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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Walnut Canyon, AZ

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Guide 80 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Flagstaff > Flagstaff SE
3.2 of 5 by 25
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Multi-Loop 2.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,694 feet
Elevation Gain -286 feet
Accumulated Gain 650 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.35
Interest Ruins
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
5  2016-08-26
Walnut Canyon Island Trail
7  2015-09-19 AZ_Step
12  2014-05-12 The_Eagle
7  2013-04-21 cindyl
30  2012-05-26 DarthStiller
9  2012-04-22 paulhubbard
4  2012-03-25 AZLOT69
20  2012-01-29 cw50must
Page 1,  2,  3
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct → 9 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:10am - 6:30pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Culture Nearby
Pecan Snacker
by HAZ_Hikebot

Likely In-Season!
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

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
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  • 100 Classic Hikes - 2007
    area related
    100 Classic Hikes - 2007
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.

Most recent of 15 deeper Triplog Reviews
Walnut Canyon
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In Flagstaff for the weekend to attend the annual Overland Expo. It was a great time meeting friends old and new plus researching modifications to my vehicle so we can better reach trail heads near and far.

We wanted to get in a little hike before returning home on Monday. It's been a few decades since visiting Walnut Canyon. Wasn't very crowded. The trails are well done with lots of informative signs. We took our time just enjoying the sites and the cool morning.
Walnut Canyon
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After completing our Grand Canyon overnighter to Monument Creek, Claire & I spent Sunday night in Flagstaff. We wanted a very easy Monday morning hike and set our sights on the Walnut Canyon National Monument. We hiked the lower portion of Walnut Canyon near Fisher Point back in January and wanted to see this section. Everything lined up perfectly for this “hike”.

We made the relatively short drive to Walnut Canyon and walked into the visitor center around 9:15am. This is a National Monument so we knew it was going to be crowded and very easy going. The good thing is we arrived early and the crowds were light. I flashed my National Park Pass and they turned us loose on the Island Trail. This entire “trail” is paved and includes a few hundred stairs. We were both sore from the Grand Canyon so we took our time heading down. I had very low expectations and was pleasantly surprised to see cliff dwellings all over the canyon. There was a large community living here a long time ago!

After a few minutes we reached the bottom of the steps and started the lasso loop. The cliff dwellings along this stretch are fantastic! There were a bunch of separate rooms and there are info signs along the way. The signs said there are up to a few hundred rooms in the entire area and about 60% were used for living quarters. The rest were used for a variety reasons such as storing food, water and tools. Both of us really enjoyed the loop and it was very easy walking. We took a variety of pics and enjoyed this National Monument tremendously!

Once done with the loop we climbed back up the stairs and spent a few minutes enjoying the visitor center. There are some very cool relics that date back roughly 800 years. This turned out to be the perfect morning adventure and was exactly what we were hoping for. I would highly recommend this but be sure to set expectations accordingly. It’s a National Monument so plenty of people will be present. Just go with it and you’ll enjoy stepping back in time to life here that has since moved on and entered the history books.
Walnut Canyon
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Hiked maybe 1/10 mile down the Island Trail (in flip flops :scared:), then the full length of the Rim Trail. Crystal clear but very warm day. Going to wait for cooler weather to complete the hike.
Walnut Canyon
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Day 4 of 4, Hike 1.

I've always wanted to check this place out, and my brother and sister being in town was the perfect excuse.

We got to the Nationaal Monument a few minutes before they opened at 9am and were 4th in line to get in.

We paid our $5 / head and started down the the 240 steps we'd later have to come up.

This seemed to have been a very populated area with lots of ruins located all up and down both sides of the canyon. The ruins on the Island Trail were in all different conditions. and very interesting to examine. They are doing renovations on the trail to the Northwest side and above, so the Island Trail is currently an out and back. Check their website before youy go

The Rim Trail is flat, easy, paved and affords some nice views from the top.
Walnut Canyon
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First time to the monument and we really enjoyed it. Just a small amount of snow there right now, but I think that added to the already great scenery. Hard to believe so many great ruins in the canyon too. We did both Island trail and rim trail. Highly recomended if in the Flagstaff area.
Walnut Canyon
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After getting lunch at Pita Jungle (I had never eaten there and was astounded at the portion sizes. The Moroccan gazpacho was really wonderful but whatever you do, only order the cup... which is really a big bowl.), we drove the back way to our camp (hotel) to store the cooler and then headed out for Walnut Canyon. We got there with just enough time to do the Island Trail which is accessed thru the Visitors Center.

You immediately start heading down 140 or so steps before you level off and then veer to the right to follow the loop next to the ruins. Quite a few folks were huffing and puffing their way up the steps so I thot I may be doing the same on the way out but thankfully that wouldn't be the case as I would be doing plenty of that getting up that last 1/2 mile or so of O'Leary Peak the next day.

I took a lot of video as the lighting wasn't the best and sometimes video works better coming in and out of shadow. However, the lighting would still prove to be somewhat difficult. It truly is amazing how many ruins there are along the way and across the canyon. We eventually encountered a ranger who told us all of these ruins have been restored due to the poaching of the sites back in the day. He said that many of the artifacts and such are in various museums too. People just took whatever they could and some even dynamited :o the shelters to try and find more.

Also what I found interesting is originally the homes were plasterd by the women. The ranger said "tho all of the dwellings along the trail have been stabilized or restored, some original mortars remain in many of the walls. Also, like many dwellings such as these, nature provided the back wall, floor and leak-proof ceiling thereby requiring no excavation."
One set of rooms we walked by did not house people. Archeologists think many rooms were used to store tools, food and water. Residents could have stored a 100-day water supply without much difficulty, given large pottery vessels and the abundant storage rooms found in the canyon.

