My last stop of the day was at Walnut Canyon National Monument in Flagstaff, AZ.
Walnut Canyon NM was established in 1915 and protects over 300 cliff dwellings used by the ancient Sinagua tribe. This impressive park features several hiking trails including a rim trail that affords many great vistas of the park. The Island Trail descends into the canyon and meanders around many of the ancient dwellings. Many of these dwellings are open so that visitors can take a peak inside. The trail is steep and you will begin by descending man stairs (keep in mind that you have to come back up these). Take plenty of water, your camera and sense of adventure. This is a beautiful park that spent about two and a half hours exploring (would have spent more if I hadn’t been pressed on time).
Note: While visiting I noticed that some dwellings had been blocked to visitors. I ask a ranger about this and he told me that there were two main reasons. The first reason is that some of the dwellings were too dark and only had one small opening to enter/exit though. Because of this, there is a potential to corner a wild animals that could lead to an attack on humans. The other reason is hantavirus. The same dwellings lack good ventilation and because they are dark, may have more rodent traffic and a higher potential to pick up hantavirus (like visitors in Yosemite’s Curry Village did a few years back).