Arizona is one of the states with the most national monuments. If you’re looking for a bit of history mixed with some incredibly scenic drives, exploring the state’s national monuments is perfect.
1. Parashant National Monument (Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument)
Littlefield, AZ 86432 | Website
Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument is located in northwest Arizona on the northern edge of the Grand Canyon.
Drive a 4×4 along a lonely and rocky two-track road to the edge of the Grand Wash Cliffs. Discover a breathtaking solitary vista deep within the Grand Canyon. Mt. Trumbull offers respite in the shade of ponderosas. Touch ancient waters at Pakoon Springs in one of the world’s driest places. Parashant is far away.
There are no tourists here. Prepare to leave the pavement, cell service, and the twenty-first century behind. Scenic Drives and Viewpoint Roads provide access to some truly breathtaking views, such as this view into the Grand Canyon from Mt. Logan. This monument, like an endless outdoor playground, has enough to explore and see to last a lifetime.
2. Walnut Canyon National Monument
Flagstaff, AZ 86004 | Website
Walnut Canyon National Monument is a United States National Monument located near Interstate 40, about 16 kilometers southeast of downtown Flagstaff, Arizona.
Come look at the curved canyon walls. The former homes of ancient inhabitants can be seen among the canyon’s remarkable geological formations. The trails allow you to imagine life in Walnut Canyon while visiting actual pueblos and walking in the footsteps of those who came before you. The Island Trail, a one-mile round-trip hike, leads to 25 cliff dwellings. That’s pretty amazing. Bring plenty of water and comfortable shoes for climbing stairs.
3. Chiricahua National Monument
Willcox, AZ 85643 | Website
Chiricahua National Monument is a National Park Service unit located in southeastern Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains.
Chiricahua National Monument is a “Wonderland of Rocks” waiting to be discovered. The 8-mile paved scenic drive and 17-miles of day-use hiking trails allow visitors to explore the natural beauty, sounds, and inhabitants of this 12,025-acre site. Visit the Faraway Ranch Historic District to learn more about the people who have lived here.
This is an excellent location for scenery, hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. The trails are beautiful and well-kept, and the National Monument contains a wealth of history. Each trail is clearly marked, and each trailhead has interesting facts to read.
4. Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Chinle, AZ 86503 | Website
Canyon de Chelly National Monument is a large park on Navajo tribal lands in northeastern Arizona. Its most notable features include the 800-foot Spider Rock spire and towering sandstone cliffs surrounding a lush canyon. The area has been inhabited by several Native American tribes for millennia and is covered in prehistoric rock art. The White House Ruins and Mummy Cave are ancient Pueblo village ruins.
People have lived in these canyons for nearly 5,000 years, which is the longest continuous period of time on the Colorado Plateau. The park and the Navajo Nation collaborate to manage the land’s resources, creating an experience unlike any other. Excellent service, excellent food, beautiful setting, and very clean.
5. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Flagstaff, AZ 86004| Website
Sunset Crater is a cinder cone located north of Flagstaff, Arizona, in the United States. The Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument contains the crater. Sunset Crater is the most recent of a series of volcanoes linked to the nearby San Francisco Peaks.
There are several trails to walk, so I recommend visiting the monument’s website before going. One can drive through and see a lot, but I recommend parking and taking a short hike. The fact that the Lava Flow Trail has a handicapped accessible area with an actual sidewalk is really nice. This sidewalk trail provides excellent views of some of the cinder cones and lava fields.
The Lenox Crater Trail appears to be the park’s longest marked trail. O’Leary Trail is a longer trail that begins outside the park and winds its way through the park’s northwest corner and up to O’Leary Peak.
6. Petrified Forest National Park
Holbrook, AZ 86028| Website
Petrified Forest National Park is located in northwest Arizona. The Rainbow Forest to the south is rich in colorful petrified wood. The Rainbow Forest Museum, with its paleontology exhibits and numerous trail access points, is located here.
The petroglyphs of Newspaper Rock and the ruined village of Puerco Pueblo are located in the park’s center. To the north, the Painted Desert Inn, an adobe structure built in the 1930s, houses a museum with Hopi murals. Amazing location with amazing people and service.
7. Montezuma Castle National Monument
Camp Verde, AZ 86322| Website
Montezuma Castle National Monument protects a collection of well-preserved dwellings in Camp Verde, Arizona, built and used by the Sinagua people, a pre-Columbian culture closely related to the Hohokam and other indigenous peoples of the southwestern United States, between approximately AD 1100 and 1425. The main structure has five stories and about 20 rooms, and it was built over three centuries.
