For its time and place, there was no other pueblo like
Wupatki. Less than 800 years ago, it was the tallest, largest, and perhaps the richest and most influential pueblo around. It was home to 85-100 people, and several thousand more lived within a day’s walk. And it was built in one of the lowest, warmest, and driest places on the Colorado Plateau. What compelled people to build here?
Human history here spans at least 10,000 years. But only for a time, in the 1100s, was the landscape this densely populated. The eruption of nearby
Sunset Crater Volcano a century earlier probably played a part. Families that lost their homes to ash and lava had to move. They discovered that the cinders blanketing lands to the north could hold moisture needed for crops.
As the new agricultural community spread, small scattered homes were replaced by a few large pueblos, each surrounded by many smaller pueblos and pithouses. Wupatki, Wukoki, Lomaki, and other masonry pueblos emerged from bedrock. Trade networks expanded, bringing exotic items like turquoise, shell jewelry, copper bells, and parrots. Wupatki flourished as a meeting place of different cultures. Then, by about 1250, the people moved on.
Wupatki Pueblo Trail, located at the Visitor Center, is a self-guided tour of the largest pueblo in the park. Don't miss the blowhole, a fascinating geologic feature. The trail is less than .5 mile (.8km) round trip.
Lomaki Pueblo Trail is an easy .5 mile (.8km) walk to several pueblos. Wukoki, Citadel, and Nalakihu Pueblos are reached by short .2 mile (.4 km) trails.
Doney Mountain Trail ascends .5 mile (.8 km) from the picnic area to the top of the cinder cone for spectacular views of the surrounding area.
Individual - $5.00 for 7 days
Flagstaff Area Annual Pass - $25
Valid at Sunset Crater Volcano, Wupatki, and Walnut Canyon National Monuments. Admits pass hold and 3 adults (16 years and older).
From Flagstaff, take US 89 north for 12 miles (19km), turn right at sign for Sunset Crater Volcano - Wupatki National Monuments. The Visitor Center is 21 miles (34km) from this junction.