Insider's Guide to Montezuma Castle, Jerome & Sedona Day Tour

April 16, 2022

Gorgeous red rock scenery, searing desert vistas, ghost towns, and tours of ancient dwellings. This and so much more await you on the Jerome, Sedona, and Montezuma Castle Day Tour! 

For an epic experience through central Arizona, add this day tour to your itinerary. With so much to do in so little time, follow our insider's guide as we walk you through the must-see haunts of Jerome, the highlights of Sedona, and the ancient Montezuma Castle. 

This perfect sightseeing day trip includes stunning red rock country, sweeping canyons, and archeological sites nestled in this desert refuge.

Your tickets include an 8:00 am pick-up from your hotel, where a private SUV takes you first to the Montezuma Castle and the Tuzigoot National Monument. Then, this easy day tour continues through the mystical, old-world town of Jerome. Finally, concluding with a stroll down Sedona's main street for some art gazing, shopping, and a delicious southwestern lunch.

We've broken down this extraordinary tour to include the top must-see highlights and a few add-ons!

mountains

photo credit: Arizona Highways Magazine via Facebook
photo by Cathy Franklin

Montezuma Castle National Monument

The first stop on the tour is an extraordinary ancient castle tucked into a soaring limestone cliff. Just north of the lush Camp Verde and less than an hour's drive from Phoenix, Montezuma Castle is situated about 90 feet up a sheer limestone bluff. The castle towers over the desert below, just across from Beaver Creek, which feeds into the Verde River. 

Related Post: When is the Best Time to Visit Sedona?

Next to the Visitor Center is a picnic area where guests can sit in the shade of the large sycamore trees overlooking the creek. However, keep in mind that no food facilities exist at this stop. Therefore, pack a few snacks and a drink to bring with you.

Though the castle is too fragile for inside visitors, the monument is still an incredible spectacle. 

Pro Tip: Visitors can still discover the marvel of early architectural engineering by taking an online virtual tour inside the ancient ruins.

The natural alcove placement protects the monument from the elements, keeping it one of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in the United States. The tour stop lasts roughly 40 minutes and includes a walking loop trail near the ruins. 

Tours at Montezuma Castle

Guests can also take ranger tours from National Park Rangers. These tours last about 25 minutes each and cover information about the monument. 

limestone and sandstone ridge structure called Tuzigoot National Monument in Arizona, USA

photo credit: Tuzigoot National Monument via Facebook

Tuzigoot National Monument & Visitor Center

The next stop on the day tour is another historic pueblo that rests on a 120-foot-high limestone ridge. In the beautiful Yavapai County, the Tuzigoot National Monument traces back to 1100 AD. Plan to spend about 30 minutes at this great wonder.

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to Montezuma Castle, Jerome & Sedona Day Tour: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

The two to three-story pueblo had 110 rooms and is believed to be the home of the 12th-century Sinagua Native Americans. Mostly farmers and artists, the Sinagua people abandoned the dwelling for unknown reasons. Today the monument features a small museum with rangers available to answer questions about the ancient ruin. 

Pro Tip: Check out an easy 1/3-mile trail that leads right through the ruins to an overlook at Tavasci Marsh. Here visitors can experience panoramic views across the valley. 

Jerome – The "Wickedest Town in the West"

Jerome is packed with haunted history, museums, old-time brothels, and ghoulish apparitions! America's largest ghost town is 25 miles southwest of Sedona and about a two-hour drive from Phoenix. 

The tour stop lasts about an hour here, and Jerome is stocked with enough restaurants, coffee shops, and art galleries to keep you occupied. We've broken down this phantom town's can't miss attractions. 

Photo Alert: Stop by the Connor Hotel or the Jerome Jail to snap some shots for your Instagram feed. 

rundown garage with car and signs in Jerome Ghost Town, Arizona, USA

photo credit: Pam Kimsey Latham via Facebook

Top Five Things to Do in Jerome

Verde Canyon Railway

Included in your day tour ticket is the ultimate wild west mode of transportation. Nothing feels more like a step back in time than an old-fashioned train ride through the mountains.

Catch that old west Jerome vibe as you step off the train, reminiscent of the first town dwellers in the early 1900s. This working railroad just celebrated its 100th anniversary. 

Douglas Mansion 

No trip to Jerome is complete without stopping by the Douglas Mansion in Jerome's State Historic Park. Built in 1916, this one-time hotel is now a museum dedicated to preserving Jerome's history. If only the walls could speak; what tales would be spun about Jerome's mining exploits!

