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Wupatki National Monument Travel Guide: 87 reviews and 326 photos


Wupatki National Monument is the sister park to Sunset Crater. During the times between 400 and 1400 a number of cultures occupied the Southwest. Kayenta, Cohonina, Mogollon, Sinagua, Salado and Hohokam all lived here. Scientists have determined relative boundaries through the pottery, architectural styles, villages and artifacts found in the different areas. Until the 1100s the area around Wupatki was unique because it was a frontier between the Sinagua, Cohonina and Kayenta Groups. Then in the 1100s favorable weather conditions made this area very attractive for settlement and the area became densely populated. Wupatki Pueblo was built in the 1100s. A strange mixture of Kayenta and Sinagua architectural styles along with the discovery of over 100 types of pottery make identifying the builders of Wupatki a mystery. It is believed that by 1190 at least 2000 people lived within a days walk of Wupatki. There are a number of other ruins you can see in the park, not just Wupatki. It is worth a visit especially if you have an interest in history.


If you are entering the Wupatki National Monument from the south via Sunset Vrater Volcano National Monument the first ruins you will come to are the Wukoki (Hopi for Big House) Ruins. Wukoki is smaller than Wupatki but no less impressive. Wukoki was built atop a Moenkopi sandstone outcropping. It was occupied from around 1120 to 1210, most likely by the Kayenta Anasazi Culture. Originally, there were at least six or seven rooms probably housing around three families. Wukoki was three stories high.

The Citadel

Another of the impressive ruins in Wupatki National Monument is The Citadel. The Citadel sits on another high outcropping commanding a nice view of the farmland below. The Citadel has another smaller ruin nearby called Nalakihu (Hopi for House Outside the Village) and is next to a large limestone sink where the limestone underneath the ground was worn away by rainwater and collapsed. There are many other interesting ruins in the park; but for me, if you only have time to see three; stop at Wukoki, Wupatki and The Citadel.

  • Last visit to Wupatki National Monument: Aug 2015
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (29)

Comments (3)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Aug 24, 2012 at 7:35 AM

    I don?t know why I have never heard of this NM before. It sounds fascinating the way they are trying to unravel which different cultures converged here and which ones influenced which others.

  • SAMRetired's Profile Photo
    Nov 7, 2009 at 11:26 AM

    Very complete and educational Mr B

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Oct 16, 2009 at 2:02 PM

    I was as impressed as you to see the ruins and the living culture back then. It is a great place to see the way they live presented in grand style at visitor center.


“As for me, I'll take the road less traveled.”

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