Never stop exploring! That needs to be my motto, because every time I think I know what I will see when out hiking, I am surprised by what I find. Case in point, Walnut Canyon, I have been to the city of Flagstaff, Arizona area numerous times and yet this unbelievable ancient settlement was just over 10 miles from the city. I decided to check it out on a whim while I was picking out high altitude training spots. I am so glad I chose this amazing place!
This canyon was once home to the Sinagua Indians who built cliff dwellings under limestone ledges, deep within the canyon, some time between 1125 and 1400 AD. They were able to have a thriving community for hundreds of years until they mysteriously moved away.
I choose this place because I wanted a relatively easy hike to see how my lungs would handle the high altitude in this area before moving on to more challenging trails. The beauty of this hike is that you can actually go down a steep trail (about 185 feet) and walk right up to the ancient rooms where families lived. They are well preserved and the views down into the canyon are beautiful.
The entire trail is 1 mile. Going down to the dwellings is relatively easy, there are 240 paved steps. Going back up is a bit of a workout especially if you are not used to hiking at an altitude of 7,000 feet. Go at your own pace!
Some Important Tips for hiking Walnut Canyon
- There is a $15 entry fee per car, this covers your entry into the visitor center and the trails.
- Bring water and a hat. Even though the temperatures are cold to mild, their is direct sun and it is intense.
- Plan on your hike taking about 2 hours. You will want to slowly explore the cliff dwelling s and take lots of pictures
- There is a strict No Pets policy. If you enjoy hiking with your dog, you must leave him home.
Make sure to check out these sites for updated info prior to your visit
Have fun, enjoy the hike!