Yuma Territorial Prison State Park

(928) 783-4771



Famed in movies, television, and literature, the Yuma Territorial Prison housed many of Arizona’s most dangerous and notorious criminals. Convicted of crimes ranging from polygamy to murder, 3,069 desperados, including 29 women, were imprisoned in its rock and adobe cells from 1876 to 1909, including southwest offenders like “Bandit Queen” Pearl Hart, “Buckskin” Frank Leslie, murderess Elena Estrada, and Mexican revolutionary Ricardo Flores Magon.


Today you can take a self-guided tour of the historic penitentiary. Although its first seven inmates built their own cells, the prison was actually pretty advanced for its time, and the prisoners had good care. Still, with the heat, insects, and reptiles of the desert – and ‘The Dark Cell’ – one can only imagine how difficult life was for the inmates. The views from the prison look out over the beautiful Colorado River and the Yuma East Wetlands, where you can see the granite outcroppings that form the historic Yuma Crossing, the St. Thomas Mission, and the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway Bridge. Along with the cell block, other highlights include the Prison Timeline, iconic Guard Tower, adobe Sally Port, and Museum. You can also follow the walking trail to the Prison Cemetery and down to the East Wetlands.

Some of the movies filmed at the prison include ‘To Kill a Memory’ (2012), ‘3:10 to Yuma’ (2007), ‘Riot’ (1969), ‘The Badlanders’ (1958), ‘Red River Valley’ (1936), and ‘The Three Musketeers’ (1933).


Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park is part of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area. It is located at 220 N. Prison Hill Road, in Yuma, AZ 85364. For more information, call (928) 783-4771 or visit www.YumaPrison.org


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

No Feedback Received