On October 1, 2011, we left our campsite in the “overflow” camping area near Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah. We had camping reservations at the Grand Canyon’s north rim, but, on the way, had two nights reserved at the Wahweap campground near Page, Arizona.
Around lunch time, we took a side trip to Navajo National Monument and, after eating, took a hike to a viewpoint overlooking Betatakin cliff dwellings.
Navajo National Monument is located within the northwest portion of the Navajo Reservation in northern Arizona.
Navajo National Monument preserves three of the most intact cliff dwellings of the ancestral puebloan people (Hisatsinom). The Navajo people who live here today call these ancient ones Anasazi. The monument is high on the Shonto plateau, overlooking the Tsegi Canyon system in the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona. The monument, located west of Kayenta, Arizona, features a visitor center with a museum, two short self-guided mesa top trails, two small campgrounds, and a picnic area. Rangers guide visitors on free tours of the Keet Seel (Kitsʼiil) and Betatakin (Bitátʼahkin) cliff dwellings. The Inscription House site (Tsʼah Biiʼ Kin), further west, is currently closed to public access.
The Sandal Trail is an accessible self-guided walk that provides views of the spectacular canyonlands and rugged topography near the visitor center. Interpretive signs provide information on local flora and other topics. The 1.6 km round-trip trail ends at an overlook of the Betatakin ruins across the 560 feet (170 m) deep Betatakin Canyon.
Selected Information Resources: Navajo National Monument