Pipe Spring National Monument: Winsor Castle

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Tour Winsor Castle at Pipe Spring National Monument»

Pipe Spring National Monument is in Northern Arizona, just south of the Utah border. It is a National Park Service gem off the beaten path.  The natural spring made this once-lush land home to the Kaibab Paiutes. Mormons, driving cattle from St. George Utah were attracted to the oasis in the 1860s.  A fort called Winsor Castle was erected over the springs in 1872 which was then purchased by Brigham Young for the Church of the Latter Day Saints.
The fort was never actually used for defensive measures in any battle, but instead became a thriving outpost for Westward travelers and even had its own telegraph. Pipe Springs served as a ranch and dairy farm, shipping fresh cheese and other provisions back to the settlement at St. George.
The church lost ownership of the Pipe Springs as a penalty to the federal government in 1887 over a dispute involving polygamy.

We arrived at the park just in time to take the tour of Winsor Castle. Ranger Julie was a great guide…she taught us a lot about the history of the area, but kept it fun and interesting, even for my teen. The highlight was the cold room in the basement with the spring running through it and the remnants of the cheese-making operation.


The story of how this area, which was once a rich grassland, gave way to high desert because of over-farming is a sobering tale…and a cautionary one of what could happen if we don’t take better care of the environment.


The National Park Service has a virtual tour of the fort which you can view by clicking here.

Pipe Spring Posts:

Location: 406 N Pipe Spring Rd, Fredonia, AZ 86022

Designation: National Park

Date designation declared: 5/31/1923

Date of my visit: 4/14/2017


19 thoughts on “Pipe Spring National Monument: Winsor Castle

  1. Your pictures are masterful! I, however, do NOT know of this park – but do know the region around it — spectacular. You capture the natural as well as the historical – this may be why you found and ‘like’ NJWILDBEAUTY — we are privileged to have both in the Delaware Valley. Out West, history is more scarce – but you honor it. Appreciatively cfe

  2. We were also fortunate to visit this park. I recall being impressed by the video and displays which, unlike many venues, did not describe conquerors or subjected, villains or heroes, but instead present the events that occurred there as a conflict of cultures: First American Paiute, Mormon and US governmental authority.

      1. Nowadays, with our easy means of transport, it is easy to forget how difficult it must have been at those times.
        Btw, I’v kind of bookmarked this place. We still hope we can some time do the trip to the Southwest, to Bryce and Zion, which we had to cut short last year because of a knee and leg injury of my wife. Bit whenever we get there, I really plan to see this place, too. Thanks for making me aware of it.

      2. It is out of the way but we really enjoyed this place. I think you will like it. If you are approaching from Northeast Utah, Kanab is a good place to stop too. We visited coral pink sand dunes state park just outside of kanab, then had lunch in the town before heading to pipe Spring

  3. We used to stop here from time to time when we drove through from St. George to Page and points east and south. It’s not at the end of the world but there are clear indications that the end of the world is only a few miles ahead…you can actually see it from Pipe Springs. Imagine how hard life was there back in the old days. I don’t know if it was there when you passed through Fredonia but a small shop used to have this big sign out front reminding travelers to stop in because “GUNS AND LIQUOR” were available within. Wild west product selection but a bad combination. 🙂

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