Navajo Mountain Culture and Archaeology

Camping with truck support, vehicle tours and short hikes with Navajo culture and archaeology guides Eric and Charlene Atene

  • Where: Navajo Mountain, Arizona/Utah Border
  • When: September 03, 2015 through September 07, 2015
  • Number of Days/Nights: 5 days, 4 nights with 1st night lodge stay and orientation
  • Time: Evening day 1 through afternoon last day
  • Group Size: Minimum 4, maximum 9
  • Age Group: Adults and youth 16+
  • Deadline for Signup: 1 week prior
  • Cost per Person: 2015 Fee TBA + $36 Navajo Nation Special Use Fee
  • Deposit: $300 nonrefundable, applies to total fee; full balance due 30 days prior
  • Notes:
    • Trip meets and ends in Bluff, UT
    • Call to arrange a custom private trip for different dates for 2015.
    • Click here to read our cancellation policy.
    • To register at or call 800.860.5262 or 435.259.7750.

Navajo Mountain culture and archaeology: Rare Opportunity to Explore and learn about Dinė Culture

navmtnhoganJoin Navajo guides Eric and Charlene Atene and CFI Naturalist Guides on this hiking trip at Navajo Mountain with a focus on the traditional Dinė way of life. Navajo Mountain lies near the Arizona and Utah border and rises to a height over 10,000 feet. Navajo Mountain is considered sacred to the Dinė or Navajo people and they call this place Naatsis’aan, which means “Head of the Earth Woman.”

Our trip meets the first evening at Recapture Lodge in Bluff, Utah for orientation. We travel the next day to Navajo Mountain, highlighting geography, geology, and historical features along the way, including a short hike late afternoon to a major ruin site. We will spend the first night at the guest hogan of Rose Atene, traditional Navajo basket maker and Eric’s mom. The next few days we hike in the area south of Navajo Mountain with day packs only. We will see prehistoric sites dating from Archaic to Pueblo III Ancestral Puebloan in age as well as old picturesque hogans, springs, plants, and grazing areas still used by the Dine today. We will get up on the mountain for one of the most fantastic views on the Colorado Plateau and explore the maze-like wonderland that lies between the Mountain and the San Juan River.  This is a rare opportunity to hike where few “Anglos” do.

This trip’s itinerary remains somewhat exploratory in nature, varying with time of year and interests. From Rose’s hogan, a truck takes our personal duffel and all we need for a comfortable two night’s base camp in the canyons. We spend two nights in this spectacular location and have options for half day hikes to cultural sites the next day. The first day’s hike is about six miles steadily downhill with shorter optional hikes out from base camp. The hiking difficulty level is “moderate” both on sandy trails, old roads and cross country. The last morning we hike about two miles out and visit another archaeological site then meet the CFI van after lunch. We return to Bluff by 5 p.m. the last day.

“I had long wanted to explore the Navajo Mountain area. This trip turned out to be the perfect way to do it I was again in touch with the Colorado Plateau but experienced a new part of it…Highlights of the program? Eric Atene and Charlene Valentine Atene! They and the family members we met made the land come alive in a way that would be impossible without Navajo knowledge and perspective. The place and the people are woven together… And the congeniality of the group. I enjoyed this group, both guests and staff. “ – Tom Wylie, 2011 participant and National Park Service retiree, Denver, Colorado.