If you are in the Flagstaff area the Walnut National Monument is worth visiting. The trails allow you to enjoy the Walnut Canyon, but there is more. When at the Walnut Canyon are can visit pueblos and see the history of people who lived in the canyon many years ago.
Scattered families farmed the canyon rim for centuries, growing gardens of corn, squash, and beans. During the 1100’s many moved into limestone alcoves below the canyon rim, where they constructed the cliff dwellings we see today. The community thrived for another 150 years before the people moved on.
In the 1880s during the construction of the railroad, the canyon became a popular destination. People with shovels and dynamite seeking pottery by upturning the ancient floors and toppling the wall. The theft and destruction led to the establishment of the Walnut Canyon National Monument in 1915. The canyon was first protected by the U.S. Forest Service, then in 1934 by the National Park Service.
The Canyon Today
Walnut Canyon receives more than 100,000 visitors every year. It gives people the opportunity to learn from the past by seeing the ancient structures and the magnificent canyon.
We had our dogs with us and found out that you can take dogs on the Rim Trail, but not the Island Trail which was fine with us. The Island Trail descends into the canyon so it can be more challenging if you don’t have some fitness. Our son took the camera and hiked down the Island Trail to give us some pictures of the structures you can see from the trail.
Walnut Canyon is an easy drive from Flagstaff. Just go East on I-40 and you will see the road signs pointed you to the canyon. There is plenty of parking and even has some RV parking.
The park is open daily from 9 AM – 4:30 PM
Access to the Island Trail closes at 3:30 PM
Access to the Rim Trail closes at 4:30 PM
Park is closed on December 25th and January 1st.
$15 per person 16yo and older and the pass is good for 7 days. Children 15yo and younger are free.