Walnut Canyon National Monument preserves some of the Southwest’s earliest history. Located 10 miles Southeast of Flagstaff, these incredible ruins are shockingly intact and preserved by the park service for anyone to enjoy. The canyon surrounding them in 600 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 that contain ruins scattered around this ancient rock. Used by the Sinagua cave dwellers in the 12th and 13th century, this site has preserved their homes and gives visitors an up close look at the past. There are two main trails you can take go around the monument. First is the Rim Trail. This trail, as it sounds, goes along the rim for .7 miles and passes scattered ruins. 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 240 steps to reach the top again. But if you feel up to it, you will pass over 20 ruins. Some in almost their entirety. But as a precaution the National Park Services advices that hikers do not fully enter the ruins due to potentially dangerous rodents of unusual size that could contain plagues and diseases. Best practice is to not touch any wild animal that you encounter in the ruins.
Things To Keep In Mind:
Ledge Hikes: first and last Saturday of the month Memorial Day through Labor Day. This adventure starts at the Visitor Center and visits numerous cliff dwellings while exploring off trail. The hike is approximately 2 miles long and takes 4 hours. Water and hiking shoes required. Must be in good physical condition and not be afraid of heights.
Ranger Cabin Hike: Memorial Day through Labor Day the monument offers an easy 2-mile guided hike to the 1904 log cabin. This cabin was built by the first ranger to protect the cliff dwellings. No children under 16. Limited to 8 persons.
(Reservations required for both. Please contact 928-526-3367)