"Basaic Walnut Canyon National Monument Page" Walnut Canyon National Monument by Basaic
Walnut Canyon National Monument Travel Guide: 27 reviews and 83 photos
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.
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.
You do not see the cliff dwelling in this picture because it was damaged by people collecting souvenirs before Walnut... more travel advice
If you don't feel quite up to the Rock Island Trail then you can try the Rim Trail. The Rim Trail is a .7 mile paved... more travel advice
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