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Horse Trail Route - Little Colorado River, Navajo Nation

Summary: A fairly well-cairned route which follows an old horse trail down an unnamed drainage into the Little Colorado River Gorge.
Directions: From Flagstaff, drive north on Highway 89 to Cameron. Stop in at the Navajo Parks and Recreation Office located on the left just before the junction with Highway 64 and pick up a Navajo hiking permit ($5 per person per day). Continue north on Highway 89 about 1 mile past the junction with Highway 160 to between mile markers 482-483 and turn left (west) on Navajo Road 6134 just before reaching a large butte. Follow #6134 for 14.2 miles ignoring any minor roads which branch to one side or the other. Turn left onto Navajo Road 6133, then immediately turn right onto an unnamed dirt track. Continue for 0.8 miles to a fork in the road. Stay to the right and follow the road a short distance to the end at the rim of the canyon at GPS Point UTM: 12S 441886 mE, 3995030 mN, WGS84 Datum.
Road Conditions: High Clearance Vehicle
Navigation: Moderate
Length: ~4 miles
Date Hiked: June 2009
Weather Conditions: Hot and Sunny
Required Skills:
Hike Description: From the car park, walk off the plateau to the left (south) to enter a minor drainage. As you descend you'll be able to pick up the remnants of a horse trail. The path descends to a drop-off which it bypasses via a cairned route on the left. Once this cliff band is passed, the route switches over to the right side of the drainage and continues down to the canyon bottom. Simply follow the cairns down canyon. As you approach the river, the path bypasses a cliffband in the Supai Sandstone on the left, then cuts sharply back to the right (west) to travel along a distinct section of trail along a series of ledges to a point overlooking the Little Colorado River. The path then descents more steeply down a rocky slope to the mouth of the drainage and the river. From this point it's possible to explore either up or down canyon.
Rating (1-5 stars):
The author and a friend completed the hike, exploring a few miles of the Little Colorado Gorge in 2.5 hours.
Maps: Click here for a map of the hike.
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.

Views along the approach.

Looking down into the LCR. The Little Colorado River Gorge.