As we rounded the corner the trail was now shaded and we could see the moon rising above the opposite canyon wall. We enjoyed our walk as we observed the flora along the way and enjoyed the cooler temps. And finally it was our turn to climb the stairs. Ambika sprinted a couple sets of them but she was breathing pretty hard when she was done :lol:

We only had about 10 minutes left before closing time to look thru the gift shop. Ambika found this great Trail Guide booklet that included pictures of some of the beautiful interpretive signs we saw on the trail but neither of us had any money so we went out to Mr. desertgirl and had him empty his wallet. So with $8 dollars and 2 minutes we went back in to the Center. I showed Ambika this book, Flowers of the SW Mountains for only $3.95 that Wendy and I had picked up at the Gila Wildernss Center and then we each got the Walnut Canyon Island Trail Guide. We proudly walked out with our nickel in change :D to present Mr. desertgirl.

It had been 19 years since I was last here so it was good to revisit especially with my hiking companions as they enjoy this stuff as much as I do.

Video 1 (1st part of hike):
Video 2 (2nd part of hike):
Walnut Canyon
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We had debates on whether or not this passage was going to/needed to be done. In my opinion, it had a number, it had to be done.

The drop into Sandy's Canyon was, as always, gorgeous.... as well as the hike through the meadow at the bottom to Walnut Canyon. I remember this area as being one of my favorites so far on the AZT.

I agree that hiking on sidewalks is not really my idea of a good hike, but the city portion was memorable none the less. The gang found all sorts of new props in the "Big City" to play with. Joe even found some new hiking partners for future trips.

Once we started getting away from the pavement and close to the halfway point around Buffalo Park, some goof ball remembered that they had left the keys for the Car at the North TH, in the Car at the South TH. No one else so far has named this numb skull, so I'll keep it that way also.

After lunch in Buffalo Park we discussed our options. Joe, being the trooper he is, never once complained, or squawked (no really!) and offered to go back through his favorite portion of the trail (on the pavement) to retrieve the car and keys. He met up with us at Shultz Tank, fast asleep, dreaming of sugar plumbs and cross walks.

The hike through the flat, but interesting Buffalo Park and back into the hills and green trees was a treat. It's understandable that we saw more hikers, runners and bike riders on this AZT Passage, than any other to date.

Thanks guys for another great AZT walkabout. Thanks again Joe!
Walnut Canyon
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met up with the boys to hike segment 33 of AZT. the beginning of this section is amazing through the canyon with a big meadow and then some views of the peaks. it was pretty cold at the beginning but warmed up quickly. the start of this section has me fired up for the walnut canyon section.

hiking through flagstaff is simply bizarre.

once near buffalo park we realized the error of our ways. we had lunch at the park and joe volunteered to save the day...many thanks to joe for that :worthy:

buffalo park is pretty cool, i was really surprised. as we hiked out of the park onto the network of trails heading out towards schultz pass i was quite impressed with much of the hike and thoroughly enjoyed rambling through the woods. the last half of this hike really did it for me, very nice indeed.

joe was at the trail head sleeping when we finished. he must have simply hauled pumpkin back to the southern trailhead.

thanks again, eagle, for the crash pad. :)
Walnut Canyon
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In between pastoring two churches, just finished serving after 6 years at a church in Chandler on June 1, and start at a church in Oro Valley on Father's Day, so this Sunday I had the rare opportunity to actually "take a hike" on a Sunday! Joined the crew for another AZT segment, which was one we arguably didn't need to do but we did so that we could say we have hiked EVERY segment.

It was actually a really pretty segment, IMO. Yes, you do hike through town in Flagstaff and that part was a bummer (unless you want to grab a Starbucks or a bit of Taco Bell or Mickey-D's on your way through!). Walnut Canyon is always a gorgeous trip though, and of course from Buffalo Park to Schultz Tank was really nice too.

Halfway through the hike (at Buffalo Park) we realized that the keys to the vehicle at the northern TH were in my car at the southern TH. Because we couldn't think of anybody who we could call in town to help us out of our predicament, one of us had to go abandon the hike, hike back to my car at Sandy's Canyon Campground off Lake Mary Road, then drive it around (with the keys to the other car) at Schultz Tank. After we at lunch at Buffalo Park, Joe was kind enough to make the big sacrifice. THANK YOU JOE!!! :thanx: :kf: The rest of us headed toward Schultz Tank, stopping in Buffalo Park for a while to see the sign honoring the founder of the AZT.

On the last part of this hike along the Schultz Creek Trail you follow the creek next to Schultz Pass Road, and about 2.75 miles from our end point at Schultz Tank we saw Joe whizzing by in my Civic toward the northern TH. At that point we realized that not only had he beat us back to a trailhead, but he had also driven my car around from the southern to the northern TH (a half hour drive) and was still going to beat us by an hour to the trailhead! Impressive. :wlift: :worthy:

Saw a few elk out today and some nice flowers. Along Rocky Ridge Trail we saw several prickly pear in one area and a pincushion cactus, so we are so far 26 for 26 AZT segments completed where we have spotted a cactus. Will we find one on all 43 segments? Another question: should a yucca/agave be considered a cactus? (so far that hasn't been part of the consideration... ;) )
Walnut Canyon
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Up in Flag exploring on the east side of the Peaks with Lynn and Hannah. Winter redux of one of my favorite Flag area pics Late Sushi lunch at Karma's before checking out all the snow. Too late in the day to complete the Wupatki Ruins loop...

Permit $$
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Walnut Canyon National Monument
$8 each - valid for 7 days Entrance Fees

Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

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.
3 pack - loud whistle
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