With its steep and sheer walls, Walnut Canyon provided homebuilding advantages along with controlled access. Living here, people were situated to monitor their world. This was not uncommon; most villages of the time had some form of passive defense and line-of-sight communication.
Horizontal ledges served as pathways connecting home to home, such as those visible across the canyon. Game trails, natural breaks, and side canyons were the avenues linking the rim to the canyon floor.
People also built trails, complete with graded switchbacks.
"...a stratum of rock, softer than those above, had been hollowed out by the action of time....The over-hanging cliff made a foot two hundred feet thick. The hard stratum was an everlasting floor. Thus the houses stood along in a row, like the buildings in a city block, or like a barracks."
Willa Cather describing a visit to Walnut Canyon, in Song of the Lark, 1912