If you're into ancestral puebloans, then Wupatki National Monument is the place for you. Actually it's just one of many places for you, but we'll stick with Wupatki for now. Wupatki is a Sinagua Puebloan settlement. The Sinagua Puebloans occupied a large portion and north central Arizona. Walnut Canyon and Montezuma Castle were additional Sinagua settlements. Take US Hwy 89 north from Flagstaff for 12 miles and turn right onto the Loop Road (Coconino County Road 395) to get to Wupatki. There are several ruins within the National Monument. I photographed 5 of them (1989, 2002, 2021).
Wupatki Pueblo is the largest of the ruins in the Monument. It was constructed in the 1100s and contained over 100 rooms. There is also a ball court similar to those built by the Hohokam Puebloans further south, and a dance plaza.
Wukoki means "big house" in the Hopi language. Wukoki Pueblo is located about 3 miles to the east of Wupatki Pueblo. It is built on a sandstone outcropping with a 360° view of the surrounding area. It had a 3-story tower and 6 or 7 rooms. Wukoki was occupied from about 1120 A.D. to 1210 A.D.
Citadel Pubelo sits on top of a small cinder hill. Its walls were built around the outline of the hill. Some of the outer walls have been stabilized but the pueblo for the most part is unexcavated. The pueblo is believed to have been constructed in the late 1100s. There are hundreds of smaller pueblo structures surrounding the Citadel.
Nalakihu Pueblo is the small sandstone structure at the start of the Citadel trail. Nalakihu is a Hopi word meaning "house standing outside the village". It had ten rooms on the ground floor and three or four rooms forming a second story. It was also constructed in the late 1190s.
Box Canyon Ruins
Driving north and west on the Loop Road from Wupatki visitor center you will first pass a parking area and trailhead on the left leading to the Citadel and Nalakihu Pueblos and shortly after come to a parking area on the right with the trailhead to the Box Canyon ruins and Lomaki Pueblo. Box Canyon ruins are located on both the north and south sides of Box Canyon.
South side Box Canyon Ruin
North side ruin (left) and Lomaki Pueblo (right) can be seen in the distance.
Lomaki Pueblo is located at the end of Box Canyon Ruins trail. Lomaki means "Beautiful House" in the Hopi language. The pueblo had nine rooms constructed from local limestone and sandstone. It was built in the last decade of the 1100s. If you're lucky you may find some Permian fossils in the limestone rocks around the pueblo (look but don't touch).
Background obtained from the National Park Service and other online sources.
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