The Walhalla Glades is unique in that it is a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the Grand Canyon. It is also located at one of the lower elevation points on the North Rim, allowing warm updrafts of air to melt away snow that in other areas, would impede access. In terms of a hiking trail, these conditions couldn’t be more perfect as hikers can enjoy a wide expanse of views along the way and reach the trail year-round.
Considered a sacred area by the Native American community, the Walhalla Glades Trail has within it the Ancestral Puebloan sites that date back to 1050 AD. The small village community that lived in the area benefitted from the earth’s fertility, growing an assortment of fresh produce, including corn, beans, and squash. The lower elevation that now prevents the accumulation of snow once encouraged a rich agricultural livelihood and year-round farming activity. Since the park’s opening, over a hundred farms have been discovered along the glades, along with terraces, gardens, field houses and storage rooms.
Everything about the site speaks to an agricultural past. Archeologists can understand a lot about native living habits by studying the size of the dwellings, the materials used to make tools, the geology of the area, and the types of artifacts found.
The Ancestral Puebloan site is divided into different “stops”, ranging from rooms A to I. Each of these rooms has been separated based on evidence suggesting its use as an individual area. The entire complex looks like a huge hopscotch outlined with great slabs of rock.
The Walhalla Plateau, where you’ll find the trailhead, is located along the Cape Royal Road. A moderately challenging hike, the Walhalla Glades trail mainly attracts curious hikers interested in the Ancient Puebloan ruins.