Lomaki and Box Canyon Pueblos

Wupatki National Monument, Arizona

Trip Date: Thursday, July 25th, 2019
Last Updated: Wednesday, March 11th, 2020
By Ricky Holzer

Hike Information

Rating ★★★★☆(4/5)
Overall Difficulty Easy
Navigation Difficulty     Easy
Distance 0.5 miles roundtrip
Time 30 minutes
Terrain Mostly flat
Best Seasons All
Family Friendly Yes
Dog Friendly No
Accessible No

Highlights

Hike Walkthrough

Lomaki and Box Canyon Pueblos are the closest ruins to U.S. Highway 89 and will either be your first or last stop in Wupatki National Monument depending on which way you came. This short trail is lined with interpretive signs, sort of like an outdoor museum, to teach you more about the people who survived here in the desolate Colorado Plateau of Northern Arizona. On a clear day, you can see some of the neighboring ruins in addition to the San Francisco Peaks in the distance.

There's only one trail here, so begin following the wide gravel path north. Shortly after starting, you'll see the two Box Canyon Pueblos built right against the steep walls, as pictured below. During summer monsoons, the Sinagua who lived in these pueblos would build small dams to collect rainwater when flash floods created a river in the canyon. They also used this narrow area for agriculture, which was easy to protect from invading people and wildlife.

The Box Canyon Pueblos were built right against the walls of the canyon

The Box Canyon Pueblos were built right against the walls of the canyon

On the left, you can take short spur trails for a closer view of the pueblo ruins on each side of the canyon. The view of both pueblos from the first spur trail is pictured below. These walls constructed of sandstone blocks are completely original -- the National Park Service has only stabilized the bases and has not reconstructed any part of these ruins.
Both of the Box Canyon Pueblo ruins, one on each side of the canyon

Both of the Box Canyon Pueblo ruins, one on each side of the canyon

From the second of the two spur trails, you can see the San Francisco Peaks in the distance rising over 6,000 feet above the desert. Thirteen local tribes consider those mountains religiously significant, and it is likely that the Sinagua who lived here had similar beliefs.
The upper Box Canyon Pueblo ruin with the San Francisco Peaks in the distance

The upper Box Canyon Pueblo ruin with the San Francisco Peaks in the distance

At the end of the trail, you'll reach the larger Lomaki Pueblo, which translates to "beautiful house" in Hopi. The walls rise above your head, and you can explore the inside of a couple rooms by crouching through the narrow doors pictured below. Once inside, notice how small the rooms are, especially considering that multiple people lived in this pueblo.
You can enter Lomaki Pueblo through these narrow stone doors

You can enter Lomaki Pueblo through these narrow stone doors

Around the back of of the pueblo, you can enjoy another beautiful view of the canyon with the San Francisco peaks in the background, as pictured below. Turn around the way you came when you're done learning about Lomaki Pueblo.
Box Canyon as seen from Lomaki Pueblo

Box Canyon as seen from Lomaki Pueblo

Whether it's your first or last stop in Wupatki National Monument, enjoy your visit to the park and I hope you learned something about the ancient inhabitants of this land. Let me know what you think in the comments section below and be sure to use #nocoastbestcoast on Twitter and Instagram!



Important Information

Dogs are not allowed on any trails in the park; it's best to leave your dog at home since desert temperatures can kill dogs waiting in cars. This is an excellent hike for the whole family since it is short and educational, just make sure to keep kids away from the fragile ruins and the edges of Box Canyon. You can visit during any season, but be prepared for wind. In the summer, temperatures can exceed 100 degrees and afternoon thunderstorms are common. Winter and early spring may bring snow, but not nearly as much as in nearby Flagstaff. You will likely see other people here.

Directions

From Flagstaff, take Interstate 40 east. Take the exit for U.S. Highway 89, then turn left. Turn right onto U.S. Highway 89. Continue straight on U.S. Highway 89 for about 26 miles, turning right near mile marker 444, as indicated by a brown sign for Wupatki National Monument. Watch for a sign for Box Canyon Pueblo and turn left. Park in the lot at the end of the road.

Google Maps Directions

Parking, Fees, and Facilities

Entrance fees cost $25 per vehicle, which permits access for 7 days to both Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. Interagency passes are also honored here. Visit the park's fees page for more information.

There are pit toilets and picnic tables here. Continue to Wupatki National Monument's staffed visitor center for flush toilets and water in addition to educational exhibits and a gift shop.

External Links

Nearby Hikes

Nalakihu and Citadel Pueblos

Wupatki National Monument, Arizona
★★★★☆(4/5)

Doney Mountain

Coconino National Forest, Arizona
★★★★☆(4/5)

Wupatki Pueblo

Wupatki National Monument, Arizona
★★★★☆(4/5)

Wukoki Pueblo

Wupatki National Monument, Arizona
★★★★☆(4/5)

Comments