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On Walkabout In: Northeastern Arizona

After my family and finished our day long visit to the Grand Canyon National Park we were quite wore out and ready to get to the hotel we had reserved in Tuba City, Arizona for the night:


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Tubu City is located on the border of the Navajo and Hopi Indian Reservations in Northeastern Arizona. It is 82 miles and about 2 hour drive from the Grand Canyon.  During the drive to Tuba City we stopped to check out a small Native-American shopping area that had been setup next to this spectacular view of one of the many side canyons that extends into the Grand Canyon:

Picture from Northeastern Arizona

Even these side canyons are just so impressive to see much less the Grand Canyon.  Something that wasn’t impressive to see was the small Native-American shopping area.  Many of the shop keepers had already left for the day so there wasn’t much to look at:

Picture from Northeastern Arizona

The shops did have some pretty high cliffs behind it though that I figured must have some great views of the Grand Canyon; unfortunately I did not have time to try and scramble up them:

Picture from Northeastern Arizona

There really wasn’t much else to see on the way to Tuba City especially since it was getting dark out.  We pulled into Tuba City at about 6:30 PM and checked into the Moenkopi Legacy Inn and Suites.  This was the most expensive hotel in Tuba City, but it had good reviews online so we decided to check it out.

Picture from Moenkopi Hotel website.

We were not disappointed because the hotel was quite nice especially considering the remote area we were in.  After checking in we found out that the hotel sits on the Hopi side of Tuba City and is thus owned by the Hopi tribe.  It was the first hotel built in Tuba City in 50 years and you can tell that the Hopi tribe is using the hotel as part of a greater effort to attract tourism to their reservation.  The hotel had plenty of information about visiting the Hopi Reservation and I actually wished I had time to do so, but unfortunately I had to keep on schedule to get back to Colorado in time to return to work.  Considering how nice everyone at the hotel was and the effort they are putting into promoting tourism my family and I are definitely interested in touring the reservation some time in the future.

Picture from Northeastern Arizona

The hotel also has a Denny’s built into it which is where we ate dinner the night we checked in.  The next morning there was a free continental breakfast available for hotel guests.  After checking out we had a chance to see Tuba City and the place is pretty run down and I will leave it at that:

Picture from Northeastern Arizona

Our next destination after Tuba City was to stop by and see the Four Corners on our way to Mesa Verde National Park.  Tuba City may not have been much to look at, but the land within the Navajo Indian Reservation was spectacular.  All throughout the drive on Highway 160 to the Four Corners the road was surrounded by beautiful red rock formations:

Picture from Northeastern Arizona

Some of the rocks appeared to be polished very smoothly by the elements:

Picture from Northeastern Arizona

As we continued down the road we could see that the rocks came in various sizes and shapes:

Picture from Northeastern Arizona

A section of these spectacular red rocks is part of the Navajo National Monument.  I did not have time to stop, but according to the National Park website there are three very short hikes that can be done here while all the other hikes require either guides or advanced reservations.  However, this 17 mile Keet Seel hike to an ancestral Puebloan village looks awesome, but only 20 people are allowed on the trail per day.  This is definitely something I want to check out some day.  However, for this trip I had a good time just taking in the views of all the awesome rocks around the highway:

Picture from Northeastern Arizona

Picture from Northeastern Arizona

After Highway 160 exits the Navajo National Monument area it then enters a large desert area with a number of large isolated rocks:

Picture from Northeastern Arizona

There is a turn off of Highway 160 that leads to Monument Valley which is where the most spectacular rocks can be seen, which unfortunately I did not have time to check out:

Picture from Northeastern Arizona

The highway next drove by these really spectacular cliffs:

Picture from Northeastern Arizona

It had started to rain which seemed to bring out the redness of the rock even more:

Picture from Northeastern Arizona

Picture from Northeastern Arizona

I could see that one local had a little ranch at the base of these cliffs:

Picture from Northeastern Arizona

Highway 160 then continued across another large desert plain where some various mesas could be seen in the distance:

Picture from Northeastern Arizona

As I continued up Highway 160 to the Four Corners I was now very close to the New Mexico border and looking on my map this mountain range here actually ran from Arizona into New Mexico:

Picture from Northeastern Arizona

Soon enough Highway 160 crossed into New Mexico and we saw the turnoff immediately after that to drive towards the Four Corners.

Next Posting: The  Four Corners

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