Related Post: Sedona on a Budget: How to Make the Most of Your Money

This majestic landmark features a wine cellar, billiard room, marble shower, and restored period library. The mansion rests on a hill and offers a full view of the abandoned mine, Verde Valley, Sycamore, and the San Francisco Peaks. 

Douglas Mansion in the middle of desert lands with mountains in the background in Arizona, USA

photo credit: David Finer via Facebook

Historical Society Mine Museum

This museum is small but mighty and filled with historic Native American pottery, jewelry, and ancient relics. Visitors can also discover old west artifacts and history about the once-booming mines and the citizens who built Jerome. 

Other relics include an original Jerome Chinese laundry machine, and the Colt pistol Marshal Johnny Hudgens used to gun down three vigilantes on Main Street. 

Museum storytellers relish in the town's fires, saloons, gunfights, and roaming spirits caught between this world and the next.

Gold King Mine

Gold King Mine is not your typical museum! But, just a short drive out Perkinsville Road, you'll find this extensive assortment of rare buildings strewn along the old Haynes Copper Mine. Ideal for curious minds, kids can hear ghost stories as they browse old mining equipment and check out the numerous chickens, donkeys, and rabbits on site. 

Other Jerome Day Tours

Historic Walking Tour

History buffs will be in heaven on this one-hour guided tour through Jerome. This family friendly-tour visits key landmarks and follows Jerome's history from its roots as a tent city to booming mine capital to a legendary ghost town. Guides share stories about cowboys, outlaws, miners, and gamblers who graced the town back in the day. 

Besides checking out the mines, the tour covers Jerome's ancient churches, hospitals, and the famous Spirited Ladies of Jerome's Red-Light District, which functioned as a gambling site and brothel until 1918. 

rundown house in Gold King Mine, Jerome, Arizona, usa

photo credit: Nicolas Breezy via Facebook

Ghost Tours

Tighten up your bootstraps and prepare to have some real-life fright. This is not your latest Netflix thriller or the Haunted Mansion ride in Disneyland; it's where the legendary wild west lives on in spirit!

Spooky fun creeps around every corner of this menacing tour. Visitors can even rent EVP equipment to uncover the paranormal movement that thrives in this little ghost town. 

Sedona: Your Sizzling Sojourn Awaits 

Nestled in the Red Rock Highlands of Arizona, you'll find the magical town of Sedona. With its mystic vibes and vortexes, breathtaking scenery, and renowned hiking, your energy will be instantly restored upon arrival.

Related Post: 15 of the Best Hikes in Sedona You Don't Want to Miss

Sedona has something for everyone, along with legendary shopping, dramatic views, and wineries. The day tour spends an hour in this desert oasis and includes lunch. 

Wide shot of Cathedral Rock at sunset with the sun shining on it in Sedona, Arizona, USA

photo credit: Andrei Stoica via Facebook

Other Attractions Near Sedona

Slide Rock State Park

Best known for its natural rock water slides, this park is packed with fun. After a long day hiking in the burnt orange desert, it will be a welcome reprieve to step into the cool pools of Slide Rock State Park.

These natural water slides and pools delight kids and adults alike but be careful! Do not try to stand on the wet rocks; crawling is much safer. You also may want to wear a bathing suit or shorts that you don't mind getting scraped, as the stones can be rough. 

rock formations with trees and greenery and rushing water in the foreground - Sedona, Arizona, USA

photo credit: Visit Sedona via Facebook

Vortexes

Did we mention Sedona has vortexes? The city is synonymous with them, and these invisible energy centers have been drawing crowds for decades. Some say the powerful areas have healing properties, so check them out if you're searching for a spiritual boost on your trip! 

Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and Boynton Canyon are the best-known local vortexes. This spiraling energy flowing from the earth should leave you invigorated as you gaze upon Sedona's breathtaking burgundy landscapes dotted with cactus and juniper trees.

Related Post: 8 Totally Free Things to Do in Sedona

What's more, Tripster's Grand Canyon & Sedona Day Adventure offers a full day of exploring prominent viewpoints of the magnificent canyon, the Grand Canyon Village, and uptown Sedona. 

people hiking down trail with red rocks view in the Coconino National Forest near Sedona, Arizona, USA

Coconino National Forest / Flickr

Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village

Explore the delicate arches and cobblestone paths of this outside marketplace and landmark Mexican Village. Located in the heart of Sedona's downtown art scene, this gem gallery supports local artists with open exhibits. 

