For those Grand Canyon tourists who yearn to experience more of what this region has to offer, the Wupatki National Monument is only about 45 minutes away from the east exit gate. Desert View Drive continues east to U.S. Highway 89 in Cameron and Wupatki is located just a few miles south on this road. The Wupatki National Monument is easy to get to from Flagstaff, Arizona too. From Flagstaff, visitor can actually enter this park by driving through the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. One small fee covers the admission price in both of these National Monuments, which is a real bargain!
The Citadel Pueblo Ruins and neighboring Lomaki Pueblo are located on opposite sides of the Wupatki touring loop road. These two pueblos are satellite communities in the Wupatki network of ancient structures in this region. These are small pueblos when compared to the Wupatki great house structure and their purpose was agricultural in nature.
The nearby Sunset Crater Volcano erupted about a thousand years ago and this event played an integral role in the history of the Wupatki Pueblo Complex. All that a visitor has to do is to look at the volcanic cinders and chunks of lava on the ground to put the pieces of the puzzle together. It is said that the volcanic eruption is why this ancient civilization moved from their home in the mountains to the Wupatki location. This pueblo complex was originally safe harbor, so the volcano was not the reason why Wupatki was abandoned long ago.
The Lomaki Pueblo sits upon high ground overlooking a small box canyon. For those who have no prior Wupatki knowledge, why this remote area was originally chosen as a satellite pueblo site may be difficult to comprehend. It is important to remember that every structure in the Wupatki Pueblo Complex network serves an integral purpose and the reason for the construction of the Lomaki Pueblo was agriculture. The volcanic cinders on top of the soil acted as a moisture sealing cap that enabled dry farming techniques to be productive in this area.
On the day that I photographed Lomaki, the monsoon season was in full swing as can be seen in the overcast clouds in the pictures. When looking at the photos of the box canyon, lush green growth can be seen on the canyon floor. For a place that is seemingly out in the middle of desolate high desert expanse, the Lomaki Box Canyon must have been a fertile green oasis back in its day.
The Lomaki Pueblo is in remarkably good condition, especially when considering that this structure is nearly a thousand years old. The dramatic setting is enough to make a visitor stop in their own tracks just to take the majestic view in. A sacred place this really is and the feeling that one gets while standing there will inspire the will to learn more. Lomaki truly is a place where the pieces of the puzzle start to come together when trying to understand the past.
While hiking the short path to Lomaki it does pay to keep the eyes peeled for wildlife. Other than the deer and elk that frequent these grassy plains, the wildlife to look for is the small critters. Some of the most colorful lizards in the Southwest can be seen in this region, but these little creatures do not sit out in the open for too long because they are food for the raptors that soar overhead.
The Lomaki Pueblo is just part of the Wupatki National Monument experience. All of the ancient pueblos in the Wupatki region can be visited in one day. Summer can be scorching hot here, so the tour will be much more pleasant during the winter or spring seasons. The ancient Lomaki Pueblo still stands in this majestic high desert setting as if it is waiting for the old ways to return. Visualizing how an ancient civilization thrived in this desolate place is much better understood when experiencing the ancient pueblos in person and this is reason enough to get up and go!
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