Hike down into Walnut Canyon and walk in the footsteps of the people that lived here over 900 years ago. Under limestone overhangs, the Sinagua built their homes. These single story structures, cliff dwellings, were occupied from about 1100 to 1250. Look down into the canyon and imagine the creek running through. Visualize a woman hiking up from the bottom with a pot of water on her back. Imagine the men on the rim farming corn or hunting deer. Think of a cold winter night with your family huddled around the fire...
Come out and see millions of years of history unraveled in the geology of the rocks. Listen to the canyon wren and enjoy the turkey vultures soaring above. And if you look closely, you may even see an elk or a javelina. Different lifezones overlap here, mixing species that usually live far apart. In this canyon, desert cacti grow alongside mountain firs. A truly beautiful place to see!
And it is a sacred place. The people that lived here moved on to become the modern pueblo people of today. Walnut Canyon is one of their ancestral homes. Travel through quietly and carefully. And please, leave no trace.
Allow at least 2 hours to see the museum, hike down to the cliff dwellings (Island Trail closes one hour before closing), and walk the Rim Trail.
The Island Trail descends 185 feet (56m) into the canyon providing access to 25 cliff dwelling rooms. The trail, a strenuous .9 mile (1.4km) round trip, is one of the best ways to experience the park. Climbing the 240 steps back up can tax heart and lungs. Bring water! Elevation: 6690ft (2039m). Island Trail closes at 4:00pm daily and 5:00pm in June, July and August. Various ranger programs are offered during June, July and August. Schedules vary.
Pets must be kept on a leash at all times. They are not allowed in buildings or on park trails. Backcountry hiking is not allowed in order to protect fragile archeological sites.
Two RANGER-GUIDED hikes are available Memorial Day to Labor Day. RESERVATION ONLY! Call (928) 526-3367 for reservations.
1) LEDGE HIKE - Three hour hike. Moderate. Offered first and last Saturday of each month @ 10am MST
2) RANGER CABIN WALK - Two hour hike. Easy. Offered first and last Sunday of each month @ 10am MST
To hike To get to Walnut Canyon, take I 40 East out of Flagstaff for about seven or eight miles. The freeway exit is clearly marked Walnut Canyon.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
A campfire must be extinguished by drowning it with water, stirring with a shovel, and repeating that process until the campfire is cold to the touch. A campfire is still a danger if it has any trace of heat, and must not be left or abandoned. Wildfires can begin by abandoned campfires that rebuild heat on windy days and then blowing embers ignite surrounding grasses and brush.