Take seriously the need to inquire about access and obtain the necessary permits.
Trespassing, or crossing tribal lands without the correct permit, is a BIG NO NO. A technical argument can be made that if the road to the towers is managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, then it is a public road, and therefore it is public access (on the road and in your vehicle only.) However even if this is true, leaving the pavement on any reservation is not a good faith approach to crossing tribal lands. And the tribal police do patrol.
Tribal lands are not public lands.
Please respect the policies of the Navajo tribal government and the Navajo tribal membership and inquire about the appropriate method to access or travel beyond any unpaved roads. There are areas where tribes explicitly invite public access, and there are places where they explicitly do not. This comes from my experience being employed in a tribal government myself. If you are willing to test the gray area of unpaved roads and leave your vehicle on foot, you must have the correct permit or be accompanied by a tribal member.
This is not optional.
Your input is appreciated. I've changed the red tape section to reflect the seriousness of needing a permit and your comments might make others realize that it isn't an automatic and need to plan accordingly. I've made reference to your comments under the red tape section.
It is probable that I'll delete this page from Summitpost since it is clear from the Navajo web site that ascending Navajo mountain is off limits.
Thank you for updating the red tape section. I didn't want to come off too forcefully, but I did want to be clear about the issue.
I used to do natural resources management for the Southern Ute Tribe, and it was my job to spend over 30 hours a week in the field and on tribal lands. I was fortunate to have that experience, but I learned from "inside the reservation" how amazingly complex and frustrating this issue can be for many Tribes. I cannot even begin to describe how much abuse of indian lands is still occurring, and how sensitive this issue still is.
However, I would not recommend deleting your page :) If you are up for tinkering with it a little more, it's still a great media for conveying the correct information. I'm sure a lot of people are googling pages about this mountain, and summitpost is a great venue to convey the things that the public needs to know. You also have some great geographical information here, and I think that is extremely valuable thing to expand for all people who notice the prominence of this mountain and who want to better feel their sense of place in this region.
You may want to restate your new comment about the access issue at the top of the overview section (many people won't read thoroughly down to the red tape section.) However, you also have the chance here to add additional sections, or even children to the page, to discuss areas in the region that are public access, and which offer great perspectives on the mountain. Antelope Canyon near Page, AZ, comes to mind, and so does the view from the lower canyons of the Escalante. It's also possible to hire interpretive guides at many of the Navajo parks, and while you wouldn't be hiking on the mountain itself, I'm sure it's still possible to do an interpretive tour of the mountain from a nearby landmark.
I've redone the page to reflect your information. Check it out. I've also eliminated the route section, a map and references to using the road to the summit as a route. Whether this will keep others from going to the summit, at least now they will be more aware that it is a trespassing situation.
Navajo Mountain may be considered a "sacred area", but, it is not one of the 4 sacred Navajo Mountains. Those are: Hesperus (CO), Mt. Taylor (NM), Blanca (CO), and the San Francisco Peaks (AZ). I lived and worked on the Navajo Reservation for 18 yrs and had the opportunity to drive to the top of Navajo Mt. in a military-style humvee. I have also hiked the Navajo Mt. trail which goes around the base of the peak, ending at Rainbow Bridge on Lake Powell. I would usually hike and travel with Navajo friends, which prevented unpleasant encounters with some locals. It is unfortunate that more and more places on Indian lands are being designated "sacred" to keep non-native Americans out. Having an active--and workable--guiding/tourist process would benefit everyone.
Thanks for your comments. I know that Navajo Mountain is going to still get a lot of activity and a friend recently went up the road a couple of weeks ago and was treated in a welcoming manner by some members of the Navajo tribe while he was there. Still....
"...and was treated in a welcoming manner by some members of the Navajo tribe while he was there..."
Shouldn't this be proof enough that Navajos encountered on Navajo Mountain don't mind non-Rez folks being there? I've never heard of anybody being verbally harassed or of any law enforcement patrolling the area, looking for people hiking "the forbidden mountain".
Permits/regulations etc do exist and serve their purposes, but for peakbaggers, you should be able to get by without all that as long as you are respectful of the land, don't litter, vandalize, blah blah blah (which peakbaggers are 99% of the time anyway). All this info coming from westanimas, while certainly relevant, isn't quite warranted for this peak, IMO. From my experience, peakbaggers on Navajo Mountain is pretty far off the Navajo Nation police's radar.
In my 20+ years in Arizona and having explored most of the various Indian Reservations in the state, you pick up on the vibe of each place, and know what is cool and what isn't, and so on.
The Navajo Nation is (to me) by far the most accommodating to outsiders, in that most of it is accessible as long as you have a permit and aren't treading toward the obvious/well-known sacred areas, or in someone's front yard/pasture.
I have been to a few locales on the Navajo Nation that weren't specifically designated as "open for tourists", but we had no resistance whatsoever when procuring our permits, and we always told the Navajo Rec people exactly where we'd be going. In encounters with the locals, we have been honest and forthright, asking if it's okay for us to be here, and they have always been very friendly and accommodating. It boils down to just basic respect, honesty and friendliness. Now, that won't mean you may encounter someone who has a problem with your presence. If that happens, back off and let things cool down.
My experiences are anecdotal but the preponderance of experiences suggest that most places on the Navajo Nation are "possible" if you are willing to do some research up front, be honest at all stages, and maybe look into a guide if you feel unsure.
Thank you very much for your consideration here. I think the way this thread has developed shows how useful it is to have this page on summitpost.
Our individual choices and consequent actions toward land management, cultural sensitivity, and unresolved access issues, eventually circle back over time and build the public reputation of the outdoors community.
We come to the table with this reputation, inherited through others in our community. This reputation is very much the basis behind developing a land management plan that could allow public access to a given area, and even an official's individual decision whether to issue a crossing permit. It's analogous to opinions that have formed over the years about hunters and ATV riders, and what we believe are the respective responsibilities of those sports.
I see comments from members in this thread that touch on honesty, research, and being accompanied by a guide. This is how I made some wonderful, and legitimate, trips into places like the Ute Mountain Tribal Park and also Canyon de Chelly- where the tribes were explicit in requiring me to have a guide. It's not my place to question why a permit couldn't have done the job, or why I even needed permission at all. I'm not a tribal member and it's not my land.
Moving forward, climbers, hikers, and the summitpost community have a responsibility to act as good stewards of the lands they are enjoying. I think everyone can understand that tribal lands are not public lands. How we are perceived will determine our future reputation and ability to come to these places. It is in everyone's interest to take the good faith approach.
From the dirt road on the SE flank, the power lines can be followed directly to the summit, up and back. With proper permission from the Navajo authorities, of course. This route is not intrusive and is not near any structures or fields.
As of August 12, 2015, the Navajo Nation website has been down for at least a month (since I started trying to access it for permit information). I was going to try to climb the mountain on the return trip from Colorado last week, but could never get any information, and so didn't go. The web site continues to be down.