On the Road: Hopi Mesas, Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley — Hopi & Navajo
Gain a deeper understanding of Hopi and Navajo cultures as you visit their reservations to experience the landscapes, artifacts and traditions that have shaped their ancient story.
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Program No. 18591RJ
7 days
Starts at
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7 days
6 nights
18 meals
6 B 6 L 6 D
Getting There
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Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Phoenix & The Valley of the Sun
Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Airport North

Activity note: Hotel check in from 3:00 p.m. Road Scholar “On The Road” programs are journeys that take participants to multiple study sites in a region with a number of overnight stays. Lectures, talks, discussions, field trips, and on-board commentary amplify the program theme. Some drives involve great distances and may take hours, others are much shorter. Long or short, On the Road journeys are learning experiences that make the most of our time together.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 5:00-5:30 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table in the hotel meeting room to register with the Northern Arizona University program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: 5:30 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. . Field trips will be conducted by our Group Leader, a seasoned and experienced naturalist who will also function as our Study Leader, unless noted otherwise. Depending on the size of the group, we will travel via full-sized motorcoach or comfy vans, announced during the Orientation session. . Periods in the schedule labeled “Free Time and “At Leisure” offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable while going out to explore on your own, engaging in available activities independently, making new friends among fellow Road Scholars, or simply relaxing. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. . Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the hotel restaurant, the dinner buffet offers an entrée (including vegetarian and gluten free for those who requested when registering); a non-alcoholic beverage of coffee, tea, water or lemonade, is included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Take the rest of the evening to settle in, relax, and get a good night's sleep for the full day ahead tomorrow. Prepare for check-out and our scenic drive in the morning.

Heard Museum, Travel to Hopi Mesas
Hopi Indian Reservation (Second Mesa)
Hopi Cultural Center

Activity note: The drive to the Hopi reservation is about 250 miles, approximately 4.5 hours, with stops along the way. Walking tour at Heard Museum.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the hearty breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs to order, breakfast meats, cereals, muffins, whole grain breads, fruit, juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll check out, load our luggage, and depart for the Heard Museum in Phoenix where a docent will lead our exploration. Dwight B. Heard (1969-1929) was one of Arizona’s leading ranchers as well as a newspaper publisher. He and his wife Maie Bartlett Heard (1868-1951) were enthusiastic collectors of Native American arts, crafts, and prehistoric Indian artifacts. Their collection grew to such an extent that in 1929 they founded a museum to hold it, though Dwight passed away a few months before it opened. The Heard Museum today is dedicated to the sensitive and accurate portrayal of Native arts and cultures, and is internationally recognized for the quality of its collections, educational programs, festivals, and partnerships with American Indian artists and tribal communities. There are more than 40,000 objects ranging from Hopi Katsina dolls to Zuni jewelry, textiles including Navajo weaving, ancient and modern Southwestern ceramics, beadwork and quillwork, baskets, and works of fine art from the 20th century to the present.

Lunch: At a popular eatery en route, we’ll have a plated lunch with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Depart Phoenix and ascend from the Basin and Range region towards the San Francisco Peaks and the Colorado Plateau. Enter the Navajo Reservation just outside Flagstaff. Enjoy unparalleled views of these sweeping Arizona landscapes before reaching the mesas of the Hopi Reservation.

Dinner: At the Hopi Cultural Center restaurant, we’ll order from the menu featuring regional American favorites and Hopi dishes. A non-alcoholic beverage is included; no alcohol on the Hopi Reservation.

Evening: We’ll enjoy a Hopi culture presentation by a Hopi Native. Possible topics range from the Hopi's creation story to how they came to reside on their present day lands, the Hopi Ceremonial cycle, Hopi land issues, or other Hopi art or culture presentations.

Hopi Mesas, Cultural Talk, Local Artist, Village Field Trip
Hopi Indian Reservation (Second Mesa)
Hopi Cultural Center

Activity note: Walking about ½ mile throughout the day on unpaved, uneven ground with a few steps.

