Out and About in the West/Southwest travel blog

Visitors Center

Plateau Elevation

Canyon from Visitors Center

Start of Trail Down

238 Steps


Side Wall

Path Leading to Cave Dwellings

Cave Dwellings: Opposite Rim

Opposite Rim Up Closer

Our Side

Entrance with Chimney

Room with a View

Inside Looking Out



Back Up the Stairs

Today we visited Walnut Canyon National Monument, which is just outside of Flagstaff. What a beautiful and interesting place, with tons of history. It's a deep canyon studded with Ponderosa Pine trees and gray limestone walls. About 800 years ago, it was inhabited by the Sinagua people who lived in caves along the canyon walls. In Spanish, Sinagua means "without water", which is an apt designation given the arid condition of the plateau above. Nevertheless, the Sinagua lived in the canyon for about 100 years, before moving on and assimilating into the Hopi tribes in northeastern AZ. They hunted and farmed the plateau, with corn being their major crop. The caves provided shelter from the sun and from the harsh winter conditions (this is AZ High Country, where snow does fall). The walk into the canyon starts with 248 steps down a staircase, then proceeds on a windy, up-and-down, path. You pass right by a series of caves along one side of the canyon, with more "apartments" evident on the opposite side. Some of the rooms have crude chimneys hacked through the limestone. It's a pretty walk.....but then there are the 248 steps back up to the Visitors' Center.

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