Ten Minutes from Downtown Flagstaff: Pre-Columbian Cliff Dwellings
A ten-mile drive from downtown Flagstaff will take you back about a thousand years if you take a quick hike down into Walnut Canyon National Monument. From about 1150 AD to the early 1300's, this meandering section of forested canyon was home to a thriving village of cliff-dwellers, part of the Sinagua culture.
A series of steep stone steps leads down from the visitor center to the dwellings. The area is often snowy in winter; blanketed in white, it's a striking contrast to most people's mental images of Arizona. Coming from Flagstaff's Victorian downtown, these ancient ruins are a testament to the complex layers of human settlement in the Southwest.
The Sinagua culture is thought to have eventually merged with the modern Hopi people to the northeast.