Island Trail and Walnut Canyon Loop
Over 700 years ago, a pueblo community lived within Walnut Canyon. While the community is long gone, their structures still partly stand. Peer into the rooms of their dwellings as you explore this short, interesting historic loop hike. While the trail is rated as moderate, with about 56 m of vertical drop, those not acclimatized to 2,134 m may wish to spend a day or two in Flagstaff before visiting. This route adds a short stretch along the canyon wall to the traditional Island Trail, so it’s a good pick if you want a bit more distance in your explorations of the canyon.
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Route Description for Island Trail and Walnut Canyon Loop
Over 700 years ago, the walls of Walnut Canyon echoed with the activity of a large pueblo community. These people thrived in this stunning canyon, and although their community is gone, the remnants of their dwellings are still here. This hike leads you along a trail lined with 25 structures. You can see their rooms, their homes, and their walls, still standing within the canyon walls. The Walnut Canyon National Monument of Arizona is a fascinating lesson in the original human history of this part of northern Arizona. This loop adds a short stretch of trail along the canyon and to a separate ruin, so it’s a nice one to choose if you want a little more distance than the Island Trail alone offers.
The Walnut Canyon National Monument occasionally limits its hours, so plan to complete your hike between 9 AM and 4:30 PM. There are restroom facilities and a park store as well as a visitor center, which is often closed for a half-hour over lunch.
Since this area is very important historically, it’s up to all of us to preserve it for future generations of adventurers. Stay on the trails and do not touch or lean on the dwelling structures. Keep your kids off the structures and don’t disturb any features. Dogs are not allowed on this trail.
At the trailhead, you’ll hike out towards the island in the canyon. There are stone steps to help you get down and across to the island. Take your time examining the dwellings and reading the interpretive signage. Some of the structures that remain are impressively preserved. The loop travels clockwise around the small island. Back off the island, take a right on Rim Trail and then backtrack up to the 2-room ruin. From here, the route returns to the trailhead.
Getting to the Island Trail and Walnut Canyon Loop Trailhead
The trailhead for the Island Trail and Walnut Canyon Loop is at the end of Walnut Canyon Road.
Island Trail and Walnut Canyon Loop Elevation Graph
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Island Trail and Walnut Canyon Loop Reviews
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