The Island Trail, visible below you, follows the sharp meander of Walnut Creek. Many cliff dwelling rooms, unique in this area, were built throughout the canyon at the level of this trail. On both rims are numerous pithouses and pueblos.
On the very top of the rock promontory or "island" before you, are more rooms. Walls were constructed to block easy access to them.
Maybe this intriguing arrangement of sites met seasonal, security, social, or ritual needs.
Walnut Canyon was known and used by people for thousands of years before it became a focal point for a community during the 1100s. Changing natural and social conditions across the region undoubtedly played into the decision to settle here. By 1100 the Southwest's population had swelled. People were looking for new places to live and farm.
There may have been other attractions. Some tribal consultants believe people built here for refuge and protection, or for isolation and ceremonial preparation.
[Photo captions read]
[1.] This large pueblo can be seen along the Rim Trail. Cliff dwellings were built on ledges throughout the canyon. You will see this one [in photo 2]on your hike around the "island."
[2.] Ancestral homesites are claimed by various groups today including Hopi clans that trace their migrations through Walnut Canyon and these dwellings.
[3.] Depending on the calculation method used, Walnut Canyon's peak population may have been as few as 75 people or as many as 400.