pueblo ruins. 

Here you can get an idea of the size of a room and the doorways. This room is actually rather large. Some were pretty small.

Jeff going through one of those small doorways.  Yes, Jeff is tall, but that is a small door. :)

Cynthia going through a different doorway - it’s a bit larger than the previous one.

Next, we visited the Wukoki ruins (the "Big House”).  It was large and tall and stands atop a huge boulder cliff. We took pictures, but they really didn’t work. Use your imagination. :)

Finally, on to the largest and name-sake of the National Monument - Wupatki. Wupatki (a Hopi word for “Tall House”) is the largest pueblo in the park.

People gathered here during the 1100s, gradually building this 100-room pueblo with a community room and ballcourt (yes, really! You can see it). By 1182, perhaps 85 to 100 people lived at Wupatki Pueblo, the largest building for at least fifty miles. Within a day's walk, a population of several thousand surrounded Wupatki.

It was really difficult to take representative pictures of the ruins. Here are a couple pictures that show the overall larger Wupatki ruin. The trail went around the entire building and out further to some small buildings, gathering areas and ballcourt.

I like how you can see the rainstorm on the right of this picture. The clouds were *so* bright.

Leaving Wupatki, we drove back through Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. We’ve seen plenty of volcanic areas, so we didn’t stop there. Although you can see the lava flows and the crater as you drive on through.