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Exploring Walnut Canyon’s Ancient Cliff Dwellings

On our way to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert here in Arizona, we noticed another little patch of green on the map…Walnut Canyon National Monument.

walnut canyon map

We just renewed our America the Beautiful pass and as a general rule, we don’t pass up a green spot on a map unless it’s crazy out of the way.

(The yearly pass is $80 and covers entrance fees at national parks, national wildlife refuges, amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation.  Big savings if you are planning to visit at least a couple of parks in a year or do some boondocking)

Walnut Canyon National Monument is 3600 acres of curved canyon walls, cliff formations and of course the former homes of ancient people.

cliff dwellings
(it’s no wonder they lived in these cliffs, it’s the perfect camoflauge hideout)

cliff views

the island trail

canyon rim

Potentially, very very short ancient people.

small entry

We took a few minutes to sip on tea while trying to imagine what is was like living in a Sinagua culture or “mountains without water”.

tea for thought

We couldn’t even bring ourselves to downsize our RV much less live on so few resources.  I have always said I could do anything for a week and maybe a month.  In this cold weather, I think it would be a week tops.

tree in walnut canyon

Jason Wynn

rock formation

All in all it was an interesting look into our ancestor’s history with some very cool cliff views, and a great spot to get out and stretch our road-weary legs.

Our Suggestions:  Watch the quick 20min video in the visitor’s center so you know what you’re looking at.  Then take the 1mile Island Trail.  They note the trail as strenuous (because of stairs) and even with my injured ankle I found it to be very easy.

Have you been to Walnut Canyon or any of the other “green spaces” near Flagstaff? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (11)

  • Joey Belanger

    I loved Walnut Canyon. Wupatki and Sunset Crater (both nearby) were great too!

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  • Great photos! Makes me remember visiting Walnut Canyon when I was younger. Last time I was driving though Flagstaff I wasn’t able to stop, but for sure next time!

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  • Gina and Jeff

    Hi guys. We loved walnut canyon and have been back a few times to take guests. The first time Jeff and I went it rained and we went back to the motor home, made a Bloody Mary and watched HGTV and that is where we discovered the Wynn’s for the first time. BTW….. Have you had a bloody yet? We loved your bread Niki and will be trying to duplicate it.

    Take care

    PS don’t forget the pic 🙂

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  • Love these pictures! We must have driven right by this place on the way to the Petrified Forest last year. Bummer. I’m a little ashamed too bc like you we try to never miss a green spot on the map. Glad I got to see it through your eyes though.

    PS can’t wait to hear about the medical stuff in Mexico!

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  • Randy McCoy

    Thank you for sharing…enjoy your take and videos as I am still a weekend warrior…be interested in your upcoming medical stuff in ol Mexico…safe travels and God bless.

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  • Great pics and some useful information.
    Thank You for sharing.

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    • Our Pleasure. There are loads of cliff dwellings in the 4 corners area of the USA, I’m just sad we didn’t have time to see more up close and personal….this country is too stinkin’ big!

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  • Carol Pike

    Tks. for sharing! Very interesting..

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  • Mary. Van

    Beautiful cliffs and a beautiful day. Could you climb in the caves like Mesa Verde?

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