Location: 3 Walnut Canyon Road, Flagstaff, AZ
Designation: National Monument
Date NPS designation declared: 11/30/1915
Date of my visit: August 2014
We stopped here towards the end of our trip after seeing the awesome Glen, Marble and Grand Canyons, so as a canyon, Walnut Canyon was a little anticlimactic . However the walk down the many steps of the Island Trail leading around the cliff dwelling ruins was really peaceful and interesting . There are signs along the way, so ( in about an hour) you can learn a lot about the place and the Sinagua people who built the dwellings. There are about 25 cliff dwelling rooms along the trail; more are visible across the canyon. It’s a one mile roundtrip trail, but it is somewhat strenuous. Elevation at the rim is 7000 feet and the stairs descend almost 200 vertical feet into the canyon (and then back up again!)
The rim trail is easier, but nothing special…you won’t get to see any ruins that way. There are two canyon overlooks, but again, this canyon, while pretty and more lush, can’t compare to the glory of the Grand Canyon.
There is a museum and a bookstore in the visitor center and there weren’t many people even though we visited at the height of the busy season for the area. Definitely worth the stop if you need to break up a long ride to one of the more popular attractions.