The Wupatki National Monument is another one of those “stare in complete awe” dwellings.  You can’t help but lose yourself in the natural curiosity of “How in the world did these people do this?”.  The truth is the Puebloan people came together in the 1100’s to build Wupatki, which means “Tall House” in the Hopi language.  Wupatki is a very suitable name considering the structure itself was comprised of more than 1 story and 100 rooms including a ball court and a community room.  That alone also makes this the largest building within 50 miles of the area.  That’s pretty crazy to think that the largest structure in a 50 mile radius was created in the 1100’s.

The Puebloans were able to have a sustainable life here because of the Sunset Crater Volcano blanketing the area with ash.  This layer absorbed moisture and helped to prevent the evaporation.  With the volcanic eruption it also created a climate change that produced more rainfall for the growing season.  However, this did not last long as it is recorded that by 1250 the area had been abandoned.

wupatki national monument
wupatki trash room

When I visited half of the monument was closed down for restoration, so I was only able to explore the far side of the monument, but honestly, that was more than enough.  You could walk through the area on paved paths, get great pictures and were even allowed to go in to what they considered to be the area they stored their trash.

Another neat feature was you were able to walk around and sit in their community room and imagine the gatherings they held as families and a community exchange of ideas.  It was very nostalgic to just sit there in silence and let your imagination run wild with the breathtaking views everywhere around you.

wupatki community room

You might also hear about people talking about the blowhole here.  In theory it is a pretty neat concept, however, contrary to what the booklet said, I did not experience any blowing or sucking of air through this little hole.  I even waited around for like 10 minutes thinking maybe it wasn’t constant.  And when I google it you can see pictures with people having their hair blown all over the place.  Frankly, I was pretty disappointed and would probably return just so I can experience it.  If you are a curios person like me, click here to learn about the blowholes.

All in all, this place was great and very well maintained.  It’s hard to believe that it was abandoned so long ago and still stands so strong and beautifully.  It truly is magnificent what these people were able to accomplish with this monument and how they were able to create a life for themselves and their families.  It is admirable the amount of hard work and dedication all must have had to thrive in a time such as this.  And yes, you can get your National Park Passport book stamped here 😊

wupatki ruins

Fun Facts:

  • The Hopi people believe that the people who lived and died there remain as spiritual guardians
  • The main agriculture products were maize and squash due to the arid land
  • Wupatki became a National Monument in 1924
  • The boundaries of this national monument have been adjusted to include 35,422 acres (WOW)