The Village also hosts wine festivals, parades, fiestas, and holiday events for your entertainment. Here are a few Tlaquepaque annual happenings: 

Cinco de Mayo Chili Cook-Off

Held in May, this South of the Border bash honors Mexican history. Admission is free to this fun event with salsa dancing, great music, and delicious chili! Check the website for the dates!

Dawn of the Dead & the Mural Project

This fall festival features a celebration of life and remembrance as visitors are encouraged to paint their loved one's tribute on a 26-foot-long community memory wall. 

Lights Festival

The Village's signature winter event showcases holiday music, entertainment, and the lighting of over 6,000 luminarias at the tolling of the 5:00 pm chapel bell. Enjoy free apple cider and a visit with Santa at this 49-year-old tradition. 

Montezuma Castle, Jerome & Sedona Day Tour: What to Know Before You Go

Check the weather reports as temperatures can vary significantly during different times. From June to August, summer monsoons are common in the afternoons. Summer days can be scorching, with temperatures sometimes exceeding 110 degrees. 

Related Post: 29 Unforgettable Romantic Things to Do in Sedona for Couples

Secure your day tour tickets from Tripster for great rates. We have several packages that allow you to combine tickets with hotel rooms and other attractions to get the most bang for your buck.

Once you book your tickets, you'll receive an email. Show the email upon your arrival at the destination on your phone. 

Where to Eat in Sedona & Jerome

Exploring the Arizona desert can be exhausting! Check out a few of our favorites to help you stay fueled and hydrated: 

Haunted Hamburger in Jerome

If you're craving delicious down-home burgers and crispy fries, this haunt will not only please your taste buds but could give you a shock or two. Some patrons have experienced paranormal activity -so don't say we didn't warn you! Guests can also sit outside on the patio and check out the spectacular mountain views. 

exterior of Haunted Hamburger restaurant during daytime with skelleton decorations in Jerome, Arizona, USA

photo credit: Haunted Hamburger via Facebook

Rotten Johnny's Wood-Fired Pizza 

Who doesn't enjoy a delicious wood-fired pizza cooked to perfection! The amazing thin crust, delicious sandwiches, and salads are simply irresistible!

This chill pizzeria also offers chicken wings, shrimp, and salad. Stop by for Rotten Hour! Rotten Johnny's weekly special every Monday through Thursday from  2-5 pm. $2 off alcohol and appetizers, plus $3 off all pizzas!

Hideaway House

This rustic Italian gem offers three open-air patios in a romantic setting. The "Country Italian Restaurant with a View" is Sedona's new favorite eatery. Try the Italian Grinder for lunch; a sammy made with fresh salami, capicola, prosciutto, and roasted garlic aioli on a grilled ciabatta.

Related Post: 12 Most Romantic Restaurants in Sedona

Try the shrimp and gnocchi entrée, grilled fresh salmon, or the chicken pesto Pomodoro for dinner. 

exterior of Hideaway House Restaurant with mountains in the background in Sedona, Arizona, USA

photo credit: Hideaway House via Facebook

Elote Café

If you're in the mood for Mexican, this is the place! Elote's is the ultimate gourmet Mexican food, offering brisket enchiladas, Mexican chocolate pie, and blood orange frozen margaritas to quench your thirst. The Café's street corn and fresh guacamole are also the talk of Sedona. 

The front of the Elote Cafe, beige walls, red and brick accents with a Rocky Mountain behind it and pink flowers close to the camera in Sedona, Arizona, USA

photo credit: Elote Cafe via Facebook

Rene at Tlaquepaque 

Rene's is French cuisine at its finest. The elegant restaurant provides continental cuisine, and fine wines served in a beautiful, sophisticated environment. In the Tlaquepaque Art and Shopping Village, this award-winning restaurant is perfect for any special occasion. 

Close up photo of a running fountain on the left with the entrance and sigh for Rene's in the background on a sunny day in Sedona, Arizona, USA

photo credit: Rene at Tlaquepaque via Facebook

Arizona is a magnificent natural wonderland. Sweeping vistas, stunning red rocks, vortexes, and a few ghost stories make for the ultimate day trip. It truly is a one-of-a-kind adventure!

From day tours to nearby attractions, hotels, and vacation packages, Tripster has the best deals. Offering a one-stop solution to your dream vacation. Grab your tickets today!

Have You Experienced The Montezuma Castle, Sedona, & Jerome Day Tour? 

Leave us a comment below!


close up of Erin smiling on a sunny day

Written By Erin

Erin Poche` is a Utah-based writer and editor for Tripster and contributing writer for BeyondType1. She also writes and edits for an indie publisher of fanta ...

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