A group of reconstructed dwellings under an overhang in the cliff wall in Walnut Canyon
A group of reconstructed dwellings under the overhang
Looking down into the deep and steep Walnut Canyon
Walnut Canyon

Wupatupqa is the Hopi name for the village built in Walnut Canyon and occupied between about 1100 and 1250 CE.

After the volcanic eruptions at Sunset Crater stopped (around 1100 CE), some of the Sinagua people who'd fled from further north came back into this area of northern Arizona.

Walnut Canyon, with its regular stream flow, abundant wildlife, easily defended living situation and easily farmed canyon floor beckoned to them as a good place to set up and rebuild.

They did well here for maybe 150 years, then the general climate change that dried up streams all across the Colorado Plateau set in and they had to move on. But they left behind many masonry constructions in the walls and under the overhangs of Walnut Canyon.

The access trail from the visitor center passes about 25 of the old dwellings as it drops 185 feet down into the canyon during its 0.9-mile loop. The trail is built to pass very close to many of them but not close enough to legally get off the trail and explore...

There are many more dwellings in the canyon east of the visitor center but it's illegal to go there, too. At one time, though, several hundred people lived in the cliff dwellings of Walnut Canyon.

A reconstructed dwelling under an overhang in the canyon wall
A reconstructed dwelling under an overhang in the vertical canyon wall
The trail passes by a reconstrucxted stone wall
Another reconstructed stone wall
Photos courtesy of Eyes of the Pot, CCA-by-SA 4.0 License

Sites of the Ancients and approximate dates of occupation: