Cliff dwellings were built in Walnut Canyon around the same time another group of Sinagua was living at nearby Wupatki National Monument. These cliff dwellings were only occupied for about a hundred years and abandoned by AD 1250. Since 1915, they have been protected within Walnut Canyon National Monument, a 3,541-acre park on Interstate 40 east of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Museum, ruins, scenic views
To get up close with the ruins requires a hike down 200 stairs on the one-mile Island Trail loop. At 6,690 feet in elevation, downhill is easy, but getting back up is another matter entirely. It is well worth the effort to get a feeling for a life spent inside the shallow limestone recesses in the canyon walls.
The paved Island Trail drops 185 feet and takes you right up to the 25 rooms built into the cliffs. Above the canyon, 0.75-mile Rim Trail is handicap accessible and provides views of the ruins.
October is a great time to visit to see changing leaves in Walnut Canyon, especially the bigtooth maple trees.
$15 per person or America the Beautiful pass
Access road is paved
There is not a campground at the site, but dispersed camping is allowed down the dirt road that turns off to the left just before entering the National Monument.
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