Guided hiking trip into the natural and cultural history of Navajo Mountain
The Navajo call this place Naa’tsis’aan, which means “Head of the Earth Woman”, while Paiutes that live here call the region Paiute Mountain. This rugged, hard-to-access corner of canyon country has long provided sanctuary to its occupants. In part due to the remote nature of this region, the cultural and archeological sites found here are unique and well-preserved. On this trip, you’ll explore this corner of the desert southwest with the Canyonlands Field Institute, the Atene family, and a guest anthropologist.
The first night of the trip will be spent at a lodge, while the rest of the time will be spent tent camping with truck support near the Atene family homestead and in the rugged terrain between the mountain and San Juan Arm of Lake Powell. As an attendee on this trip, you’ll experience hearty meals and a comfortable base camp prepared by CFI guides. This one-of-a-kind experience will provide a unique and insightful view into the deep human history and the stunning landscapes surrounding Navajo Mountain.
The Atene family has been hosting CFI expeditions on Navajo Mountain Since the 1980s. In 2024, our trip will be led by Brandi Atene a longtime CFI guide who grew up at Navajo Mountain. We will also be joined by BLM Archaeologist Jojo Matson, as well as expert naturalist Nicky Haroldson. Read more about the trip’s faculty below!
During the day, you will explore the sandstone domes and canyons that define this area. Your guides will take you to historic sites, hogans, and caves used by the region’s inhabitants, from Archaic Desert Culture up to the present day. Each day’s curriculum will feature a blend of ecological beauty, unique geology, and cultural sites. Hikes each will be one to five miles round trip, either on trails, on sandy roads, up rocky talus slopes or along dry washes. This trip is considered moderately challenging due to elevation and rocky, uneven ground, walking pace will average one mile per half an hour. Please contact us if you have questions about hiking or camping conditions.
"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? Being with members of a local Navajo family made the land come alive in a way that would be impossible without their personal knowledge and perspective. The place and the people are woven together."
- Tom W. Denver, CO
Bluff, Utah and Navajo Mountain
April 23, 2024 through April 27, 2024
4 nights, 4 days
Minimum: 6, Maximum: 9
$1950 plus $60 Navajo Nation fee
First night motel, then 3 nights camping
- Fee includes first night lodging and orientation. Lodging is double occupancy; you may request a single room for an additional fee.
- $300 nonrefundable deposit is required to make a reservation and applies to the total final fee.
- Due to Navajo Nation regulations, this is an alcohol free trip.
- Participants provide their own sleeping gear or may rent tents, sleeping bags, ground pads or cots from CFI.
All participants on our adult seminars and on our private trips are required to be fully vaccinated.