A 40-acre national monument, with a rich history of different cultures hidden by the Grand Canyon, Pipe Spring National Monument is one of the most unique national monuments in America. Located near the Utah/Arizona border, Pipe Springs is one of the lesser-known National Park Service units in Arizona due to its remote location, but it is one of the most significant.
The spring has been used as a water source by humans for thousands of years in an area known for its dry landscape and extreme climate. Situated in a desert landscape, American Indians, Mormon pioneers, different plant and animal species, and a lot of other ancient tribes have depended on the water found at Pipe Spring. The monument was established by President Calvin Coolidge on May 31, 1923, to preserve the fort and other structures that were built around the spring by Mormon settlers.
The park isn't as well toured as its neighboring ones but it still offers a lot of activities to visitors. The region has great plant and animal life for visitors to explore and the serene environment makes it a popular nesting spot for birds. The Visitor Center also displays historical artifacts and explains the human history of the area over time. Visitors to neighboring parks should be sure to check out this gem as it offers a great insight to the region's history.
Pipe Springs isn't as exposed to the public as other parks in the region but is still easily accessible by road. The park can be reached 15 miles west of Fredonia off Utah Highway 89. The roads are dry but smooth and signposts direct your from the highway straight to the park entrance. Most of your tourism will be done on foot as the nature of the monument doesn't allow for free vehicular movement.
There is a campground located on Northern Pipe Spring Road very close to Pipe Spring National Monument. It offers 50 pet-friendly RV sites with sewer, water, and electric hookup.
Other amenities at the campground include restrooms with flush toilets, shower facilities, and laundry facilities. A small recreation area is nearby and a few trails for biking and hiking are available. Reservations are advised as the campground fills up quickly especially during the peak season.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Fredonia has a historical link to the monument. The first Latter-Day Saints in Arizona were the Mormon Battalion, and the church has had a strong connection to residents of Pipe Spring since its inception.
The church's links to the Mormons who built the fort have made the church a popular destination for tourists who want to immerse themselves in the history of the area.
Ranger-guided tours are offered through Winsor Castle, showing the ancient work of the Mormons. The fort was completed in 1872, built from local trees and sandstone quarried from the adjacent hill. There are ten rooms on two levels, facing in on a central courtyard. The structure is surrounded by a high wall.
The structure that still stands today is impressive and offers a fascinating opportunity to peer into the lives of the region's early pioneers.
Pipe Spring National Monument has an ecosystem of wildlife that have co-existed and relied on the spring for centuries. This ecosystem is comprised of various bird, mammal, and reptile species that have gathered here and lived off the spring since the days of the first settlers.
The monument is home to a wide variety of terrestrial mammals. Bighorn sheep are the most common mammals here, smaller mammals species like rabbits and desert foxes can also be found wandering the dry landscape. There are over 40 species of birds residing in the region including Canada goose, mallards, and warblers.
The monument may be surrounded by desert landscape, but the region has an impressive plant life. Despite the presence of herbivores like deer and bighorn sheep, the plant life around the monument is still booming. Dessert globemallow, rice grass, sand dropseed, and galleta all grow abundantly in this area.
Most of the region's more valuable plant life have become rare due to the fact that many humans and cattle have inhabited the area in previous centuries.
Pipe Spring National Monument has a Junior Ranger Program, a family friendly activity that gives your kids the opportunity to have some fun time with their peers.
The program involves a series of activities contained in the Junior Ranger Handbook which the kids must perform to earn their Ranger Certificate. The programs are aimed at teaching kids the importance of National Parks and Monuments and why they should be preserved. Once they become a Junior Ranger, they are given their certificate as a souvenir from the trip.
The Museum at the monument is jointly operated by the National Park Service and the Kaibab Paiute Tribe. The center is the entrance to the monument and strives to educate visitors about the history of the region.
Through interpretative exhibits, visitors to the monument can learn about the history of the Kaibab Paiutes and the Mormon settlement of the region, as well as modern Native culture. The museum is open every day.