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Betatakin Ruins - Navajo National Monument, AZ

Summary: A short hike to a large set of well preserved Anasazi ruins in a deep alcove. The buildings were constructed and occupied between A.D. 1250 and 1300 by people who farmed the plateaus and bottom lands of the canyons in the area. You must be accompanied by a Park Ranger to perform this hike, reservations can be made at the Visitors Center on a first come, first served basis (max 25) between May-September. Trips depart at 8am (mountain time). Surprisingly enough, there is no fee to enter, camp or hike in the Monument.
Directions: Navajo National Monument is located east of Page or west of Kayenta on Highway 160. Between mile post 374 & 375 on Highway 160, turn north at the sign for the Monument on Route 564 and drive 9 miles to the Visitors Center.
Road Conditions: Passenger Car - paved all the way
Navigation: Easy - just follow the Ranger
Length: ~4 miles
Date Hiked: July, 2002
Weather Conditions: Warm
Required Skills: None
Hike Description: From the Visitors Center you will drive about a mile to a parking lot for the Betatakin and Keet Seel hikes. The trail follows an old road for the first part of the trip until you arrive at a sign which warns you as to the strenuous nature of the Keet Seel trip. The path becomes more of a trail at this point as it drops ~700 feet along a series of switchbacks. At the bottom of the descent you'll reach a trail junction - left for Keet Seel, right for Betatakin. Head right along a level path that travels up a canyon directly below the road you had walked earlier. Eventually you will pass through a gate (notice the vegetation difference between the grazed and ungrazed sides of the canyon) and a short walk will bring you to a view of the ruins (a spur trail just before the alcove in which the ruins reside leads to a toilet). Rangers used to lead tours right up through the ruins; however the trail was closed in 2000 and now you may only view them from a distance. When ready, you may return the way you came without the escort of a Ranger.
Rating (1-5 stars):
Nice enough ruins, but it's a touristy hike and you are not allowed to approach very close to the buildings. The author and his wife completed this hike in 3 hours.
Maps: None
Books: Canyon Hiking Guide to the Colorado Plateau - Michael Kelsey
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
View on the way to the ruins. Betatakin Ruins.