|Distance||0.2 miles roundtrip|
- Climbing up a hill to a unique pueblo ruin
- Views of the neighboring sinkhole and surrounding desert
A quick stop along the main road through Wupatki National Monument brings you to another amazing example of the architectural prowess of the Ancestral Puebloans. Strategically built on top of a hill, Citadel Pueblo was a marvel of stonework and a defensive stronghold. As you climb to the top, you'll appreciate the impressive views and astoundingly flat and sheer walls of the pueblo.
To the right of the trail, you'll see Nalakihu Pueblo as pictured below, ruins named for the Hopi word translating to "house outside the village". Pottery shards found in both Nalakihu and Citadel Pueblos date to the same era, so it is likely these dwellings were inhabited simultaneously. The ruins don't look like much now, but evidence suggests that the building had two stories back in the day.
Dogs are not allowed on any trails in the park; it's best to leave your dog at home since desert temperatures can kill dogs waiting in cars. This is an excellent hike for the whole family since it is short and educational, just make sure to keep kids away from the fragile ruins and the edges at the top of Citadel Pueblo. You can visit during any season, but be prepared for wind. In the summer, temperatures can exceed 100 degrees and afternoon thunderstorms are common. Winter and early spring may bring snow, but not nearly as much as in nearby Flagstaff. You will likely see other people here, but turnaround time is quick since the trail is so short.
From Flagstaff, take Interstate 40 east. Take the exit for U.S. Highway 89, then turn left. Turn right onto U.S. Highway 89. Continue straight on U.S. Highway 89 for about 26 miles, turning right near mile marker 444, as indicated by a brown sign for Wupatki National Monument. Watch for a turnout on the right side of the road signed for Citadel Pueblo and park in one of the few spaces.
Google Maps Directions
Parking, Fees, and Facilities
Entrance fees cost $25 per vehicle, which permits access for 7 days to both Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. Interagency passes are also honored here. Visit the park's fees page for more information.
There are no facilities here. Continue to Wupatki National Monument's staffed visitor center for flush toilets and water in addition to educational exhibits and a gift shop.