Walnut Canyon National Monument~

Southeast of Flagstaff Arizona (click to enlarge and spot the cliff dwellings hidden in the rock face),

on a plateau,

is a six hundred foot deep canyon,

carved by Walnut Creek, a stream that flows east into The Grand Canyon.

Walnut canyon has been occupied by people for thousands of years.

The first permanent residents,

who occupied the region from CE 600- 1400,

left approximately 800 remaining structures.

We visited here as part of an exploration of lesser visited, and even unpublicized cultural sites in the American Southwest. In the next few posts I will show you some of what we have found. But our explorations are still ongoing. It becomes quite addictive finding sites that aren’t widely known. We even found some at The Holler.

For more about Walnut Canyon see:


172 thoughts on “Walnut Canyon National Monument~

  1. Oh my goodness Cindy, your photos are spectacular. Thanks so much for sharing these. I can’t imagine how awesome this monument is in person and the history behind it, when these photos are simply gorgeous. Enjoy the rest of your day! 🌞💖😊

    1. It is interesting how many amazing places get less visitors. Tourists seem to flock places. It is quite a joy to experience places like this without the crowds დ

  2. Sinagua & Anasazi. Fascinating place. My ex & I missed going thru there in 2002 when we were wandering around the SW. In late 2000, he & I were in the Vegas area and he took me to the Hoover Dam. He’d graduated HS in Boulder City and had worked at a snack store, just over the line in Arizona. That is as much of Arizona I have ever been in. 😄

    I do remember seeing portions of that area on TV as The X-Files shot many scenes in the area.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. I know that people lived like this thousands of years ago, but still, it amazes me that they survived in there. Earthquakes would be the first thing that I’d be worried about. I suppose the benefits of the shelter would outweigh the earthquake risk and the insects and snakes they had to deal with.

    1. They lived inside these vertical canyon walls. I just cannot get over how they raised children in such vertical circumstances. The trails between the abodes are practically non-existent. It is hundreds of feet to the valley floor. Even with tethering I don’t know how they accomplished this amazing feat. I can’t even imagine how the adults navigated these sheer cliffs, much less children. Remarkable დ

  4. SO cool!! We’ve to similar ancient dwelling sites but I never tire of seeing them, so thank you for sharing! Also, ahhhh! You use “C.E.”! ❤️ I knew you’re awesome and you just keep proving it.

    1. It is so incredible to visit these sites and to find new ones. They are fascinating and endlessly intriguing. You know what CE means my friend, so you are awesome too! დ

  5. Very interesting geology Cindy. The bedding looks undisturbed. That alcove area had to be a much softer rock. Very fine sediment from a slow moving river. The stream cut through the rock and when It got to that softer layer, it eroded it real easy.
    Those orange covered walls were recently created (within 20 years?). In one of your shots it shows the original wall with this recently built wall as well. The colouring of both are totally different.
    I bet in the heat of the day these alcoves would be perfectly cool! Perfect summer location!

    1. Yes and warm in winter. Perfectly sheltered from threats of all sorts, except for falls. Many of the sites were extensively looted and pillaged, leaving rubble, others are intact. There are hundreds of lodges throughout the canyon. Some carefully done repairs have been carried out to maintain the structures which can be read about in depth online. დ

            1. The canyon itself was used seasonally for thousands of years by earlier more nomadic people. I know the cliff dwellers grew crops on the plateau, so that would be springtime into summer. Water dried up in the creek in the summer so they stored it for months in the cliff shelters for use in summer. They built the dwellings so air could enter in the bottom and exit towards the top allowing them to have fire. These shelters would have been protected from the elements in winter and summer (heat & cold). They are built under natural rock overhangs, into the belly of the rock, so their roof, back walls, and sometimes side walls, are all natural mountain rock face. I would snug in the winter.

