Montezuma Well, a natural limestone sinkhole also containing Sinagua dwellings used sometime between 1100 and 1400 AD, was purchased by the federal government in 1947 and is considered a detached unit of Montezuma Castle National Monument. I just published a blog on that. Boasting a unique ecosystem and oasis-like environment, Montezuma Well is 368 feet wide with a consistent depth of fifty-five feet and 74 degrees warm. This natural limestone sinkhole is continuously fed over 1,400,000 gallons of water per day by underground springs. The water emerges from the well into an irrigation ditch on the opposite side before flowing into Beaver Creek. Water from the Well is highly carbonated due to high levels of carbon dioxide. The temperature difference at the outlet can be up to 20 degrees cooler than the water along the rim of the Well. With very little oxygen and high amounts of carbon dioxide, fish cannot live there. A tiny crustacean that looks like a small shrimp feeds near the center of the Well during the day. At night, they are hunted by leeches. The leeches do not suck their blood, they eat the crustaceans. The crustaceans try to escape by fleeing to the surface and toward the water's edge where they must remain until daylight being very still to avoid being eaten by another predator, the water scorpion. These three are the only forms of life found in this water.
The legacy of the Sinagua culture surrounds you with cliff dwellings perched along the rim to large pueblo ruins and an ancient pit house.
This pithouse dates to about 1050. The two largest holes in the dirt floor held the main roof support timbers. The holes around the edge are where the wall posts were placed in the ground.
This is a depiction of what the pithouse would have looked like.
Take your time as you explore the trails at Montezuma Well and discover the tranquility of a site still considered sacred by many local tribes.
It is an easy walk from the rim of the Well down to the irrigation ditch. Once there, it is hard to leave this cool, tranquil place. If you are lucky, you may encounter a gentleman who visits about three times a week. He moved to the area three years ago and clearly has a passion for this place. He sits quietly listening and watching. We were fortunate to have a conversation with him as he shared some of his vast knowledge about this beautiful place...its history...what he experiences here during his quiet visits. He lets go the magic and the magic gives back.