For a relaxing getaway in one of Arizona's most beautiful spots, consider a trip to Walnut Canyon National Monument. It's the perfect spot to reconnect with nature while studying one of America's most fascinating early cultures.
Walnut Canyon National Monument is located just outside the metropolitan city of Flagstaff, Arizona. An area that enjoys all four seasons, this monument is open year-round but experiences closures during bouts of heavy snow or inclement weather.
The property was once home to an early people group known by the name Sinagua. Sinagua is a Spanish "handle," meaning "without water." President Woodrow Wilson declared the region a national monument on November 30th, 1915. This initiative took place to help preserve the pueblo dwellings which had been carved into cliffs and which were in danger of falling into perilous decay. Today, there are over 25 cliffside dwellings families can explore.
Though it has been more than 700 years since a civilization made this area their home, there is still much to see here. There are 3600 acres of varied hilly terrain that are ripe for exploring. Though the harsh winter environment made for an abbreviated growing season, the Sinagua people were able to harvest bountiful crops of maize, beans, and squash due to the favorable summer conditions.
For an outdoor adventure you'll not soon forget, plan a trip to Walnut Canyon National Monument. You'll have an amazing time.
The trip from Flagstaff, AZ to Walnut Canyon National Monument is 12 miles in total. To reach the monument, follow I-40 E to exit 204. Make a right hand turn onto Walnut Canyon Rd. You will spot the monument on the right hand side. This route travels on highways comprised of two lanes. All of the roads are kept in good condition, and traffic flows well. Road construction is very infrequent.
Parking is available in a lot at the entrance to Walnut Canyon National Monument.
There is no public transportation available to the monument grounds.
Bonito Campground is a camping facility outside Flagstaff, AZ open for RV and tent camping on a first come, first served basis. The property is operated by the U.S. Forest Service and offers limited camping spaces from May through mid-October yearly.
Generator use is allowed, and dogs may join their families on the premises so long as they remain leashed and quiet. RVs and trailers are accommodated as long as they are under 42 feet.
There are very few amenities at this public camping facility but they do have flush toilets and drinking water.
Fancy a picnic lunch? Walnut Canyon National Monument is an extremely picturesque spot to enjoy a meal or snack on the grounds. Choose from one of the property's picnic areas or find a spot all your own where you can roll out a picnic blanket and spread out your feast for family and friends to enjoy.
Bring along a packed lunch from home and lots of drinking water too. Walnut Canyon National Monument is extremely dog friendly, so your pooch can join you on your picnic adventure.
The cave dwellings at Walnut Canyon National Monument are a sight to behold. Put on your best hiking shoes and set out for adventure with your family and friends in tow.
Be sure to stay strictly to the paths and trails to avoid accident or injury as the cave beds do experience decay, and not all ground is completely stable. Due to the unstable nature of the cave dwellings, it is best to leave Fido at home.
Walnut Canyon National Monument is home to a number of different and interesting plant and wildlife species. Come prepared with your binoculars, your camera, a naturalist's guide, and your best walking shoes, and you've got a recipe for success.
A trip through the property will yield the uniquely curved walls of the canyon as well as an abundance of verdant plant life. Many different animals make this region their home including squirrels, rabbits, foxes, coyotes, and more.
There are no shortage of hiking trails to enjoy at Walnut Canyon National Monument. Follow one of the two main trails which traverse through hilly terrain, intense valleys, and the rich canyon grounds, or chart a course all your own.
You will need to come attired in appropriate clothing for hiking in winter conditions. Dress in layers to keep the cold at bay. It is a good idea to bring along drinking water and snacks to enjoy. Fido is welcome to tag along on your hike so long as he remains on a leash.
With such picturesque scenery and bountiful plant and animal life, you won't want for subject matter at Walnut Canyon National Monument. Wander through the woodlands and into the cavernous valleys in search of picture perfect moments.
You'll want to train your lens on some of the 25 remaining pueblo rooms which form a part of the region's rich history. While you're at it, grab a few family photos as souvenirs of your day of fun.
If you've got a more urban adventure on your mind, why not take a day trip into Flagstaff, AZ? Located only 12 miles from Walnut Canyon National Monument, you'll find tons of things to do in this great city. From fantastic restaurants to shopping, cultural experiences, and so much more, Flagstaff really has got it all.
As an added bonus, you can stop by to visit Walnut Creek, the body of water which connects the monument region to the Little Colorado River, forming a bridge which ultimately leads to the Grand Canyon.