Walnut Canyon National Monument Things to Do

  • Overlook to Island Trail
    Overlook to Island Trail
    by razorbacker
  • Boulders in time.
    Boulders in time.
    by razorbacker
  • Cliff dwellings across valley.
    Cliff dwellings across valley.
    by razorbacker

Most Recent Things to Do in Walnut Canyon National Monument

  • razorbacker's Profile Photo

    Island Trail Ruins.

    by razorbacker Written Apr 24, 2013

    Fascinating glimpse into an ancient long-gone community. You can truly FEEL the difference between the shady side and the community more sun-washed.

    This is another of the pueblos developed by the pre-Columbian Sinaguas on their long migration north to the Hopi mesas.

    A horseshoe bend carved by Walnut Canyon's river far below created a stone peninsula, nearly an island, around which the inhabitants constructed their homes and community.

    Imagine your home. Great room. Safe from the elements. Neighborhood. A living, thriving community.
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Photography
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo

    Walnut Canyons are Deep

    by BruceDunning Updated Oct 27, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The more spectacular scenery is the sheer cliffs and sharp drop offs to the bottom of the canyon. Walnut Creek carved out a path along he rock walls 600+ feet down. The greenery and vegetation are wonderful. There are a number of canyons where the water flow carved out and meandered until it met with other canyon flows. The park is 10 miles by 20 miles and within this area, little is accessible. There are other ruins along the cliff sides in the canyons,but not easily seen, nor reached.
    The vegetation of the canyon is distinctly different due to the sunlight coming into it. ON the north side there are fir and pine trees and lush greenery, while the south side has a desert like look to it. There even are cactus and desert plants on this side of the mountains. Sun makes the difference. Either way the canyon looks and is rugged, rough and seems remote. At the bottom there are walnut trees; hence the name

    Trees growing strong in the canyon Looking down into a canyon crevice-steep Visitor center at top of south cliffs
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo

    Rim trail hike

    by BruceDunning Updated Dec 22, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This was an easy hike on flat ground along the rim for a way, then through the woods and shrubs. It is 3/4 mile hike. You go by some 3-4 Indian ruins along the way. This is is the wooded area, but most is fairly open paths. The first part is paved asphalt

    Map of the trail layout Ruins along the trail
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Photography
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo

    Island Trail Hike

    by BruceDunning Updated Oct 18, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is the main hike to see the dwelling ruins in the cliff ledges. It is a loop trail that goes for 1 mile and takes about 25-30 while viewing the dwellings. There are 25 rooms along the edge. the trail has railings for safety and needed. the drop off at the 7,000 feet level can be treacherous. The trail descends 185 feet and of course goes back up the same 185 feet. The trail is in a U shape thatobviously follows the contour of the landscape ledge. It has 284 steps to take. It is a good workout for the thigh muscles. The hike is designated strenuous. I did not think it was that bad,but some may.
    There are 25 rooms along the route and they are spread out

    Map of the trail loop Dwelling in the rock ledge RAnge of dwellings along trail Perched far back into the rock ledge
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo

    Helpful Rangers at Walnut Canyon

    by jumpingnorman Written Apr 25, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Stop by the Visitor Center before doing any trails. My family enjoyed going through the exhibits and my 5 year old twins liked seeing how the different animals leave their footprints – they have footprint casts that you put on the sand which differentiate the coyote, skunk, ravens, and so on…

    You also get to realize how little we know of the Sinaguan Indians who left no written history and departed the Flagstaff region before 1250. Why? Unfortunately, we might never know because in the 1880’s pothunters removed many Sinagua possessions by dynamiting the cliff-dwelling walls.

    Now, the little we know includes theories on the rimtop croplands where water was scarce and the canyon homes generally located on the cliffsides facing south and east to take advantage of warmth and sunlight.

    Visitor Center at Walnut Canyon, Arizona
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo

    Foot Trails at Walnut Canyon

    by jumpingnorman Updated Apr 25, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There are 2 paved foot trails which begin at the Visitor Center:

    1. The Island Trail which is a 0.9 mile loop, passes 25 of the cliff dwelling rooms and it also has sheer drops and a 185-foot climb (240 steps) back to the canyon rim.
    2. The Rim Trail which is a 0.7 mile loop and overlooks the canyon and passes the ruins of rimtop structures.

    The park does have picnic and campgrounds and nearby lodging and restaurants.

    Man with disability hiking at Walnut Canyon, AZ
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    Meet Your Fellow Travellers

    by Basaic Written Feb 11, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Therese was not a local but a transplant from Ohio who was helping clear up the rockslide. I sure did not envy her and the other volunteers carrying buckets of rocks and rebar up the 240 steps from the cliff dwellings to the parking area.

