National Park Service

Southern Colorado Plateau Network (SCPN)

Walnut Canyon National Monument (WACA)

Gray's Arizona valeriana<br />(NPS photo) Canyon tree frog blending into the surrounding rock<br />(NPS photo) Up-canyon view from the Island Trail<br />(NPS photo) Partial walls at Nine-Room Site along Island Trail<br />(NPS photo) Poison oak in full fall color in Cherry Canyon<br />(NPS photo) Geomorphology survey in Cherry Canyon<br />(SCPN photo) Cliff dwellings at Nine-Room Site along Island Trail<br />(NPS photo) Stairs leading to loop of Island Trail<br />(NPS photo) Ponderosa pine forest above the canyon rim<br />(SCPN photo) Standing pools in Cherry Canyon are an important water<br />source for wildlife (NPS photo) Lush riparian vegetation at the bottom of the canyon<br />(SCPN photo) Peaks of San Francisco Mountain and Mount Elden from<br />the rim of Walnut Canyon (SCPN photo)

Inventory Reports

Monitoring Project Summaries

Monitoring Reports

Monitoring Protocol Documents

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Park Flora (SEINet)
NPS Logo Official Walnut Canyon NM Website
SCPN park map
Location of Walnut Canyon NM in the Southern Colorado Plateau Network. Click for larger image.

Walnut Canyon National Monument encompasses 3588 acres (1452 ha) adjacent to the city limits of Flagstaff in north central Arizona. It was established in 1915, to preserve the ruins of Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings. The monument was subsequently enlarged several times to fill its current area.

Within Walnut Canyon, ecological communities overlap to form ecotones, bringing together species usually separated by elevation and creating a rare compression of flora/fauna zones. The biodiversity supported by these habitats includes a high concentration of sensitive species and is thought to have contributed to the decision of prehistoric people to settle here. Walnut Canyon contains a narrow stand of broadleaf deciduous forest along the bottom of the canyon and Douglas fir-Gambel oak forest on moist north-facing slopes in the canyon. Drier south-facing canyon slopes support shrubland vegetation, while pinyon-juniper woodland with scattered ponderosa pines and grasslands occupy the areas above the canyon rim.

Four amphibian, 126 avian, 57 mammalian, and 14 reptile species have been documented within the monument. Water resources in Walnut Canyon NM are confined to the narrow canyon bottom through which a stream flows intermittently, fed by springs, seeps, rain, and snow.

The Southern Colorado Plateau Network conducts long-term monitoring of upland vegetation and soils and integrated riparian communities in Walnut Canyon NM.

Life Zones at Walnut Canyon National Monument

Walnut Canyon NM ranges in elevation from 6,220 to 6,910 feet (1,896–2,106 m) and spans the Semi-Desert Grassland/Shrub Steppe, Pinyon-Juniper Woodland and Ponderosa Pine Forest life zones. Moist north-facing canyon slopes contain microclimates capable of supporting Douglas-fir forest, which is normally associated with the Mixed Conifer Forest life zone. The monument experiences an annual average precipitation of 21.3 inches.

Walnut Canyon Life Zones

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Last Updated: January 23, 2018 Contact Webmaster