Several Hopi clans and Yavapai communities can trace their ancestors back to the Montezuma Castle/Beaver Creek area. Archaeological evidence indicates that the Hohokam and Hakataya lived in or near the Verde Valley.
It’s a great place to bring your family and learn about the Singua. Despite being a tourist destination, it is not overcrowded.
8. Wupatki National Monument
Flagstaff, AZ 86004| Website
The Wupatki National Monument is a United States National Monument located near Flagstaff in north-central Arizona. The monument, which is rich in Native American archaeological sites, is managed by the National Park Service in collaboration with the nearby Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.
In the early 1100s, during a period of cooler temperatures and wetter seasons, the forefathers of modern Pueblo communities established a thriving center of trade and culture. These sites represent the ancestors’ footprints for Hopi people.
The Lomaki Pueblo trail features three distinct pueblo structures made of local limestone and sandstone. A wonderful place to walk and learn about the first people who lived on this land.
9. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Ajo, AZ 85321| Website
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a United States national monument and UNESCO biosphere reserve in extreme southern Arizona, bordering the Mexican state of Sonora. The park is home to the only wild senita and organ pipe cactus in the United States.
A lovely park. The facilities at the campground are nice and clean. Ride your bicycle or Jeep through the park’s gravel roads.
10. Navajo National Monument
Shonto, AZ 86054| Website
Navajo National Monument is a National Monument in northern Arizona located in the northwest portion of the Navajo Nation territory that was established to preserve three well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings: Keet Seel, Betatakin, and Inscription House. A small visitor center, water, restrooms, and three self-guided hiking trails are available. It’s a lovely area to explore.
READ ALSO: 21 Indian Caves in Arizona (+ Ruins, Cliff Dwellings & Petroglyphs)
11. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Coolidge, AZ 85128| Website
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, located in Coolidge, Arizona, just north-east of Casa Grande, preserves a group of Classic Period Hohokam structures. Discover the history and stories behind a vast network of communities and irrigation canals. Casa Grande Ruins preserve an Ancestral Sonoran Desert People’s farming community and “Great House.”
Whether the Casa Grande was a gathering place for the Desert People or simply a waypoint in a vast network of canals and trading partners is only one aspect of the Ruins’ story. A self-guided tour is available, as is a small National Park Service gift shop.
12. Tonto National Monument
Roosevelt, AZ 85545| Website
Tonto National Monument is located in Gila County, Arizona, in the Superstition Mountains. The region is located on the northeastern rim of the Sonoran Desert ecoregion, an arid environment with an annual rainfall of about 16 inches.
Tonto National Monument is a great place to visit first thing in the morning. Remember to bring water and good walking/hiking shoes. Don’t forget to bring your camera. The view from the cliff dwelling is breathtaking. You’ll have a great view of Roosevelt Lake. There are two dwellings connected by trails. A nice place to bring a picnic and out-of-town family.
13. Agua Fria National Monument
Black Canyon , AZ 85324| Website
Agua Fria National Monument is located in Arizona, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of downtown Phoenix. The monument includes two mesas and the Agua Fria River canyon. A large rocky, basaltic plateau is decorated with a diversity of vegetative communities, topographic features, and a dormant volcano. This vast semi-desert mosaic is one of the most important prehistoric site systems in the American Southwest.
Coyotes, bobcats, antelope, mule deer, javelina, and a variety of small mammals and songbirds live in the area. Eagles and other raptors are also possible sightings. The Agua Fria River and its tributaries are home to native fish.
14. Hohokam Pima National Monument
Chandler, AZ 85249| Website
The Hohokam Pima National Monument is an ancient Hohokam village located within the Gila River Indian Community near Sacaton, Arizona. The Hohokam Pima National Monument protected 2,000 people in the village of ‘Snaketown.’
The excavation of Hokoham Pimas rendered the site visible above ground. The Monument is on the Gila River Indian Reservation and is owned by the tribe. The Gila River Indian Community has decided not to allow the public access to the extremely sensitive area.
15. Tuzigoot National Monument
Clarkdale, AZ 86324| Website
Tuzigoot National Monument protects a two- to three-story pueblo ruin on the summit of a limestone and sandstone ridge 120 feet above the Verde River floodplain just east of Clarkdale, Arizona. Water flows beneath and through this landscape, sustaining the expansion of people and towns.
Snowmelt, summer monsoons, and springs that spring up from the ancient sedimentary rocks all provide water to the Verde Valley. A thousand years ago, in the heart of the valley, people began to build a small hilltop pueblo that would grow into one of the area’s largest villages.
