Travel Date: September 28, 2018
We packed up from our overnight stay at La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Arizona to drive up to my uncle and aunt’s home in Cottonwood. On the way we stopped for a short hike at Walnut Canyon National Monument which is just a few miles east of Flagstaff. This area was home to the cliff dwelling Sinagua -Spanish for “Without Water”) people in the 12th and 13th century CE. We’ve visited other, similar sites in the American southwest in the past few years.
- Mesa Verde, Colorado
- Montezuma Castle, Arizona
- Montezuma’s Well, Arizona
- Tuzigoot, Arizona
These were tough people. They built their home in the cliffs and farmed down in the valleys near the rivers. This means they had to haul EVERYTHING up steep slopes to their dwellings; water, stones, food, you name it.
A beautiful overview of the area opens up just behind the visitors’ center. You can get a good idea of the obstacles the inhabitants face in building their homes. I think the loop trail goes along part of the mountain on the left side of the picture below.
On the trail we saw cliff dwellings on the cliff face across the canyon.
Closer views of the cliff dwellings:
Then we got to walk through one of the ruins on our trail.
Here is a view showing challenges of living on a cliff face. It’s not easy venturing out.
Plants and birds make their homes on the cliff faces.
Like our other hikes on this trip we started at 6,690 feet (2,040 meters) which is over 1,000 feet(305 meters) above sea level. So, once again we huffed and puffed and rested a bit on the way back up to the visitors’ center.
Even given the elevation change this is a fairly easy hike with a packed trail. Stairs along the way and steep stretches means this is not wheelchair accessible. The Grand Canyon is within 100 miles and gets most of the attention; but this is still a great option for an informative and beautiful hike.
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