Walnut Canyon

Walnut Canyon National Monument preserves some of the Southwest’s earliest history. Located 10 miles Southeast of Flagstaff, these incredible cliff dwellings are shockingly intact and preserved by the park service for anyone to enjoy. The canyon surrounding them in 400 ft. deep and was created by Walnut Creek. This small water source eventually flows into the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The upper layer of this unique canyon is Kaibab limestone which contains cliff dwellings scattered around this ancient rock. Used by the Sinagua cave dwellers in the 12th and 13th centuries, this site has preserved their homes and gives visitors an up-close look at the past. There are two main trails you can go around the monument. First is the Rim Trail. This trail, as it sounds, goes along the rim for .7 miles and passes a partially rebuild pueblo and pit house. There is no further altitude change for this one so if you are still getting used to the higher elevation this would be a good place to start. The second trail is the Island Trail. This one is a loop into the canyon that does change elevation. It is a mile long and there are 273 steps to reach the top again. But if you feel up to it, you will pass over 25 cliff dwellings. Some in almost their entirety. But as a precaution, the National Park Services advises that hikers do not fully enter the cliff dwellings. They ask that visitors don’t enter the marked cliff dwellings to help preserve the dwellings for this and future generations. To protect wildlife, it’s always best to observe wild animals from a distance.