Postcards from Our Travelers

Pipe Spring National Monument

Jax sends a postcard from Pipe Spring, Arizona. A national monument with decades of rich history about early settlers and the Kaibab Paiute.

Pipe Spring National Monument is situated on the Arizona strip between Zion National Park and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. This spring is the only water source for 62 miles–nourishing plant and animal life between Hurricane, Utah, and Fredonia, Arizona. This monument holds decades of rich history about early settlers and the Kaibab Paiute.

Pipe Spring first sustained the ancestral Puebloan peoples who arrived around 300 BCE, followed by Southern Paiute tribes who still reside in Pipe Spring today. The region seems harsh and uninhabitable, but humans were drawn to this location because of the life-sustaining water pushed to the surface by geological forces.

Spanish missionaries followed suit and arrived in the 1700s, and after that, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) in the mid-1800s. Throughout the decades, there were conflicts over land and water. In the 1500s, the Kaibab population was decimated by Navajo and Ute slaving raids, alongside European diseases brought to America. By the mid-1800s, there were only about 1,200 Kaibab Indians left.

Mormons expanding into Arizona settled near water sources, but shortly after they arrived, deaths between the Mormons and Navajo ensued due to raids on livestock and other theft.

Today, the national monument is home to an orchard, corrals holding livestock and chickens, stone cabins, and a large, fortified ranch-house known as Windsor Castle, named from Anson Winsor, the first ranch manager of the Southern Utah Tithing Office (an office used for earnings collected by a church). In 1923, Pipe Spring was proclaimed a national monument, and soon after, the water disputes ended with an agreement to divide the flow evenly amongst the peoples who relied on it at the time.

Pipe Spring is now a private ranch surrounded by the Kaibab Indian Reservation and is run jointly by the Tribal and National Park Service. A visitor center and museum offer information about the history and culture of Pipe Spring, as well as tours of Windsor Castle. Finally, there is a stunning one-and-a-half-mile scenic trail, which gives a dramatic view of the Arizona plains. This short hike, coupled with the sound of a trickling stream that acts as a desert oasis, is the perfect conclusion to any day trip to Pipe Spring.

What is your favorite National Monument? Are there any that have made your bucket list? Share them with us, and don’t forget to Pin!

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