Natural Features & Ecosystems
NPS photo by Dallas Larsen
This is a biological “hot spot” – a place of concentrated biological productivity – because of its varied exposures and elevations, together with seasonal water, all compressed into a narrow band within a surrounding pine forest. The canyon twists and turns, creating a patchwork of sun and shadow. Hot dry desert-like slopes and shaded forests, normally separated by thousands of feet in elevation, are found here almost side by side. With these overlapping habitats come unusual assortments of plants and animals, and a high concentration of sensitive species. At the same time, the canyon serves as an important wildlife migration corridor, linking higher elevation forests with lower pine-juniper woodlands to the east.
Did You Know?
Walnut Canyon has been protected since 1904, first as part of the San Francisco Mountain Reserve (later Coconino National Forest). Early caretakers lived in a log cabin on the canyon rim. Walnut Canyon National Monument was established in 1915, one year before the National Park Service.