Banner image courtesy of the NPS
Walnut Canyon National Monument encompasses Archaic period sites, farmers’ hamlets, and cliff dwellings (1100s-1250s). The primary visitor experiences are the Island Trail, which takes visitors to 25 cliff dwelling rooms along the trail (more are visible across the canyon), and the Rim Trail, a self-guided trail along the canyon rim and through ponderosa forest, which offers overlooks, pithouse, pueblo, and the settings in which people grew crops.
After the the railroad’s ascendance in the 1880s, looting led to the 1915 establishment of a national monument. The National Forest Service was the canyon’s first federal protector, and the National Park Service began management in 1934. The Civilian Conservation Corps played a key role in stabilizing and making accessways to what visitors see today. Many inaccessible sites are protected, even though they are necessarily closed to public access.