They allow visitors to hike around the ruins for about a mile and even walk through one of the rooms. There are several picnic areas and the trails are clean.
16. Sonoran Desert National Monument
Maricopa, AZ 85239| Website
Sonoran Desert National Monument is located in Arizona, south of Goodyear and Buckeye and east of Gila Bend. The Sonoran Desert National Monument contains spectacular examples of unspoiled Sonoran Desert landscape. The national monument is located in one of the most biologically diverse deserts in North America, and it captures a significant portion of that diversity.
The extensive saguaro cactus forest within the monument is the most striking feature of the plant community. The Maricopa, Sand Tank, and Table Top Mountains, as well as the Booth and White Hills, are all separated by wide valleys in the monument.
There are also three Congressionally designated wilderness areas, numerous significant archaeological and historic sites, and remnants of several important historic trails within the monument.
17. Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
Marble Canyon, AZ 86036 | Website
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is located in northern Coconino County, Arizona, just south of the Utah state line. White Pocket (high clearance 4×4 ONLY) is a beautiful, otherworldly landscape that you will have almost entirely to yourself due to the difficulty of getting there. Buckskin Gulch (rough road, but any type of car can handle it when dry) is easier to visit and is thought to be the world’s longest slot canyon.
Enter the Wire Pass Trailhead that leads down Coyote Wash and enjoy the petroglyphs on the massive cliff wall to the right at the confluence of Coyote Wash and Buckskin Gulch. There’s a great sign there demonstrating their enormous wingspan. Children will be especially impressed.
18. Pipe Spring National Monument
Kaibab, AZ 86022| Website
Pipe Spring National Monument is a United States National Monument located in the U.S. state of Arizona. The museum, historic fort, cabins, and garden bring the rich history of Pipe Spring and its flowing water to life as you explore the traditions of the Kaibab Paiute and Mormon settlers. Hiking the Ridge Trail allows you to see geologic wonders, plants, and wildlife. Visit our amazing ranch animals and attend living history demonstrations and talks!
A great spot to pull over and experience a piece of history. During the summer, they offer guided tours and living history demonstrations; there is something for everyone here. Check out the gift shop for a great selection of Native American crafts.
19. Rainbow Bridge National Monument
Powell, UT 84533| Website
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in southern Utah, United States, administers Rainbow Bridge National Monument. Rainbow Bridge is frequently referred to as the highest natural bridge in the world.
The bridge has undoubtedly inspired people throughout history, from the neighboring American Indian tribes who regard Rainbow Bridge as sacred to the 85,000 visitors from all over the world who visit it each year.
Please visit Rainbow Bridge in a way that honors and respects the cultures whose sacred sites it is.
From one end of Lake Powell to the other, it takes a 50-mile boat ride. The average 30 to 39 miles per hour. The park service provides restrooms, as well as a nice dock and pathway.
20. Ironwood Forest National Monument
Tucson, AZ 85756| Website
Ironwood Forest National Monument is located in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. This Ironwood Forest National Monument is 129,000 acres in size and contains a significant system of cultural and historical sites dating back 5,000 years.
The monument contains one of the richest stands of ironwood in the Sonoran Desert, as well as several desert mountain ranges such as the Silver Bell, Waterman, and Sawtooth, with desert valleys in between.
The monument serves as a passageway for illegal immigrants traveling from Mexico. Any suspected illegal activity should be reported to the BLM or local law enforcement. Stay safe by avoiding contact with people who are acting suspiciously or engaging in dangerous activities. On back roads, drive with caution and keep an eye out for fast-moving vehicles and pedestrians.
21. Saguaro National Park
Littlefield, AZ 86432 | Website
The Saguaro National Park is located in southern Arizona. Its two sections are located on either side of Tucson. The park is named after the saguaro cactus, which is native to the desert environment. Tucson, Arizona is home to the largest cacti in the United States. The saguaro cactus is a universal symbol of the American West.
These magnificent plants, found only in a small portion of the United States, are protected by Saguaro National Park, which is located to the east and west of Tucson. You can see these massive cacti there, silhouetted by the beauty of a magnificent desert sunset. Year-round family-friendly destination.
Frequently Asked Questions about Arizona National Monuments
How many national monuments are there in Arizona?
Arizona has 18 sites designated as National Monuments, more than any other state.
Which 3 national monuments are right by Flagstaff?
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Walnut Canyon National Monument, Wupatki National Monument
Do you have to pay to get into Arizona National Monuments?
It depends, the pricing is different for different places.