Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Arizona, protects a large ancient ruin (the so-called “big house”) of the native Hohokam people in southern Arizona. It was declared a National Monument in 1918, but its federal protection had been underway since 1892 making it the first reserve for a prehistoric cultural site in the U.S.
Visitor Rating (write your own review below)
Better the second time around
Not impressive but very instructive
ILNP Park Review
Our Visit We’ve visited Casa Grande Ruins twice. Once in March as part of our 8-Park Southwest tour and again in October during a trip to Tucson, Arizona. In one day, we were able to see multiple ruins sites including Casa Grande, Tuzigoot NM and Montezuma Castle NM in March, and Casa Grande and Tonto NM in October.
Our Weather March was hazy and unseasonably warm at 85 degrees. October was clear and a hot 95 degrees.
Overall Impression Casa Grande Ruins is not as spectacular as some of the other ancient ruins in the area. The ruins are in the middle of the desert, not a scenic canyon, and the modern-looking canopy (erected to mitigate erosion) stands in discord with the crumbling adobe. While other sites may have more interesting settings, what makes Casa Grande worth visiting is the educational value. Inside the visitors center is a fantastic museum with artifacts, models and drawings of ancient Hohokam life.
Visiting Casa Grande is easily accessed by a detour from Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson. 60-90 minutes is enough time to explore the site, though you could hit the highlights in 30. Be sure to take your time in the excellent visitor center/museum and consider tagging along on a guided tour of the ruins if you have more time.
While the three-story “big house” under the canopy is the main attraction, take the time to walk around the entire village and try to imagine what it must have looked like in its heyday. This walk will also reveal some of the vandalism that occurred when the site used to be a curiosity stop for travelers passing through. There are other sites on the National Park property, but they’ve been re-buried to protect them and are currently off-limits to the public.
Suggestions If you’re planning to go to multiple ruins sites, this is a great first stop because of the museum that covers all of the ruins in the region and not just Casa Grande. You can view many artifacts, see excellent models, and even learn how natives played inter-village sports and used large mats to control irrigation via canals. This area of Arizona is often hot, so even though it’s a brief walk around the site, bring water.
Nearby Towns Coolidge, Florence, Casa Grande, Phoenix (Arizona)
Other Nearby Attractions Saguaro NP
Official NPS Website Casa Grande Ruins NM
Write Your Own Review