Walnut Canyon Nature Trail

A short roadside hike with interpretive signs highlighting native peoples and their uses for desert plants.

Hiking Easy

215 m
1 m
1 m
0-1 hrs
Low Point
1.2 km
High Point
1.2 km
Walnut Canyon Nature Trail Map

Paired with the Walnut Canyon Overlook trail, this is one of two short hikes along the main road to Carlsbad Caverns visitor center. If you are planning a day to explore the caverns, this is a great opportunity to stretch your legs and learn about the region's history and ecology thanks to interpretive trailside signs.


Though the harsh desert may appear inhospitable, the canyons are home to an abundance of wildlife, including rattlesnakes and even bighorn sheep. Trailside signage also highlights "how native peoples, ending with the Mescalero Apache, may have used the various desert plants" as they "lived off the resources of the land." Source. Evidence of human impact is also apparent along the numerous cliffsides and overhanging shelters that can be found throughout the canyon.

A small parking lot is located off the road before the road switchbacks and climbs up to the visitor center. Larger vehicles may find it difficult to find a spot. Water and restrooms are available at the visitor center but not at the trailhead.

Since pets are not allowed on trails in the park, this article highlights a local kennel where you can drop your pup off for the day. There is also a fenced dog park in town, as well as pet-friendly restaurants and overnight accommodations.

Sources: https://astheyare.org/2019/04/02/carlsbad-caverns-national-park-walnut-canyon-desert-drive/ https://wagwalking.com/activity/activities-for-dogs-in-carlsbad-caverns-national-park



Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.


1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December


  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area