We drove a loop today to visit the three Flagstaff Area National Monuments:

Our first stop, Walnut Canyon, featured cliff dwellings of the Hopi Indians back around 1200 AD. The canyon itself was very pretty, and the 1 mile loop trail allowed you to explore partially restored cliff dwellings, and also see others in the walls across the canyons. The canyon walls were carved out by erosion and the Hopi took advantage of the natural roof and back wall to build their cliff dwellings. There was also a pueblo and they farmed on the canyon rim. If you look closely at the canyon wells, you can see openings for some of the cliff dwellings.

Our next stop, Sunset Crater, was the site of a volcanic eruption that occurred in 1085 AD. This eruption was very disruptive to the Ancestral Puebloan people, destroying many farms and forcing them to migrate to other areas. The eruption of this volcano is part of their history and stories were passed down from generation to generation. The evidence of this eruption, even so long ago, is still visible. Lava fields with virtually no plant growth still exist where the lava was deepest. In other areas, the lava is still visible, but plants have begun to reclaim the area.

In some of these pictures, you see the San Francisco Peaks which, at one point, together formed a super volcano that erupted between 900,000 and 400,000 years ago.

We headed to Wupatki National Monument next, following a scenic road that overlooked the Painted Dessert, that I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post. We were not that close, AND it was very windy so sand was blowing, obscuring the view, but I like this picture!

View of the Painted Dessert

The Wupatki National Monument had several locations with the remains of Hopi pueblos, built around 1100 AD, but partially restored to allow visitors to get an idea of what the pueblos were like.

Another great day in the books!

About Author

Karen is a retired software developer, now exploring our beautiful country with her husband, Steve.

You might also enjoy: