Hiking Walnut Canyon National Monument Flagstaff, Arizona

Hiking Walnut Canyon National Monument Flagstaff, Arizona Forever sabbatical
houses Walnut Canyon, Forever Sabbatical
Ruins taken with Sony DSC-RX100 VI Camera

Walnut Canyon National Monument in Flagstaff, Arizona was like taking a step back in time to visit the homes of ancient inhabitants. We visited in August 2020. When we arrived we spoke with the Park Ranger who shared with us that the park had only reopened a week prior due to COVID-19 closures. There are two great hikes here: the Island Trail and the Rim Trail.

Getting To Walnut Canyon

Welcome Walnut Canyon, Forever Sabbatical

The Walnut Canyon National Monument is about 190 miles Northwest of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. It can be a few hours drive depending on traffic.

Video footage filmed using the Zhiyun Crane-M2 Gimbal

Island Trail

The Island trailhead is behind the visitor center, which is closed. The facility had to obtain special permission to open two side doors of the government building for hikers to gain access to the trailhead.

There are geological formations of the canyon to view as you stop to rest on the trail. Once you have reached the bottom you get to see 25 cliff dwellings of former homes of ancient residents.

Important information to know before starting this hike:

Distance: 1-mile roundtrip

Number of stair steps: 736 roundtrip

Elevation change: 370 feet

Starting elevation: 6,690 feet

You will need: water, sturdy shoes, sun protection

Note: The trail follows the cliff edge and does not have continuous hand railings. There was no shade on the trail. Remember to take breaks and drink water.

Rim Trail

Rim Walnut Canyon, Forever Sabbatical

Parts of this trail follow the canyon rim and proved wonderful outlooks of the canyon and the cliff dwellings below. It is paved. There are many trees providing shade on the walk. As you continue on the trail follow the signs to visit the ruins. There are a pithouse, a pueblo, and an unexcavated structure. Many educational signs are present to share the history of the area and naming the trees you pass.

main Walnut Canyon, Forever Sabbatical

Distance: 0.7-mile round-trip

No stairs

Easy and fairly level


There were picnic tables, trash cans, and public restrooms. The restrooms were open but check before visiting if this is important. There are lots of trees that provide shade.


Review the park website before visiting for entrance fees and hours.

When we visited there was no fee to enter that day but the visitor center was closed.

When hiking remember to prepare for weather and terrain.

Hiking Walnut Canyon National Monument Flagstaff, Arizona

Sign Walnut Canyon Forever sabbatical

Have you visited Walnut Canyon National Monument in Flagstaff, Arizona? If you did visit, which trail would you go on?

30 thoughts on “Hiking Walnut Canyon National Monument Flagstaff, Arizona
  1. I like the established path on this hike. I have gone a few lately where I am a little more rustic then I would like on a trail.

  2. The cliff dwellings look like a great place to visit. Reminds me of visiting Turkey in my 20’s and visiting the cliff dwellings in the Cappadocia region. I like to imagine who might have lived there. So cool.

  3. Arizona has some fantastic parks. This looks like a great hike with lots of options.

  4. This looks like a cool place to hike. I really enjoyed the little time I had in Arizona this summer. I can’t wait to go back and explore more of the state. It really is beautiful!

  5. Super cool area to explore with ruins and geological formations. The scenery is gorgeous.

  6. Both of these trails look like great hikes! I would love to spend some time in Arizona and visit parks like this!

  7. Wow, those cliff dwellings are breathtaking and probably makes the hike totally worth it!

  8. I’ve been to Flagstaff, but I haven’t been to this place. Will definitely add it to my next Arizona itinerary as I’m all about day hikes and history. Would love to check out those cliff dwellings.

Comments are closed.

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On Instagram