Navajo Mountain is one of the most dominant features seen in this part of Utah and Arizona. A very visible mountain, it stands alone with nothing even near it. It has the shape of a beached whale (to me anyway). Located just across the Arizona-Utah border, it is totally on the Navajo Indian Reservation and is considered to be a sacred mountain to the Navajo people. Navajo Mountain, a large laccolithic dome and is called Naatsis'áán by the Navajo people, its meaning is Head of the Earth. The top of the mountain is marred by a radio facilty/towers/structures and other stuff that definitely do not belong on a sacred mountain but in this day of needing communications placed in high places, even that aspect seems to be compromised on this mountain.
Navajo Mountain is a prominence peak having 4226 feet of clean prominence which makes it number 13 on the Utah list. Prior to it being sought after as one of Utah's higher prominence peaks, it was often the last one done by those who were chasing the Sierra Club's Desert Peaks. (scroll down to section 7) A very very long way from California, folks in Los Angeles would make the 600 mile drive to claim this one. Consider this 1969 trip report by John Vitz.
The famous Rainbow Bridge is nearby and a rough cross country route to the bridge exists that some folks use. Information wise, I have nothing to share on that as I have not done it. I'll see about providing a link to it later on after the majority of this page is finished.
Totally non technical, this mountain can be walked up via a very rough 4WD road that runs to the top to service the towers. A Utah history site said that " Official documentation of the occupation of Navajo Mountain began with Spanish explorers and Catholic fathers Anastasio Dominguez and Silvestre Velez de Escalante, who "met only Paiutes" when they forded the Colorado River near Navajo Mountain in 1776. The San Juan Paiutes and Navajos occupied the surrounding mesas and rugged canyons in the early 1800s." More history can be found HERE.
BE RESPECTFUL OF THE NAVAJO RESERVATIONS LAnd AND SPEED LIMITS.
Please do not leave any kind of litter or trash, try and be a good guest
so that others will be able to visit and hike this mountain.
If you come from Flagstaff, you will take the turnoff for highway 160 to Tuba City and continue easterly until reaching the junction for highway 98 which heads for Page. About 12 miles up this highway watch for the turnoff to Indian road #16, which is now paved all the way to the turnoff for the power line road that leads up the mountain. I'm not positive on the distance from the turnoff from highway 98 to the turnoff for the dirt power line road but it is in the range of 40 miles. (see below for more) You can drive your vehicle up the power line road as far as your clearance and driving ability will allow. The road becomes very rough after a couple miles and only high clearance 4WD vehicles should think about going further. Most can make it to the 7200 foot mark but you might want to park even lower. Even a rental should be carefully driven.
It is a long way from a tow truck or help. Overall, it is roughly about 165 miles from Flagstaff but I'd suggest you study your maps rather than rely on
From Page, take highway 98 55 miles to the turnoff for #16.
To find the power line road:
Zero your speedometer when you pass the posted Utah-Arizona border. You will pass a small airport on your left at 0.7 miles and just beyond you will find a powerline crossing the road. The powerline road is here, turn left (west)onto it. Proceed west 2.4 miles on the powerline road to a small repeater station beside the road in the flatlands. Here the road bends to the north and in 0.2 mi is a fine parking spot for many vehicles and where for many it is a good place to stop. You can go further as I indicated above to a decent campsite at about 7100 feet with fireplace, room for cars to turn around and for maybe 5 cars to park. We went a bit further than this in our Toyotas but next time I'd stop here since the road just really keeps getting worse and worse.
Red TapeA permit might be considered and Cameron is the place to get one. Cameron is 46 miles from Flagstaff and the Navajo issuing station is on the west side of the highway where highway 64 comes in from the Grand Canyon. I have heard that most don't bother as Cameron (depends on who greets you at the desk) may not issue you a permit for Navajo Mountain. When we did Black Mesa near Kayenta, we had permits for both camping on Navajo land and for hiking, a cost of 15 dollars for one night and two days. You might want to call ahead on this but I can make no recommendation one way or the other. One person I talked to said he was told "NO" when he asked for a permit for Navajo Mountain so I didn't bother to ask. It is your decision.
