OverviewA hike to the Navajo County highpoint covers about 13-14 miles round trip, roughly half through forest with no trail, four separate canyon crossings and lots of navigation skill. While the net gain is about 200 feet, the gross gain (all the downs and ups) will probably be closer to 1,000 feet. Come prepared with the Kayenta West USGS map, a good compass and GPS, and be prepared for a long day! Summers are best up here but it does get warm. Pack in all your water.
Getting ThereSee the main text for getting to the 'trailhead'.
Route DescriptionNote: The original links to the salient points on the topozone maps have been replaced by GPS coordinates since topozone has gone off-line. The coordinates are in UTM format, NAD27 CONUS, Zone 12, Northing followed by Easting)
Your car will will probably get you to about N 40-56-509, E 05-58-681.
You can turn north (left) here toward Lolamai Point and start from anywhere up there. A fence runs N-S (not shown on the map).
Walk easterly (northeasterly perhaps) generally through open scrub and following some ranch roads which should get you to some rocky bald areas where you'll need to be careful and pay attention to your path. Generally stay as close to the rim as possible. The old roads eventually lead to another fence very near the headwall of Yellow Water Canyon, approximately N 40-56-672, E 05-60-723.
You will need to descend into the canyon and ascend the other side. Stay close to the headwall and scout some routes. A break in the rocks allows for a brushy class 2 descent, but some parts might need hands and could easily be class 3. The rock is loose and you should be sure your handhold (or foothold) is solid. The ascent on the other side is not as steep but is very brushy.
Continue southeasterly through moderate to thick forest cover. Stay close to the rim for guidance. You'll come to another canyon headwall that needs to be crossed, but this one is very easy to manage. You'll be about N 40-56-200, E 05-61-373.
Stay on your bearing and come to two more quicky crossings, each easier than the last. You'll be about N 40-55-590, E 05-61-876. After the second of these two quickies, you should come to a very beat-up old road. Walk it for about 0.3 mile where it comes onto a very substantial dirt road coming up from the south; the intersection is roughly N 40-55-422, E 05-62-171.
Walk north then east along this fine road as it goes up and down a number of rises (passing a gate along the way). About 1.5 miles later, the road will descend into a large open meadow and intersect another road, putting you roughly N 40-55-657, E 05-64-301.
Walk north a bit less than a mile to very near the mesa rim. A small hill to your west holds Benchmark 'Kayenta'. For the highpoint, continue east along some old paths (ATV?) for about 1.5 more miles. You cross another smaller canyon along the way about N 40-56-338, E 05-65-099. It's a fairly easy walk from here to the highpoint area. The forest is not as thick here and line-of-sight navigation is simpler (but pay attention!).
The highpoint of the county is in the forest a bit. Walk into it and sense the rise of the land. A waist-high cairn is built on the east side of a juniper, which may take some searching to locate.
The best views are on the rim, where Kayenta is visible below and Monument Valley off in the distance.
Return the same way. Return navigation can be tricky, especially once leaving the fine road back into the forests. Stay close to the rim whenever you are uncertain. If you cairn or flag your route, remove them on your way out.
Allow a good 8 hours and extra time to read the maps. Pack in all water.
Essential GearMaps, compass and GPS and all standard hiking gear are essential. Wear long pants and bring gloves. Expect some scrambling and bushwhacking.
Attention to detail is a must! Use my Topozone links as guidance only, not as exact waypoints.