      1. There were amazing illustrations that answered some of these questions. Maybe I will post them. I found them fascinating. You could visualize their communal and co-operative daily life. They had agriculture on the plateau, and the river on the canyon floor. They raised water in pots with ropes and brought in firewood the same way. Many of the rooms were used to store food, and water which they stored for months over the dry summers. They used ladders to climb from level to level. The things that I still cannot fathom is how they raised children here. They must have tethered toddlers. The paths on some of the lodging was practically non-existent. It would be really scary for me to try and walk on many of them. I can’t imagine trying to raise children there. The rocks to build the dwellings would be all around them. They used tools and shaped them. The bathroom, I don’t know, but honestly that might be the easiest part of living here. The canyon would provide private places to dispose easily of waste. The questions are seriously interesting and confounding, I know. Mostly because these dwellings are hundreds of feet up sheer canyon faces. They must have been incredibly agile and skillful დ

    1. We found another amazing site that we viewed from a distance as it is not open to the public and not publicized. There are intact lodgings with abundant artifacts at that site. More on this later and we found other places as well, many I only learned about from other bloggers. Not publicized at all დ

  6. It leaves you in wonder of what came before us. The struggles that we have no real comprehension of but still amazes us how they did it all anyway. Great shots Cindy, looking forward to more 😀 ❤️ 🙏🏽 🦋

    1. It would indeed. What if really piquing our interest is sites that are not publicized. You follow clues. Many I learned of only from other intrepid bloggers. Thank you bloggers! დ

    1. I am so glad you have visited and experienced this place Lynette. It is true that are so many sites and artifacts throughout the southwest that you can never see them all დ

  7. I look forward to seeing more. The southwest is so magical. I recall my visit to Bandelier years ago. It is likely that other beings visited these areas many many years ago.

  8. Wow, Cindy, such an extraordinary journey.
    I’ve always been fascinated by the cliff dwellers – we’ve always seen from a distance…never ventured into the actual spaces.

  9. Ahhh…feeling sendimental just looking at these spectacular shots. If I were you I walnut leave this place. Lol! ( ˭̵̵̵̵͈́◡ु͂˭̵̵̵͈̀ )ˉ̞̭❤️❤️❤️🌈

  10. Pingback: Walnut Canyon National Monument~ — – Echoes in the Mist

  11. Walnut Canyon was my first “direct” contact with those ancient civilizations when we went to Sedona in 2019. [https://wp.me/p4uPk8-2tH] Unfortunately, I couldn’t take that path along the cliff dwellings as A didn’t want to leave Mary, who at that time was wheelchair bound, on her own for too long. All the more I like your pictures here. ☺👍 I’m very much looking forward to seeing more of them.
    As to lesser knownplaces of the ancients: when we stayed at a AirBnB near Cortez/Co [to visit the well-known Mesa Verde], we found out that the “Kelly Place” [https://wp.me/p4uPk8-54V], that AirBnB where we stayed, had quite a few remains on their own ground!

    1. How wonderful! I read your posts carefully and enjoyed them. We stayed just outside of Cortez in an off the grid cabin. We found some amazing sites. And yes, remains and artifacts are all over the southwest, finding them is thrilling. Bloggers are the ones who lead me to the most remote and unknown places for which I am very grateful. დ

      1. Thanks for reading my posts. Am glad you enjoyed them. s you will have seen in my posts, our place was off the grid, too. Maybe a little farther from Cortez than the place you stayed at.

  12. I can’t fathom living in such a place! It looks far too remote for my liking, though I have to admit the scenery every day looks breath-taking!

    1. 800 years ago it was a communal village, with the river and fertile valley below, crops growing on the plateau, and people living all around each other and cooperating to survive. დ

    1. I hope I did. It is immense and the people built dwellings that blend so intelligently and beautifully into the natural environment. We could learn a lot from them if we were so inclined დ

  13. At last! A place you have been that I have actually visited! Although I don’t recall seeing you there! I saw my first hummingbird while visiting Walnut Canyon and I was beside myself with excitement!

    1. I saw a Golden Eagle flying over the canyon as we left. The Hopi believe these are spiritual visitors. I understand your excitement and I am happy you have experienced this magical place დ

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