DescriptionOff I-40 exit 204, 7.5 miles east of Flagstaff, Walnut Canyon National Monument preserves the remains of more than 300 pre-Columbian dwellings built on a series of ledges in the 400-foot-deep gorge. Inhabited by the Walnut Canyon community (archeologists are uncertain of what these inhabitants called themselves) about 1000-1200, the single-family dwellings are visible from the visitor center on the canyon rim.
The self-guiding Island Trail, which descends 185 feet over the course of a half mile, is an interesting but arduous paved path that leads past 25 of the cliff dwelling rooms. The Rim Trail, a pleasant .75-mile round trip, features two overlooks into the canyon as well as access to a small pueblo and pit house. Snow and ice might close both trails at times in winter and spring.
Interpretive programs within the backcountry are available by reservation from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Other ranger-led programs include short hikes and patio talks, which are available year-round, depending on staffing. A museum and picnic facilities are available; however, food is not available. Pets are not allowed on park trails, in buildings or tied to fixed objects.
Note: The Island Trail includes descending/ascending 240 steps and might be cumbersome for the physically challenged and those with heart conditions.
Allow 1 hour, 30 minutes minimum. Daily 8-5, June-Oct.; 9-5, rest of year. Closed Christmas. Last admittance to main trail is 1 hour before closing. Admission $8 per person; free (ages 0-15). Prices may vary; phone ahead. For further information contact the Superintendent, Walnut Canyon National Monument, 6400 N. SR 89, Flagstaff, AZ 86004; phone (928) 526-3367.
GEM DescriptionThis archeological site boasts more than 300 pre-Columbian dwellings scattered along the rim and within wall niches of a 400-foot-deep gorge.