Walnut Canyon National Monument preserves the cliff dwellings and mesa top pueblos of the Sinagua people who lived here between 1125 and 1250 AD. The Island Trail is a 1.0 mile loop that descends 185 feet into Walnut Canyon and passes through several biological communities.
My hike took about 1:00 hour for the 1 mile. There is also the 0.7 mile Rim Trail at Walnut Canyon that provides views of the Island area and has a mesa top pueblo site.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Saturday, September 17, 2011
The Rim Trail at Walnut Canyon National Monument is a 0.75 mile loop that overlooks the area of the Island Trail and has an excavated mesa top pueblo ruins site of the Sinagua people. Walnut Canyon is 10 miles east of Flagstaff on Interstate 40 in northern Arizona. Besides the Rim Trail, Walnut Canyon also has the 1 mile Island Trail that descends into the canyon and passes many small alcove ruins sites.
Friday, September 16, 2011
I started hiking at the pit toilet but the actual trailhead is a few hundred yards further. The hike is about 1.5 miles round trip down Badger Springs Wash to the junction with the Agua Fria River.
My total hike took about 1:00 hour for about 1.5 miles. I saw 3 other hikers on the trail during my hike. The other trail that is publicized for Agua Fria National Monument is the Pueblo la Plata ruins site accessed from the Bloody Basin Road at Exit 259.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
The Deer Valley Rock Art Center preserves the 1571 rock art images of the Hedgpeth Hill Petroglyph site. The 0.25 mile trail and museum are 2 miles west of Interstate 17 on Deer Valley Road on the northwest side of the Phoenix, AZ area. There is a $7 admission charge.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Pueblo Grande is a large Hohokam ruins site located in the central area of Phoenix, Arizona. There is a one third mile trail that tours a platform mound, the most significant structure. The address for this urban site is 4619 East Washington Street. It is near the northeast side of the Sky Harbor Airport. In 2011 there is a $6 admission charge.
An Adobe mud plaster covered the wooden frame. One of these replicates can be entered and there are replicate artifacts arranged for easy viewing. These replicate structures are taller than the originals with large doors for our convenience.
This court is thought to have been used between 750 and 1200 AD. It seems odd that the ball court use ended in 1200 while the overall site continued to be used until 1450. In the vicinity of the ball court, there are some example Hohokam gardens and some of the desert plants like Ocotillo, Screwbean Mesquite, and Chainfruit Cholla are identified.
I visited on a 95 F early September afternoon. My tour took about 1.5 hours and there were only a few others here during my visit. The ruins viewing was very calm in the midst of busy nearby freeways and airport.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Tuzigoot National Monument preserves a large Southern Sinagua Pueblo ruins site in the Verde Valley area of central Arizona. Tuzigoot is related to the nearby Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well and these sites can be accessed from Interstate 17 in the area around Camp Verde between Flagstaff and Phoenix.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Meteor Crater is the site of a 50,000 year old well preserved meteor strike in northern Arizona. The location is 6 miles south of Interstate 40 about 35 miles east of Flagstaff. The Meteor Crater is a privately owned site and in 2011 charges a $15 entry fee.
Over 175 million tons of limestone and sandstone were ejected and now form a blanket around the impact site for over a mile. Some geological material that should be at the bottom of the crater was lifted and deposited at the rim, providing important evidence that this was an impact site and not an extinct volcano, as was originally thought.
The dry climate here is mainly responsible for the excellent preservation of the crater and how easy this site is to view. The geology layers here are familiar to hikers who have visited the Grand Canyon. The formations that were impacted here include the Coconino, Toroweap, Kaibab, and Moenkoepi.
Mining Engineer Daniel Barringer was one of the early believers that this was an impact site and was eventually proved correct. Though an iron mine here was not feasible, the Barringer Family has maintained the site as a public trust.
Part of the museum includes a small comfortable theater where a 10 minute video is shown. After the video, an interpretive guide conducted a 20 minute presentation at the lowest level outdoor view point where there is some shade and some benches.
I visited on a sunny early September afternoon for about 1.5 hours. The parking area was about 30% full. The viewing was uncrowded and comfortable.