    Therese
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip
    • Adventure Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    See the Cliff Dwellings Close Up

    by Basaic Updated Feb 11, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There are about 25 rooms of cliff/cave dwellings along the River Island Trail. You can walk right up to them and examine them closely. Please treat them gently though. On Photo 4 you may notice a blackening on the cave walls. This is from the cooking fires.

    Rock Island Cliff Dwelling Rock Island Cliff Dwelling Rock Island Cliff Dwelling Rock Island Cliff Dwelling Rock Island Cliff Dwelling
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • National/State Park
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    Walnut Canyon

    by Basaic Written Feb 11, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Walnut Canyon is a long series of narrow canyons with very rough terrain. The presence of water in this normally dry area made the canyon a rare and valuable location for the early human inhabitants, and a variety of plants and animals. The canyon’s natural abundance and diversity provided home sites, building materials, and a storehouse of foods, medicines, dyes, and other raw materials that sustained a prehistoric civilization. Walnut Canyon National Monument was established in 1915 specifically to preserve the “prehistoric ruins of ancient cliff dwellings.” The canyon is a place of concentrated biological productivity – because of its varied exposures and elevations, together with seasonal water, all compressed into a narrow band within a surrounding pine forest. The canyon twists and turns, creating a patchwork of sun and shadow. Hot dry desert-like slopes and shaded forests, normally separated by thousands of feet in elevation, are found here almost side by side. With these overlapping habitats come unusual assortments of plants and animals, and a high concentration of sensitive species. At the same time, the canyon serves as an important wildlife migration corridor, linking higher elevation forests with lower pine-juniper woodlands to the east.

    Walnut Canyon Walnut Canyon Walnut Canyon Walnut Canyon
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    Visitors Center

    by Basaic Written Feb 11, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Your first stop at Walnut Canyon National Monument should be the visitors center. The visitors center houses very helpful park rangers who can provide you with park brochures and can give you information about the park and the surrounding area to help make your visit more enjoyable. There is also a small museum and a gift shop in the center.

    Visitors Center Visitors Center
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Jonathan_C's Profile Photo

    background reading: Walker of Time

    by Jonathan_C Updated Jul 11, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    You can pick up booklets about the Sinagua people and Walnut Canyon in the Visitor's Center but they will pale in comparison with Helen Hughes Vick's imaginative fiction. "Walker of Time" is the first book in a trilogy about a 15 year old Hopi boy who is transported back in time to the days when Walnut Canyon was alive with his ancestors. Vick breathes life into these old stone dwellings and her knowledge of Hopi customs left me absolutely convinced that her Walnut Canyon is about as close as we'll ever come to knowing what it was really like to live here.

    "Walker of Time" is a must read if Walnut Canyon is on your itinerary.

    Walker of Time
    Related to:
    • Archeology

    Was this review helpful?

  • Jonathan_C's Profile Photo

    guided tour

    by Jonathan_C Updated Jul 11, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Between Memorial Day and Labor Day you can take advantage of two guided backcountry hikes that visit some of the more remote cliff dwellings. These are by reservation only and come in two flavors: 1) Saturdays @ 10am - LEDGE HIKE 3 hour hike. Strenuous; 2) Sundays and Thursdays @ 10am - RANGER CABIN WALK 2 hour hike. Easy.

    If you read "Walker of Time" you'll have sufficient motivation to go on one of these hikes!

    Walnut Canyon cliff dwellings
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Archeology
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo

    OTHER DWELLINGS

    by mtncorg Written Nov 22, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    After accustomizing yourself to what the cliff dwellings look like, you can begin to pick out other dwellings in the surrounding cliff walls as well. There is a ranger-led Ledge Tour that is given which you can get reservations for, in order to visit other dwellings.

    Other cliff dwellings in the canyon walls
    Related to:
    • Desert
    • National/State Park
    • Archeology

    Was this review helpful?

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo

    WALNUT CANYON

    by mtncorg Written Nov 22, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    After seeing the Visitor Center, descend on the Island Trail which is just less than a mile roundtrip - 185 feet/56 meters down and up. The canyon is beautiful with pines crowding the rim and many rock layers can be noted as the canyon increases in depth. Scan the layers for evidence of the dwellings. Besides the 25 rooms visited by the Island Trail, there are many others in the canyon.

    Rock layers within Walnut Canyon
    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • National/State Park
    • Desert

    Was this review helpful?

  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    View the Wildlife

    by Basaic Written Feb 11, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A number of species of wildlife call Walnut Canyon home. However, I was not there at the best time to observe it. I did see this large bird that appeared to be keeping an eye on me.

    Large Bird
    Related to:
    • Birdwatching
    • National/State Park
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Walnut Canyon National Monument

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

20 travelers online now

Comments

Walnut Canyon National Monument Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Walnut Canyon National Monument things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Walnut Canyon National Monument sightseeing.

View all Walnut Canyon National Monument hotels