Arizona Navajo and Hopi Reservations
Between Tuba City and Monument Valley on Highway 160 is the turn-off for little-visited Navajo National Monument, which protects three of the most impressive Anasazi ruins in the Southwest. The stunning 100-room Keet Seel cliff dwellings are a 17-mile round-trip hike from the Visitor Centre, but the trip is well worth it.
Encircled by the much larger Navajo Reservation, the Hopi Indian Reservation (sometimes referred to as Hopiland) consists of 12 ancient villages and a handful of more-recent settlements spread across three high, narrow mesas. Tribe members have lived in a few of these villages for well over 800 years, making them some of the oldest continually inhabited settlements in North America.
Adobe buildings on the edge of 600-foot-high flat-topped mesas give the reservation a strong sense of history, and the tribe—with some 5,000 members living here—is one of the most traditional in the country. Visitors are welcome to the Tutsqua, the Hopi ancestral lands, but they’re expected to behave with respect, and photography or recording of any kind are strictly prohibited at all times. One of the best ways to experience Hopiland is on a private tour with a tribe member, who will lift the veil on a number of the Hopi’s religious beliefs, which have stayed remarkably pure over the millennia.