Breakfast: At the Hopi Cultural Center restaurant, we’ll order plated meals from the menu with one non-alcoholic beverage included.

Morning: In the Hopi Cultural Center meeting room, a Hopi artisan will give a demonstration of traditional crafts such as basket weaving, Kachina (Katsina) Doll carving, or silversmithing.

Lunch: Hopi Cultural Center meal.

Afternoon: Depending on circumstances and conditions at the time of the program, we will take a field trip to explore either the Oraibi or Walpi village with a Hopi expert. Each is one of the oldest continuously inhabited villages in the country. Oraibi, also referred to as Old Oraibi, is on Third Mesa on the Hopi Reservation and has been a place of habitation since c. 1100 C.E. The way of life here has changed little over the centuries. Orabi is not typically open to tourists. Walpi dates from c. 900 C.E. It also has changed little since moving to its present location higher up on the mesa in 1680. The community embodies traditional lifestyles and preserves Hopi architecture, history, and rituals. In spite of some structural “improvements” in the 1970s, Walpi offers an excellent sense of what life was like here centuries ago. There is no electricity or running water, and home ownership passes through matrilineal clan lineage. . Visiting Hopi is a privilege. As anywhere else in the world, we will be polite and sensitive to the surroundings, the people, and their beliefs. Photography is not permitted.

Dinner: Dinner at the Hopi Cultural Center restaurant or a traditional Hopi meal.

Evening: We’ll have a Q&A session with a Hopi member and talk over our experiences. Then prepare for check-out and scenic drive in the morning.

Hubbell Trading Post, Canyon de Chelly South Rim
Chinle, AZ
Holiday Inn Canyon De Chelly (Chinle)

Activity note: The drive to Canyon de Chelly is about 110 miles, approximately 2 hours, with stops along the way. At Canyon de Chelly, short walks during rides to rim viewpoints; those who wish can hike White House Ruin Trail, 2.7 miles, approximately 2 hours, about 600 feet up/down.

Breakfast: Hopi Cultural Center meal.

Morning: After checking out and loading our luggage, we’ll depart the Hopi Reservation. Our journey to Canyon de Chelly (pronounced “CAN-yon deh SHAY”) will take us through some of the wildly stark and expansive lands of the Hopi and Navajo Reservations. En route, we’ll visit the Hubble Trading Post National Historic Site in Ganado, Arizona. Until they sold it to the National Park Service in 1967, the trading post had been in the hands of the Hubbell family since 1878, serving the Navajo and others. “Don” Lorenzo Hubbell (1853-1930) promoted the finest quality textiles and helped Navajos become economically self-sufficient through their weaving skills. The museum contains more than 350,000 individual items, many of which are business records, in addition to nearly everything the Hubbell family had on the premises.

Lunch: In the hotel restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal featuring local Native American and regional cuisine, plus one non-alcoholic beverage; no alcohol on the Navajo Reservation.

Afternoon: Arriving at the Canyon de Chelly National Monument Visitor Center, we’ll watch a short orientation video, then take an expert led field trip to the canyon's South Rim via our vehicle. At one of the overlooks, we’ll see Spider Rock, a formation with great symbolism in Navajo cosmology. We’ll also stop at several other overlooks including Tseyi overlook, and White House Ruins overlook. The eager and energetic may chose to hike the White House Ruin Trail. The eager and energetic may choose to hike the self-led White House Ruin Trail on their own. We’ll then check into the hotel in the late afternoon.

Dinner: In the hotel restaurant, we’ll have plated meals featuring local Native American and regional cuisine with nightly selection of entrées, salad, and dessert. A non-alcoholic beverage is included; no alcohol on the Navajo Reservation.

Evening: We’ll have an expert led presentation on one or more fascinating aspects of Diné (Navajo) history and culture, such as the special connection between the people and Canyon de Chelly, or a Native artisan demonstration with a discussion of inspiration and technique.

