Walnut Canyon National Monument is located just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona. Visitors have the opportunity to see Cliff dwellings of the Sinagua Indians, built-in alcoves in the sandstone walls of the canyon.
Walnut Canyon National Monument
- Walnut Canyon National Monument
This National Monument offers the amazing chance to walk right up to Sinagua people's cliff dwellings. Located 10 miles east of Flagstaff this park is incredibly easy to visit.
The canyon in Walnut Canyon is 600 feet deep. The canyon was created by Walnut Creek which flows into the Colorado River and down to the Grand Canyon.
The upper layer of this canyon is Kaibab limestone. There are cliff-dwelling ruins scattered throughout this canyon.
Visitors have the choice to take the Island Trail which includes a steep set of stairs down to the dwellings or you can explore the Canyon rim with the rim trail.
The ruins were used by Sinaqua cave dwellers during the 12th and 13th centuries.
The Sinagua people also built Tuzigoot, Montezuma Castle, and other cliff dwellings in Arizona.
Visit the Visitor Center
The visitor center is located next to the parking lot and is easy to get to. They have a nice gift shop along with information on the area.
Become a Walnut Canyon Junior Ranger
The Junior Ranger Program can be picked up at the visitor center. This program does a great job of explaining geology, history, and more.
Explore the Rim Trail
Explore the 0.7-mile round-trip Rim Trail to look down into Walnut Canyon. You will also pass a pithouse and the remains of a pueblo.
Entry to the trail closes 30 minutes before the monument closes.
The Rim Trail is pretty flat with only a couple of small inclines/declines. The entire trail is paved and easy to maneuver.
There is a great overlook along the Rim Trail that gives you a view of the Island Trail. With a telephoto lens or binoculars, you can get a great look at the cliff dwellings on the other side of the canyon.
Walnut Canyon is packed with vegetation including Ponderosa Pines, Pinyon, and Juniper Trees.
Along the path you can see interpretive signs detailing some of the plants and flowers.
Make sure to check out the pithouses and freestanding pueblos that can be seen on the trail.
The pithouses were built near the farm fields. They were built partially underground so they kept warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Descend into the canyon using the Island Trail
The island trail descends 185 vertical feet into the canyon and you have to come back up the same path! While this may not sound too rough please remember the trail is at 7,000 feet elevation.
If you are not used to this elevation this hike can easily wipe you out. The trail is not recommended for visitors with health problems.
There are 240 steps to reach the top and the visitor center! We saw many people gasping for breath trying to make it up the trail.
Along the trail, you will see 25 cliff dwelling rooms and see additional rooms on the other side of the canyon.
The Island Trail may be closed due to snow or inclement weather. Entry to the trail closes 1 hour before the park closes.
Enjoy a Ranger-guided hike
Discovery Hikes are offered in the summer from July through September. Check with the park for the most up-to-date information on when these ranger-guided hikes will be available. Call 928-526-3367
Things to know when planning a visit to Walnut Canyon National Monument
3 Walnut Canyon Road
Flagstaff, AZ 86004
Park Phone Number - (928) 526-3367
The park is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm
The park is closed on December 25th
Park Entrance Fee
Individual - $10.00 /day valid for 7 days
Free entrance for children under 16
Pets/Dogs - Pets are allowed on the Rim Trail and in the visitor center parking lot. Pets/dogs are not allowed in the Visitor Centers. The park is pet-friendly
Cell Service - Cell phone reception and 4G is very limited within Walnut Canyon
The park is managed by the National Park Service.
National Parks near Walnut Canyon National Monument
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument - 18 miles
Wupatki National Monument - 30 miles
Petrified Forest National Park - 107 miles
Grand Canyon National Park - 96 miles
Tuzigoot National Monument - 59 miles
Montezuma Castle National Monument - 62 miles
Check out all of the US National Monuments managed by the NPS.