When the Colorado River cut through Arizona, it formed the Grand Canyon and carved off the Arizona Strip, the northwest corner of the state that lies above this massive gash in the earth.
Pipe Spring is one the few reliable sources of fresh water in the Strip. It has sustained plants, animals, and people in the area for thousands of years.
Ancestral Pueblo Indians stopped here between 300 and 700 years ago. The Paiute Indians set up camp near Pipe Spring, and still live on a reservation near Pipe Spring National Monument.
In 1870, Mormon settlers built Winsor Castle directly above Pipe Spring. The cattle ranch was fortified to protect against Indian raids. The Mormons got along with the Paiute, but bands of Navajo warriors sometimes crossed the Colorado to attack settlements.
Winsor Castle’s original high stone walls still stand. Inside, you can tour the public and living spaces of the ranch. The spring room is where Pipe Spring bubbled to the surface and was channeled into the courtyard and outside the walls to collect in ponds.
Pipe Spring National Monument-Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians Visitor Center and Museum houses exhibits about the different cultures who relied on the spring. The museum includes an Indian camp, orchard, farm, and corrals for cattle and horses.
A walk along the Ridge Trail provides memorable views of this beautiful and isolated region.