Pithouse Ruin

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 350 ft.
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 3476 - 3479 feet
Cellphone: 2-4 bars
Time: 15 mins.
Trailhead: Pithouse Ruin
Fee: none
Attractions: pithouse ruin




The Pithouse Ruin is located in the Montezuma Well section of the Montezuma Castle National Monument near Camp Verde, Arizona. A short paved trail leads to a shelter that covers the excavated remains of a Basketmaker III era pithouse.


To get to the site find your way to the Montezuma Well section of the monument. As you enter the area there is a restroom with running water and flush toilets located near a grassy picnic area.


The trail to the Pithouse Ruin is just past the picnic area on the way to the Montezuma Well parking area.


A sidewalk leads from the roadway to the sheltered pithouse.


Within the enclosed area there are holes in the ground that would have held the upright posts that made up the walls. The two large holes in the center were for the main roof supports. After the site was excavated a soil cement was applied to the ground to preserve its shape and appearance.


There is a plaque that has an artists rendition of how the pithouse would have looked. The style is said to resemble that of the Hohokam pithouses that have been discovered near Phoenix. For a comparison you can check out the reconstructed pithouse at the Salmon Ruin Heritage Park in New Mexico or the one at the Step House Ruin at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.


The Pithouse Ruin is well worth the few extra minutes that it takes to explore the site in order to gain another perspective on life in the area during prehistoric times. At Montezuma's Well there are the remains of pueblo style dwellings, cliff dwellings and rock shelters that are examples of other means used as places of abode. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.