Walnut Canyon National Monument

Across the canyon

Day One of our trip to Flagstaff Arizona we traveled from Phoenix to Flagstaff by car. It took about 3 hours and we arrived pretty early, too early to check into our cabin we rented, so we met my brother and his family at the Cracker Barrel in Flagstaff after lunch we decided to tackle Walnut Canyon hike to the cliff dwellings. I’m not going to sugar coat this hike… Its a HIKE. At 6690 above sea level, the air is pretty thin and the hike is considered strenuous because of the elevation. The Island Trail descends 185 feet down a very well maintained trail into the canyon providing access to 25 cliff dwelling rooms. The trail is a strenuous .9 mile round trip. But remember you are climbing the 240 steps back up and it does tax heart and lungs. Bring water!

Please click on the photos to enlarge detail.

There are lots of benches to stop and rest. That’s Mike waving at me.
Click on this photo to see the actual trail.
Click on the photo to see some of the stairs descending into the canyon.
Indian Paint Brush
Candie on the trail ahead of me.
Candie and I stop a lot for photo ops.
Following Candie on the trail past destroyed ancient dwellings.
More vandalized cliff dwellings.
Twisted root.
Beautiful blooming Yucca Plant.
More cliff dwellings across the canyon.
Some are one room. Others have connecting doors.
The black on the celling is actual soot from cooking and warming fires.
My brother Kevin and Mike checking out an almost perfect dwelling.
Moving right along, there is so much more to see!
A beautiful example of a thistle bloom.
My nephew Jarrett picked out his favorite dwelling.
Mike did too.
My brother and his fiancé Candie heading back up the trail. I’m bring up the rear.
The stairs leading back up the the last landing before you reach the visitors center again. We made it!

This is a DO NOT MISS hike if you are ever in the Area. Worth every step. Wear comfortable shoes or hiking boots. Bring your water and camera and enjoy!

The information below was taken directly from the National Park Service website:

“Walnut Canyon National Monument is located approximately 7.5 miles (12km) east of Flagstaff.

To reach Walnut Canyon from Flagstaff, travel east on Interstate 40 toward Albuquerque. Take Exit 204, and head south. The Walnut Canyon Visitor Center is located at the end of this 3 mile road.


Tight turn-around in parking area for towed vehicles; 40 feet (12 meters) maximum length is recommended.

(A note about GPS units: We highly recommend you follow these directions or call the visitor center (928) 526-3367) and NOT rely on your GPS unit. While GPS units can be very useful in urban environments, they will often lead you astray in trying to reach Walnut Canyon. These units often do not accurately discern paved from unpaved roads, and may lead you into situations that vary from frustrating to dangerous.”

There are a lot of other things you can do if you are this area. There are 4 more parts to this post about Flagstaff Arizona so stay tuned! Click LIKE and also visit us on Facebook ( Northern Star Travelers ) for updates for this blog.

Enjoy Life… Live it.

Northern Star Travelers

Really Rainey and Mike