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National Park Quiz 53: Castles

This aptly-named geologic formation is called The Castle. Do you know which national park it’s in? National Park Service photo.

1. The accompanying photo shows a rock formation called “The Castle” as seen from a national park visitor center. Can you name the national park?

2. True or false? Yellowstone’s Castle Geyser erupts only once every five years or so, making it one of the most elusive geothermal features for park visitors to see in action.

3. True of false? More than 500,000 visitors have toured “Castle A” at Montezuma Castle National Monument in the last 50 years.

4. True or false? Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley National Park was equipped with a water-powered electric generator.

5. True or false? Castle Pinckney is a former component of Fort Moultrie National Monument.

6. In the early 1870s, Mormons constructed Winsor Castle, a fortified ranch house, in what is now
a. Cedar Breaks National Monument
b. Pipe Spring National Monument
c. Joshua Tree National Park
d. Zion National Park

7. Castle Williams is not a National Park System unit, but rather a component of
a. Governors Island National Monument
b. Golden Gate National Recreation Area
c. Fort Matanzas National Monument
d. Morristown National Historical Park

8. The much-photographed Miners Castle, a geologic feature that’s part of the Munising Formation, is prominently situated in the western part of
a. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
b. Bryce Canyon National Park
c. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
d. Badlands National Park

9. You can hike the Castle Trail and the Medicine Root Loop on the same day, but you’ll need to visit ______ to do it.
a. Rocky Mountains National Park
b. Sequoia National Park
c. Badlands National Park
d. Grand Canyon National Park

10. The Castle, a small crag with two crack routes, is located in ______, a National Park System unit that was a mecca for rock climbing long before it was redesignated a National Park in 1994.
a. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
b. Death Valley National Park
c. Big Bend National Park
d. Joshua Tree National Park

Extra Credit Question

11. How is Castle Clinton National Monument related to “Clinton’s Ditch”?

Super Bonus Question:

12. Bull elk, bighorn sheep, and mule deer are among the charismatic wildlife you may see if you regularly check the Web Cam that shows a different view of the Castle Mountain vicinity of ______ every 15 minutes.
a. Denali National Park
b. Olympic National Park
c. Rocky Mountain National Park
d. Big Bend National Park


(1) This photo of The Castle was taken from the visitor center in Utah's Capitol Reef National Park.

(2) False. Castle Geyser is actually one of Yellowstone’s more frequently erupting and dependable geysers. It can be counted on to erupt for about 20 minutes every 11 to 13 hours, reaching a height of 75 feet.

(3) False. It’s been over half a century since visitors were last allowed to tour Castle A Although public tours of the Castle A ruins were initiated in 1933, extensive damage to the structure prompted the Park Service to discontinue the tours in 1951.

(4) True. You can see the equipment yourself if you take the Basement Tour during your visit to Scotty’s Castle. The water was piped from a nearby spring, though not in sufficient amounts.

(5) False. Historic Fort Moultrie is not, and never has been, a National Monument. Castle Pinckney, a former National Monument that was established in 1924 and transferred to the National Park System in 1933, was abolished in 1956.

(6) b -- Winsor Castle, which was designed both as a headquarters for a tithing cattle ranch and as protection from Indian attacks, was built directly atop Pipe Spring. It is still there today.

(7) a -– Castle Williams is one of two forts (the other being Fort Jay) constructed on Governors Island between 1796 and 1811 to protect New York from naval attack. Today the circular red sandstone fort is part of Governors Island National Monument. While the National Park Service administers Castle Williams and Fort Jay, the bulk of Governors Island is administered by the the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC) in cooperation with the National Park Service.

(8) a -– Perched high atop the Lake Superior shoreline at Pictured Rocks, Miners Castle is a favorite photo op for tour boat passengers and a popular place for sightseeing, picnicking, and hiking.

(9) c -- At Badlands National Park, the nearly 5.4-mile long Castle Trail (longest maintained trail in the park) intersects with the Medicine Root Loop at the 1.45-mile mark.

(10) d -– Established in 1936 as Joshua Tree National Monument, the park was redesignated Joshua Tree National Park in 1994 via the California Desert Protection Act. Joshua Tree (often called “JT” in climbing circles) has thousands of named climbing routes and is one of the world’s most popular rock climbing venues.

(11) Castle Clinton National Monument in New York harbor is named in honor of DeWitt Clinton. As governor of New York and an influential member of the Erie Canal Commission, Clinton played a vital role in the construction of the Erie Canal (completed 1825). The project’s many critics derisively referred to the canal as “Clinton’s Ditch.”)

(12) c – The Castle Mountain Web Cam, which shows the Castle Mountain area of Rocky Mountain National Park, is situated along Fall River in Estes Park..

Grading: 9 or 10 correct, rest on your laurels; 7 or 8 correct, pretty darn good; 6 correct, passable fair; 5 or fewer correct, nothing to brag about.


Re: #4 - The water for the Pelton water wheel was more than sufficient when the system was new in the late 20's, but because of aging infrastructure there is no longer sufficient water through the original water main to leave it running now like it did then ... the actual generator still works like new, the spring puts out more than enough water, it's just that the pipe just can't get enough water from the spring to the generator anymore.

Thanks for the additional info, Former. I understand that putting in an additional pipe would have cost far too much.

As a National Park Service buff, I enjoyed your Castle quiz. I just wanted to say that the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC) owns 150 acres of the 172 acre Governors Island. The remaining acerage is administered by the National Park Service, this includes Fort Jay and Castle Williams. Castle Williams and Fort Jay are not managed by GIPEC at all, yet the National Park Service and GIPEC are both land owners on Governors Island and work together for the island's future.

For more information please visit and

Thank you.

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