The Arizona Section of the Canyonlands & Four Corners Travel Guide includes Monument Valley Tribal Park with its famous vistas and monoliths; Petrified Forest National Park where you will find the finest views of the Painted Desert; Navajo National Monument and Canyon de Chelly National Monument with their outstanding Ancestral Puebloan - Anasazi cliff dwellings; and contemporary Hopi and Navajo cultural sites. Rainbow Bridge hiking information is also available.
This guide offers descriptions of many points of interest, links to many references, travel itineraries, and suggested visit times.
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Guide to Northeast Arizona Points of Interest
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Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, Arizona
The finest views of Arizona's Painted Desert are found in Petrified Forest National Park. The park's
scenic roads, nature trails, and vista points offer outstanding photo opportunities. The park also offers
huge fields of petrified trees, often bejeweled, remnants of a 200 million year old forest. There are also
Indian ruins and rock art. Services are available at nearby Holbrook, where Route-66 runs through
downtown, and the famous Wigwam Motel is still open for business. Visit time: one full day, with
overnight stay in Holbrook.
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah
Monument Valley and the surrounding area offer some of the southwest's most famous and unusual scenery.
The wide-open landscape filled with mesas, buttes, and stone monoliths has been featured in many of America's greatest western movies. The park is operated by the Navajo Tribe. For an admission fee, visitors may stop at the Visitor Center and take a self-guided tour on the 17-mile main park road. To delve deeper into the park and see some of its best attractions, one must purchase a guided tour. Tours are by horseback, jeep, or hiking and showcase exquisite monoliths, windows and arches, Anasazi ruins, and Navajo culture. See links below for tour information. The park has a campground. In season, native vendors sell arts and crafts, and the Visitor Center serves food. The nearby Gouldings Trading Post offers complete tourist services. The new Monument Valley View complex within the Tribal Park offers a hotel, restaurant, trading post, and tours. The park entrance is off of US-163, just north of the Arizona border. Visit time: a few hours to a full day or more if you take a guided tour or go hiking.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyon de Chelly is one of Arizona's most spectacular canyons with some of the finest Ancestral Pueblo cliff
dwellings and rock art. It is one of North America's longest continuously inhabited places, presently occupied by the Navajo people who work the land and also partner with the park service in managing the canyon's cultural resources. Access is by guided tour only, with options including hiking, jeep tours, and horseback riding. The Thunderbird Lodge has long offered tours on open six wheel drive trucks. You can also arrange to hike or horseback with a Navajo guide. There is no charge to stay at the campground. The canyon is off of US-191 near Chinle, Arizona. Visit time: a tour will take most of a day; expect to stay over for one night.
Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site
The Hubbell Trading Post has been serving the Navajo Reservation for over 100 years and is still in operation to this day. The historic site includes the trading post, the historic Hubbell home, and a visitor center. Navajo weavers demonstrate their craft on-site. Tours of the home are available for a small fee. The site is near the town of Ganado on US-191, 35 miles south of Canyon de Chelly. Visit time: an hour.
The Hopi people largely occupy a series of high mesas on their reservation in northern Arizona.
Most notable are the ancient towns of Walpi and Old Oraibi, one of the oldest continously occupied towns
in the country. The Hopi are skilled in various crafts including pottery, weaving, silver jewelry, and
Kachina dolls. The best place to start a visit is the Hopi Cultural Center on Second Mesa at the
intersection of Arizona-264 and Arizona-87. Visit time: Check with the Hopi Cultural Center about attending religious ceremonies that are open to the public.
Navajo National Monument
Navajo National Monument protects three ancient cliff dwellings. Daily tours are offered to Betatakin and Keet Seel
during the summer. The guided hike to photogenic Betatakin is five miles roundtrip. The hike out of the
canyon is strenuous. Keet Seel is considered one of the best preserved of all cliff dwellings. Very
limited guided tours of Keet Seel are available - 20 people per day. You must hike out to the site on
your own, 8.5 miles each way, and you may stay one night at the small campground near the ruin. The trip is recommended only for strong hikers (but is well worth the effort). Limited off-season tours are available. For more information, call (928) 672-2700 or visit the NPS site (below). Shorter scenic trails are also available. Visit time: for Betatakin, a half day; for Keet Seel, a very long, full day or overnight.
Rainbow Bridge National Monument
Rainbow Bridge, the largest known natural bridge in the world, was once one of America's most remote and mysterious wonders. Since the creation of Lake Powell, many thousands of tourists visit Rainbow Bridge every year by tour boats from Wahweap Marina. It is still possible to capture the romanticism and adventure of visiting Rainbow Bridge by hiking overland, following the footsteps of the early adventurers. Two trails circumvent Navajo Mountain on a remote section of the Navajo reservation. The trails are steeply downhill to Rainbow Bridge. The ideal arrangement would be to be dropped off at the trailhead, and picked up by boat at the Rainbow Bridge tourist dock. An excellent adventure, but complicated logistics. Consult with the National Park Service ranger or Navajo Parks when planning this trip. A Navajo hiking/camping permit is required. Visit time: two or three days to hike; half to full day for boat tour.
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