Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

Round Trip Distance: 0.7 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 1408 - 1426 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Visitor Center
Fee: $7/person
Attractions: Hohokam Ruins

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is located in the Sonoran Desert at Coolidge, Arizona about midway between Phoenix and Tucson. The monument is the site of a prehistoric Hokokam farming community where visitors can see the still partially standing runs of a "Great House" that stands 4 stories high. The Hohokam are known for the extensive canal system that they built here in the desert to supply water for the many farming areas that supported the large population of the area.

The town of Coolidge, where the monument is located, sits about 14 miles due east of Interstate 10. Any of the signed exits for Coolidge or Casa Grande Ruins National Monument will lead you there. The monument is opened daily between 9 am and 5 pm.

Access to the ruins is made through the Visitor Center where you can pay the requisite fee or show your parks pass. The Visitor Center has restrooms with running water as well as a gift shop.

A very nice museum is also inside where numerous artifacts are on display. Examples of the building architecture of the time can be carefully examined to help understand how the site was constructed. Artist depictions practically bring the area to life as though you had been transported back in time.

Be sure to yield the right of way to any of the local residents that you may encounter. This Mohave rattlesnake was enjoying the cool air coming from inside of the Visitor Center. But alas, a park ranger came along and took it away in a barrel.

Guided tours are given at regular intervals throughout the day. The tours are free of charge or, if you choose, you may embark on your own for a self guided exploration of the ruins.

The thick walls of Casa Grande were made by piling up caliche (ka-lee'-chee) mud, a natural cement, forming layers several feet high. The roof and floor beams were hauled from over 50 miles away.

The compound around the Great House had a perimeter wall with buildings located in places along the inside of the courtyard.

Across the parking area from the Visitor Center is a picnic area that is also wheelchair accessible.

From an elevated walkway the outline of an ancient ball court is visible. Small mounds of other unexcavated ruins form more of the village that Casa Grande was a part of.

A detour to Casa Grande will add about another 2-3 hours to any trip through the area on Interstate 10. It is possible to see everything in only 1 hour but it is much more relaxing to linger awhile. The drive back and forth between the interstate and Coolidge can take an hour all together. There aren't an over abundance of Hohokam ruins that are open to the public but of all those that are Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is among the most prominent. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.