Walking in Beauty: Explore Naa'tsis'aan with Indigenous Guides
Registration is open for CFI Members only until Sept 25
Explore and learn about natural and cultural history around Navajo Mountain
Join Canyonlands Field Institute, the Atene family, and Indigenous guides to explore a beautiful and remote region of the desert southwest. This trip combines a lodge stay with three nights truck supported tent camping to give us access to rugged desert terrain that few people get to see. The day hiking is moderately challenging cross country, up to mesa tops or on sandy tracks.
The trip is led by CFI program manager Brandi Atene. Brandi grew up at Navajo Mountain, and combines her backcountry skills with her cultural connection to the landscape to provide a unique educational experience. She will be joined by Hopi archaeologist Lyle Balenquah who provides expertise on early peoples and migrations in the region.
Additional guide services and expertise will be by CFI; the trip is fully outfitted using primitive camp locations; meals, kitchen, camp chairs and porta potty are provided. Bring your own sleeping gear or rent quality tents, sleeping bags, pads or cots from CFI. Please contact us to ask us more about trip conditions.
Explore, Learn, Connect
The Navajo call this place Naa’tsis’aan, which means “Head of the Earth Woman.” Paiutes that live here call this Paiute Mountain. Rugged canyon country has long sheltered the area’s occupants due to challenging access. Recently, a paved road provided access to the town of Rainbow City.
This trip is a unique opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of the Atene family. The matriarch, Rose Atene is a well-known weaver, gracious grandmother and has hosted CFI groups since the late 1980’s. We will set up a comfortable base camp on the north side of the mountain, in their spectacular backyard.
Your guides will navigate the group through the sandstone domes and canyons that make this area so unique. We will hike to historic sites, picturesque abandoned hogans, and caves used by Archaic Desert Culture up to the present. Spring wildlflower blooms will just be getting started. Day hikes will be 2-5 miles round trip each, with some routes in dry washes, on sandy jeep tracks, or up talus slopes to mesa tops. There are few formal established trails. There will be some elevation gain and loss on the hikes. Hiking is moderate to strenuous, and you might opt out of a hike and spend time at basecamp with our trip library.
Is this trip right for you? Learn more about the trip narrative, guide staff, and frequently asked questions below.
Bluff, Utah and Navajo Mountain
April 23, 2023 through April 27, 2023
Minimum: 5, Maximum: 8
$1770; or CFI Members $1682 Plus $60 Navajo Nation Fee
First night in Lodge, then 3 nights camping
- Fee includes $100 donation to youth programs
- Fee includes lodging at Recapture Lodge on April 23
- Due to Navajo Nation regulations, this is an alcohol free trip
- Participants provide their own sleeping gear or may rent tents, sleeping bags, and ground pads from CFI.
All participants on our adult seminars and on our private trips are required to be fully vaccinated.
"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