She sits majestically atop the hill, her patience rewarded as her Guests are beginning to return, in smaller numbers, to stay safe, but she is content. Nearly a Century old, many minutes and hours have passed since she was built in 1928. The rumbling of the Tour Trams arriving at her door with her very special Guests, the sound of their voices ringing in the air, their footsteps on her maple floors – all music to her ears. It has been a lonely time, but now she smiles from her hilltop view like no other!
Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights is an Historic Icon and a Jewel in the Sonoran Desert quietly glowing each evening as a beacon of hope in our uncertain lives – a way to make passersby smile – enchanting all who come under her watchful gaze. She holds within her 100+ years of Arizona History – the past, our present and the future – and the tales she tells are wonderful to hear, her charm enveloping all who see her.
Her guardians, Tovrea Carraro Society, are her daily companions, making sure her luscious Cactus Gardens are cared for and her wardrobe of Stucco and Stone stands strong. They continue to keep up with the demands of this lovely Lady of Phoenix, even when her much-loved visitors from far and wide were unable to join in.
She is all shiny and clean, gleefully showing off her bright lights each night as the days of tours are here. She understands that extra precautions are being taken to keep everyone safe and healthy. Her Guests no longer wear Face Masks but do take care to be 6 feet away while they hear the tales of the Castle and her People, adding this time to a rich and fabled story of surviving under the southwest sun in a modern time like no other.
Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights is a “Jewel in the Sonoran Desert” that has intrigued people in the Valley of the Sun for 90 years and is a Phoenix Point of Pride, an Arizona Centennial Legacy Project and on the National Register of Historic Places.
Why would anyone build a Castle in the middle of the desert in the late 1920’s and why is it still here today?
To answer this, just look at the unique cast of characters who were inspired by the property beginning in 1907. The “Castle” continues to spark the curiosity of passersby, due to its unique location – now in the heart of the Phoenix metropolitan area – visible to all, yet secluded by the forty-four acres of preserved desert surrounding the structure.
Owned by the City of Phoenix and Operated by Tovrea Carraro Society, the primary attraction of the site is the Castle; a four-story, 5,000 square foot architectural wonder perched atop the highest point of the granite-rich property. Groomed cactus gardens and undisturbed natural Sonoran Desert flora cascade from the Castle, providing scenic backdrops and viewing opportunities throughout the established trail system.
Opened to the public in 2012, Tovrea Carraro Society invites you to tour the Castle and Cactus Gardens with our devoted team of volunteers – tickets must be reserved in advance of your tour. While you are visiting, pick up a few mementos in “Treasures at the Castle” Gift Shop located onsite in the Visitor Center.
All tours are Docent-led, with Guests exploring the Cactus Gardens and Outbuildings by tram before arriving at the Castle to tour the Main Floor and Basement. The site is not available to explore without being on a tour. All tours are a ‘go’ whether rain or shine, heat or cold.
Tours sell out months in advance, with few to no cancellations; walk-up ticket availability is very rare. The property is not available to Visitors except by tour and may not be seen without a guide.
Occupancy limits and the historic nature of the site requires that the tour size be limited and tours must be booked in advance. The number of tickets that you may purchase is limited for each type of tour. Please check the information on each tour prior to purchase. Regular Tours are held on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; Group Tours on Thursdays and Special Events on Wednesdays. The Castle and Grounds are ‘dark’ on Mondays and Tuesdays for maintenance, repairs and ongoing upkeep.
Due to an overwhelming demand for Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights Tour Tickets, Tovrea Carraro Society has determined that a Lottery Ticket System is the only fair mechanism for distribution of tickets to our Guests. You are entering the Ticket Lottery for the opportunity to purchase tickets for a Regular Tour.
The Ticket Lottery for Fall 2022 Tickets has ended and all tickets have been distributed.
Ticket Lottery for Spring 2023 Regular Tours opens on October 1, 2022.
Occasionally last-minute tour tickets become available due to cancellations. Check here:
The Visitor Center, starting point for all tours, garden days and events
5025 East Van Buren Street
Phoenix, AZ 85008
From Arizona State Route 202 (Loop 202/Red Mountain Freeway) in
Phoenix, Exit 4 (Van Buren/52nd St), turning west off the Freeway. The Visitor Center is on the south side of Van Buren St and has a large concrete parking lot.
From Van Buren St, the Visitor Center is west of the Loop 202 on the south side of Van Buren St; just east of the Main Post Office,
If using a GPS system for directions, please do NOT enter just the location name ‘Tovrea Castle,” as it will take you to the wrong side of the Castle on Washington Street where there is NOT an entry.
If you do use your GPS system, please enter the address: 5025 E Van Buren St, Phoenix, AZ 85008