HIKING & CAMPING (From this link)
The Navajo Nation is comprised of more than 25,000 square miles and offers hikers numerous isolated trails and routes. For the safety of hikers who enter the reservation and for the protection of natural and cultural resources, the Parks and Recreation Department has implemented guidelines for backcountry use.
The trails are not improved or maintained, and are usually marked with rock claims. To reach the trailheads, topographic maps and drives over rough dirt roads are required. Roads can become impassable in wet weather, and conditions can change quickly. Travelers are cautioned to be prepared. To ensure having an enjoyable experience, plan your trip carefully. Most trails are rated strenuous to moderately strenuous, and good physical conditioning is important. The terrain is rough, water is scarce and the weather is often extreme in most areas.
In summer, the trails are hot and dry; in winter, elevations make them subject to severe cold and high winds. Due to the quick changes in the weather, be aware of the dangers of flash floods. While this danger is greatest during the summer monsoon season (July through September), flash floods can occur at any time of the year.
Camping fees: $5.00 per person, per night for anyone over the age of 6. Fees subject to change.
You willl need to obtain a camping permit from one of the following locations listed below.
Backcountry permit fees: $5.00 per person, per day.
Cameron Visitor Center
P.O. Box 459
Cameron, AZ 86020
tel : 928.679.2303
This visitor center is located at the junction of Highway 89 and Highway 64 in Cameron, Arizona. Information and permits can be obtained for trails along the Colorado River, Marble Canyon, Jackass Canyon, Salt Trail Canyon, Totahatso Point, Rainbow Bridge trails, Cove Mesa, Coal Mine Canyon and areas in the western portion of the Navajo Nation.
CampingNavaho National Monument has camping for no fee. Located to the east of the highway 98 junction, it is about a ten mile or so drive to road 564, that leads up to the Monument, a 9 mile effort to reach the campgrounds. Nice facilities and based on first come, first served. We spent one night there after doing Black Mesa and went on from there to do Navajo Mountain. It worked out well. We then left early to get to the trailhead (which is whereever you end up parking)
Navajo National Monument Good link with map & more info.
You could also car camp off of the power line road if you wish. Many others have done so. See this report.
The road & the routeJust after crossing into Utah, begin to watch for the turnoff to Navajo Mountain road. It is not signed but the presence of powerline poles is
an indicator that you have chosen the right one. Initially the first mile goes relatively easy but the road worsens as you continue on. Ruts, rocks and sand are a few of the obstacles but most of these can be handled by a pssenger car with low clearance if driven slowly and carefully. However, road condtions can change and you might have to walk quite a bit further than you planned on. I know one person who just parked near the small airport and walked in from there.
I would call this the road to discovery, since you will discover just how far you want to drive. We made it to the 7300 foot mark with high clearance 4WD vehicles but that last couple of hundred feet was pushing my comfort zone. Others might make it up further but there were several "stoppers" along the way. A huge boulder in the road at one place along with a tree totally blocking the road. Since you will need your vehicle to get back to where you came from, think twice before you push your limits. Maybe get out and walk the road a bit before you drive it if you have any questions.
From where you park, you can walk the road all the way to the top. We did about ten miles round trip and figured that with a couple of the ups and downs along the way that you hit again on the way out that we did close to 3500 feet of elevation gain. We hit snow at the 9000 foot level but needed no snowshoes as the snow was firm enough to hold our weight without postholing. Mid April seems to be a good time to do this hike. We saw no other tracks in the snow and it is possible that we were the first ones up there this year. A couple of places on the hike up give you nice views of Monument Valley off in the distance.
On top we found a witness benchmark but not the main benchamrk as we figured it was probably under snow. No register was seen nor would I suspect there might be one.
Others have mentioned an older trail that takes from War God Springs but I have no information on that trail.
Our stat's: 10 miles roundtrip with 3500 feet elevation gain
Weather for Page AZ, closest town
A route page?Since my experience has only been the road that leads to the top, there is no need to post a route page, so I will post no route page. From about the 7200 foot level, the road walk is about ten miles, more or less. The elevation gain is 3200 feet plus a couple hundred feet you lose going both ways so the overall elevation gain for us was about 3600. Obviousy, the lower you start, the more the elevation gain will be.
Please see recent update info on permits posted by Rick Hartman HERE