Canyon de Chelly North Rim & Inner Canyon
Chinle, AZ
Holiday Inn Canyon De Chelly (Chinle)

Activity note: Getting into/out of 4WD vehicle(s). Short walks to rim viewpoints. The National Park Service may limit access into the canyon in case of hazardous conditions or for resource protection.

Breakfast: In the hotel restaurant, the breakfast buffet offers an alternating variety of choices such as eggs, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, corned beef hash, bacon/sausage; cream of wheat, cereal, fruit, beverages.

Morning: We’ll drive to the starkly beautiful North Rim of Canyon de Chelly and viewpoints with many views into Canyon del Muerto.

Lunch: Hotel restaurant meal.

Afternoon: We’ll board 4-wheel drive trucks for a field trip into Canyon de Chelly with certified Navajo experts. We’ll see stunning scenery with sandstone cliffs, canyons, petroglyphs, and ruins. Compared to the millions of years it took for natural forces to create the landscapes we see today, humans have lived here only a relatively short 4,000 years. There are people today who continue to make a living as the “Ancient Ones” did planting crops within the national monument’s 84,000 acres. The National Park Service works in conjunction with the Navajo Nation to manage Canyon de Chelly. Of the more than 2,700 archaeological sites, some 700 are standing ruins and only about a dozen of these have been protected.

Dinner: Hotel restaurant meal.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and scenic drive in the morning.

Monument Valley, Goulding's, Cameron Trading Post
Cameron, AZ
Cameron Trading Post Motel

Activity note: The drive to Cameron, Arizona, is about 22 miles, approximately 3.5 hours, with a stop in Monument Valley. Getting into/out of 4WD vehicle(s). Short walks to viewpoints in Monument Valley.

Breakfast: Hotel restaurant buffet.

Morning: We’ll check out, load our luggage, and set out for Cameron via Monument Valley, where we’ll have a field trip aboard 4-wheel drive vehicles with a Navajo expert. We’ll see famous monuments including The Mittens — red sandstone buttes seen in countless movies and TV shows. We’ll also have a privileged visit to the Monument’s restricted area. This area contains many rock windows and arches of unique shapes and sizes. Unparalleled photo opportunities in one of the West’s most photographed destinations.

Lunch: At historic Goulding's Lodge and Trading Post, we’ll order from a select menu plus soft drinks, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Large picture windows offer magnificent views of Monument Valley's red rock splendor. In 1938, Harry Goulding got movie director John Ford to visit here by showing him evocative photographs of Monument Valley. It started a lifelong friendship and Monument Valley served as the iconic backdrop for Ford's western movies.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our journey through a scenic section of the Navajo Reservation past Comb Ridge, Tsegi Canyon, Black Mesa, the Elephant Feet, Tuba City, The Little Colorado River Canyon, the northern end of the Painted Desert, and wide open sweeping vistas. Upon arrival at historic Cameron Trading Post, we’ll check in to our hotel with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: In the Cameron Trading Post restaurant, we’ll enjoy our farewell dinner with our meals ordered from a select menu, plus salad, dessert and one non-alcoholic beverages. The restaurant is decorated with beautiful Navajo rugs, baskets, pottery, antique cabinets, and stained glass — all topped with a pressed tin ceiling.

Evening: We’ll have a final wrap up session for reflections on the program and farewells. Then prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

Program Concludes

Activity note: The drive to Phoenix is about 200 miles, approximately 3.5 hours with a stop or two along the way.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll order our meals from a select menu with choices such as eggs, bacon, pancakes, oatmeal, toast, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll load our luggage (in reverse order of drop offs), depart, and ride to the Phoenix Airport with arrival expected by 1:00 p.m., followed by a stop at our original hotel. This concludes our program.

Lunch: A sack lunch is provided during the return to Phoenix for those who would like it. We hope you enjoyed this Road Scholar program sponsored by Northern Arizona University and we look forward to hosting you in the future. Keep in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network and our NAU Road Scholar Facebook page www.facebook.com/nauroadscholar, and www.facebook.com/rsadventures where you can share memories, picture and comments. Best wishes for all of your journeys.

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