Walnut Canyon National Monument

The Sinagua were Ancient Puebloans who populated north central Arizona from about 600 until 1400 A.D. The Sinagua of Walnut Canyon initially lived and farmed on the canyon rim, but started building dwellings in the canyon alcoves around 1100 A.D. They inhabited these cliff dwellings until 1250 A.D., then vanished. The Sinagua left over 80 cliff dwellings behind. Walnut Canyon was established as a National Monument in 1915 to protect the dwellings and their contents.

I've been to Walnut Canyon three times, in 1998, 2002, and 2021. I've included some side-by-side photos of the same subject taken from different visits.

Entrance Sign 1998

Entrance Sign 2021

Visitor Center Information Desk

Gift Shop

Island Trail

The Island Trail is one mile round trip and strenuous. After dropping 185 feet down 240 steps and crossing a small saddle, it loops around a rocky butte known as the Island. The gravel trail around the Island is fairly level and passes 25 cliff dwellings. The loop is completed by ascending 185 back up to the visitor center. The loop around the Island can be hiked in either direction.

Island Trail

Beginning (or End) of Island Trail

Cliff Dwellings 1998

Cliff Dwellings 2002

Cliff Dwellings 2021

Room Block under Overhang

Room Block under Overhang 2002

Room Block under Overhand 2021

Room Block under Overhang

Island Trail

Room under Overhand

Room under Overhand

Island Trail

Room Block

Door between Rooms

Cactus in Bloom

Smoke blackened walls

Island Trail

Walnut Canyon Rim Trail

The Canyon Rim Trail is an easy 0.7 mile loop. There are a couple of canyon overlooks, and many identified types of flora along the way. The last part of the loop passes by a pit house and pueblo set back from the canyon rim and ends at the parking lot.

Walnut Canyon Rim Trail

Fremont Mahonia

Walnut Canyon

Mountain Mahogany

Indian Paintbrush

Visitor Center 1998
View from Walnut Canyon Rim Trail

Visitor Center 2021
View from Walnut Canyon Rim Trail

Blue Elderberry

Broad Leaf Yucca Flowers

Canyon Rim Room Block 1998

Canyon Rim Room Block 2021

Canyon Rim Room Block

Thanks to Wikipedia and the National Park Service for background content.
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