Ruins along the Island Trail in Flagstaff Arizona

Island Trail at Walnut Canyon


Mileage: 1.0
Elevation gain: 334 feet
Time to complete: 1 hour
Stars: ★★★★½
Difficulty: 2/5 (Ratings explained)
273 stairs

See how the Ancestral Pueblo people lived for hundreds of years along the walls of Walnut Canyon at this national monument. The Island Trail does a loop around a large peninsula that juts out into the canyon, passing a couple dozen ruins along the way. Learn the history and view artifacts at the museum run by the National Park Service, or take a stroll along the rim to complete your visit.

Native American ruins, petroglyphs, and artifacts are an important part of our human history and are of significant importance to their modern day descendants. Please protect these irreplaceable sites by looking but not touching or desecrating them in any way. Doing so could subject you to criminal penalties.

Trail Description

To access this trail, you have to go through the visitor center at Walnut Canyon National Monument. The entrance to the trail closes half an hour before the visitor center, so plan to arrive before then.

Island Trail

To get to the Island Trail, go through the visitor center, down the stairs to the back door. The trail is paved, so you’ll know it when you see it, and no GPS is necessary. The first few sets of stairs lead down to a nice viewpoint where you can overlook the canyon. From there, you can see ruins in the distance on the far canyon wall.

You’ll then go down a lot more stairs onto the peninsula where you’ll be directed to travel in a counterclockwise direction on a one way loop.

You’ll immediately start passing by ruins as you go, and there are interpretive signs giving you some more information about the sites and the people who lived there.

Most of the ruins are closed to the public, but there is at least one that allows you to enter and gain a different perspective.

Now, do you remember the 273 stairs you went down to get here? You’re about to be reminded!

Map & Directions

Location Walnut Canyon National Monument, Flagstaff, Arizona

From Flagstaff, take I-40 east and exit at Walnut Canyon Road. Turn right and follow this road into the national monument.

Fees/Passes There is a daily fee for vehicles, or use your America the Beautiful pass

Trailhead Facilities Restrooms and water available at the museum

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Disclaimer Outdoor activities have inherent risk, and we will not be able to tell you all the risks you may face. You are responsible for your own safety, so prepare as well as you can and know your limits. Follow this guide at your own risk. And have fun!

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