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Exploring Ancient Cliff Dwellings: A Family Adventure Guide to Walnut Canyon National Monument with Kids

Walnut Canyon National Monument is a fantastic destination for families looking for a unique outdoor adventure. Walnut Canyon was right on the way for our Arizona road trip. The park is located near Flagstaff, Arizona, and features a stunning canyon filled with ancient cliff dwellings and scenic hiking trails. Here is everything you need to know about visiting Walnut Canyon National Monument with kids in January:

Exploring the Park

Walnut Canyon National Monument offers visitors the chance to hike down into the canyon and explore the ancient cliff dwellings that were once home to the Sinagua people. The Island Trail is the most popular hike in the park, and it is perfect for families with kids of all ages. The trail is about 1 mile long and takes hikers down into the canyon to explore several cliff dwellings. Along the way, there are informative signs that provide details about the history and culture of the Sinagua people who lived in the area over 800 years ago.

The park also offers several other hiking trails, ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous. Families with young children might want to explore the Rim Trail, which is an easy and mostly flat trail that offers stunning views of the canyon from above.

Jr. Ranger Program

The Walnut Canyon Jr. Ranger Program is a fantastic way for kids to learn more about the park and earn a badge as a Jr. Ranger. The program is free and open to all kids. Pick up a Jr. Ranger booklet at the visitor center, and then complete a series of activities and challenges throughout the park. Once they have completed the activities, they can turn in their booklet and be sworn in as a Jr. Ranger.

History of the Park

Walnut Canyon National Monument is home to some of the most well-preserved cliff dwellings in North America. The Sinagua people lived in the canyon for over 400 years, from about 1100 to 1540 AD. The cliff dwellings were constructed using sandstone blocks and adobe mortar, and they provided shelter and protection for the Sinagua people. The park’s visitor center features exhibits and artifacts that help visitors learn more about the history and culture of the Sinagua people.

Visiting Walnut Canyon National Monument in January with kids is a fantastic way to explore Arizona’s natural beauty and learn about the history of the region. Families can hike down into the canyon, explore ancient cliff dwellings, and participate in the Jr. Ranger Program. It’s a perfect winter adventure for families who love the outdoors and want to experience Arizona’s unique history and culture.


Elizabeth is a Type A, Attorney turned Stay-at-Home Mom, who moved her family across the Atlantic for an adventure. She can often be found out and about finding fun things for her littles to do. Elizabeth loves to read, craft and chat with friends. She will try just about anything and loves to share her experiences.

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