Walnut Canyon – Flagstaff, Arizona - Atlas Obscura
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Flagstaff, Arizona

Walnut Canyon

Ancient pueblos built into the base of a natural canyon wall. 

Ancient cliff dwelling ruins amidst geological beauty.

The Sinagua people of arid Arizona were a pre-Colombian people who lived in Walnut Canyon circa 1100 CE to 1250 CE. The canyon was formed by Walnut Creek, and lies on the Colorado Plateau. Here, the Sinagua built around 80 dwellings beneath ledges of Kaibab limestone. Though they were adept at thriving in such a dry climate, and are even thought to have established a trading empire that extended towards Central America, why they abandoned their small community in Walnut Canyon remains a mystery. The picturesque site is now a protected national monument and visitors can walk through the ruins of the pueblos nestled beneath the cliffs.

 

Know Before You Go

Located about 7.5 miles east of FlTo reach Walnut Canyon from Flagstaff, travel east on Interstate 40 toward Albuquerque. Take Exit 204, and head south. The Walnut Canyon Visitor Center is located at the end of this three mile road. It complements the Grand Canyon National Park so well; green where the Grand Canyon is arid, small where the Grand Canyon is enormous, and completely manageable in one morning. Walnut Canyon is a National Monument and has frequent tours and stationed interpreters. The visitor center has a picnic area, bathroom, and water fountain.