The sister site to Montezuma Castle, Tuzigoot (Apache for “crooked water”), is placed on a hilltop just past the town of Cottonwood, upstream along the Verde River. The main difference between the two sites is that Tuzigoot rests comfortably on a hilltop, not in a cliff alcove, and you can enter a preserved dwelling.
Tuzigoot was a community that had somewhere in the ballpark of 87 rooms on the ground floor, with some of those having an additional second floor. The walls of the former homes snake all around the hilltop, culminating at the top with a preserved abode for visitors to walk through. The design philosophy of the Souther Sinagua reflects their some of their cultural values: All of the remains were meant to blend back into nature once abandoned.
Inside the building, you can see wooden planks held up by hefty logs. Modern stairs and metallic railings help guide you to the roof, which is not paved with concrete as well. The view from the top is spectacular: The entire valley can be seen for miles upon miles. If anyone was coming to pay a visit, these people would know.
The population of Tuzigoot never swelled too far beyond 200, but it was inhabited for hundreds of years. Most aren’t sure why they left. Some speculate it was war, others that is was a depletion of natural resources, overpopulation, or maybe spiritual reasons. Most likely, the Southern Sinagua migrated northward to join other pueblo-living groups. Either way, they left a beautiful mark in the Verde Valley, enhancing, not distracting, the natural beauty around.