Montezuma Castle is the name given to cliff dwellings near Camp Verde, Arizona.
The park is listed as a National Monument and part of the part National Park System. It is located off Interstate 17 about 90 miles north of Phoenix. If you are driving north from Phoenix toward Sedona or the Grand Canyon, this is an easy stop along the way.
The Sedona area is at the southern slope of the Colorado Plateau. About 80 miles north, the Grand Canyon cuts its way through the plateau.
This area used to be under a shallow sea. The red color in the rocks comes from iron mixed in with the limestone and sandstone.
It is supposed to be about a two hour drive from Phoenix to Sedona. It took me more like three, but I stopped a few times along the way.
Arizona doesn’t generally get a lot of rain, so you don’t have the towering trees or the amount of greenery that you see in some parts of the country.
As you drive north from Phoenix, you also go up in elevation. You leave behind the saguaros and see more trees and, eventually, the red rocks of the area around Sedona.
Along the way, you pass by the Prescott National Forest to the west.
Here is a description from the United States Forest Service:
“At the lowest elevation, the primary vegetation is of the Sonoran Desert type. As the elevation rises, chaparral becomes common, followed by piñon pine and juniper. Above that, Ponderosa pine dominates the landscape.”