Arizona has a slew of national monuments. Each one is interesting, but not all of them are particularly good as hiking spots. This post will outline Arizona’s historical hikes: 5 national monuments. I’ll give you the rundown on these destinations and my opinion about the hiking available there.
Wupatki National Monument has archeological pueblo and pit house sites. Drive around to the different parking areas where you can get out of your car and walk a short distance to view the ruins. The desert views can be nice especially if there is a storm in the distance. This is not a hiking destination but more of a pleasant afternoon among the remnants of the past.
#2 Sunset Crater Volcano
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is a neighbor of Wupatki. It does have a few hikes that allow you a glimpse at some unique lava formations. Try out the Lava Flow Trail as an introduction. This is an easy 1-mile loop with interpretive signs and a great up-close view of the volcano. Unfortunately, there are no trails to the top of the crater.
If you’d like to see some more dramatic lava beds, hike the 2-mile Lava’s Edge Trail. This allows you a close look at the A’a basaltic lava.
My favorite hike was the Lenox Crater Trail a 1.6-mile hike with a little elevation. It passes up and around an adjacent crater with a great view of the San Francisco peaks, the Sunset volcano, and the lava beds.
For a map of Sunset Crater hiking trails, click here.
#3 Walnut Canyon
Walnut Canyon National Monument is my favorite out of the five because it is beautiful hiking along with a historic site. The Sinagua people left behind 25 cliff dwelling rooms. These are visible on the Island Trail. This 1-mile moderate loop gives hikers a great view down into the canyon as you walk on a bluff littered with dwellings.
For a map of Walnut Canyon hiking trails, click here.
#4 Montezuma Castle
Montezuma Castle National Monument is most definitely not a hiking destination. It’s a neat monument though, showcasing some stunning pueblo cliff dwellings left behind by the Sinagua culture. Don’t expect to get close though. These are to be enjoyed from a distance. As a side note, there are some really lovely sycamore trees along the park trail. This is not a hiking destination but more of a pleasant afternoon among the remnants of the past.
For a map, click here.
Tuzigoot National Monument has archeological value but it’s not a place for hiking. Take the hilltop park trail loop around the Sinagua pueblo ruins to appreciate them. This is not a hiking destination but more of a pleasant afternoon among the remnants of the past.
For a map, click here.
All these monuments are worth a visit. The best for the hiking-minded are Walnut Canyon and Sunset Crater.
To read about other hiking destinations, click here.
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We’re Melony and Travis LaCoss. Better known on the trail as Stretch and RamboJuice, hikertrash bloggers, photographers, and all-around dirtbags.
A few years ago, we took a giant leap away from our conventional lifestyle to backpack in the United States. After spending 5 months on the Pacific Crest Trail, we started our blog Hikerlore to share stories and provide useful information to backpackers, hikers, and outdoor travelers.
We plan to hike as much as we possibly can. During that time, we’ll write articles about our experiences and share photographs. Some of our posts will be narrative in nature, others will review backpacking gear and offer advice to hikers. Recently, we bought an old service van and converted it into a sweet travel van.
We are adventure seekers who hike national scenic trails, visit national parks, and travel around in a van blogging about outdoor travel. We have thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail (2,200 miles), Florida Trail (1,100 miles), and half the Pacific Crest Trail (1,400 miles). Our adventures have led us to over 50 national parks and monuments.
In 2019, we put over 20,000 miles on VANilla (our sweet travel van that we built ourselves). Above all, Hikerlore’s articles are a service intended to provide good information and inspire our readers to get outside and have fun!
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