"Basaic Walnut Canyon National Monument Page" Walnut Canyon National Monument by Basaic

Walnut Canyon

Walnut Canyon is a long series of narrow canyons with very rough terrain. The presence of water in this normally dry area made the canyon a rare and valuable location for the early human inhabitants, and a variety of plants and animals. The canyon’s natural abundance and diversity provided home sites, building materials, and a storehouse of foods, medicines, dyes, and other raw materials that sustained a prehistoric civilization. Walnut Canyon National Monument was established in 1915 specifically to preserve the “prehistoric ruins of ancient cliff dwellings.” The canyon is a place of concentrated biological productivity – because of its varied exposures and elevations, together with seasonal water, all compressed into a narrow band within a surrounding pine forest. The canyon twists and turns, creating a patchwork of sun and shadow. Hot dry desert-like slopes and shaded forests, normally separated by thousands of feet in elevation, are found here almost side by side. With these overlapping habitats come unusual assortments of plants and animals, and a high concentration of sensitive species. At the same time, the canyon serves as an important wildlife migration corridor, linking higher elevation forests with lower pine-juniper woodlands to the east.

Cave and Cliff Dwellings

There are over 25 rooms of cave and cliff dwellings along the Island Trail with many more visible along the canyon walls on the other side of the canyon. There are more homes all along the canyon.


In 2008 there was a reminder that the earth is constantly changing when the movement of the earth's surface caused a rockslide blocking a portion of the Island Trail. When I visited in October 2008 there were some volunteers (mostly college kids) walking up the 240 steps on the trail carrying rocks, rebar, and other debris to clear the trail so it can again be used.

  • Last visit to Walnut Canyon National Monument: May 2015
  • Intro Updated May 13, 2015
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Reviews (13)

Comments (3)

  • SAMRetired's Profile Photo
    Oct 19, 2009 at 1:36 PM

    Mr. B. I remember the hike you took me on during CFPSO. I am still out of breath.

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Oct 18, 2009 at 1:32 PM

    YOu again did a great job of describing the park and its features. I am inputting my data now and then getting around to Sunset. We have visited many similar places in SW

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Feb 12, 2009 at 8:56 AM

    Hi, Jim! Such an attracting place! Thanks for sharing!


“As for me, I'll take the road less traveled.”

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