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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Sandal Trail - Betatakin Overlook, AZ

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Guide 20 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Northeast > Hotevilla
3 of 5 by 9
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 1.06 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,292 feet
Elevation Gain -207 feet
Accumulated Gain 205 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 0.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 2.09
Interest Ruins & Historic
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
8  2018-03-31
Navajo NM
3  2014-09-21 AZWanderingBear
4  2014-07-07 big_load
7  2012-10-06
NE Arizona tour
13  2012-08-03 DarthStiller
10  2012-08-03 Al_HikesAZ
4  2011-09-09 PatrickL
7  2011-06-09 squatpuke
Page 1,  2
Author PaleoRob
author avatar Guides 137
Routes 111
Photos 5,253
Trips 942 map ( 2,097 miles )
Age 38 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Associated Areas
list map done
Navajo Nation Reservation
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Sep, Oct, Jun → Any
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:06am - 6:27pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Ancestral Puebloans
by PaleoRob

Likely In-Season!
Overview: The Sandal Trail is a relatively easy trail that leads from the Visitor's Center at Navajo National Monument to an overlook of Betatakin (or Talastima in Hopi). This is the most common way that people get to experience these ruins.

Warning: There is little shade along the trail, and it is exposed so that during a summer monsoon you will want to use caution when hiking.

History: Betatakin ruins were occupied beginning around 1267 and abandoned less than 25 years later, around 1286. Its original inhabitants were what archaeologists now call the Kayenta Anasazi, or the Ancestral Puebloans. The Hopi call these people the Hisatsinom, which basically means The Old People, or Our Ancestors. The Hopis have several stories about why their ancestors left the area, including a preordained migration, being chased out by a giant snake, and being driven out by others. Archaeologists would agree with the being driven out, to some extent, but would also add drought, famine, and changes in weather patterns. While Navajos say that they have always been in the Tsegi Canyon, archaeologists say that Navajos did not move into the Tsegi area until the time of the Long Walk, when Kit Carson's troops were driving on Canyon de Chelly to take the Navajos into captivity at Bosque Redondo. Navajo oral tradition also states that the ancient Navajos lived side by side with the Hisatsinom, and trace several of their clans back to times with the Anasazi in the Tsegi system. Navajo National Monument was declared by President Taft in 1909, with John Wetherill named the first caretaker. Despite this, Betatakin was not discovered until after the monument was declared, when Wetherill was guided to the site by local Navajo Clatsozen Benully. It was first excavated by Neil Judd in 1917, and extensively dated by Jeffrey Dean in the 1960's. Today it is only accessible via a guided tour, but anyone can hike the easy Sandal Trail to the overlook point and be awed by the view into Betatakin Canyon.

Hike: The hike starts out behind the Visitor's Center and passes through some displays on the Navajo history of the area. The trail then bends and follows the canyon rim, passing by metal signs that display information about the local plant life and how Navajos and the Anasazi could have used the various flora to their benefit. The trail is paved and descends slowly, with one final switchback to take you down to the observation platform, where there is a viewing scope and a shade roof. After you have seen all you wanted, return to the trailhead via the same route.

Water Sources: Only at the Visitor's Center.

Camping: Camping is available within the monument at two campgrounds, but not along the Sandal Trail itself.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2010-07-13 PaleoRob
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Sandal Trail - Betatakin Overlook
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    Navajo NM
    I spent a night at my go-to northeastern Arizona campground at Navajo NM. It's free, and according to the ranger, has never been "full" so it's a reliable spot to show up late at night looking for a few zzz's.

    It's off-season, so there are not currently any scheduled guided tours to the Betatakin ruins and the ranger who could volunteer to do it was in Phoenix for the weekend. ](*,)

    So I was limited to the trails that don't require a guide as a quick morning exploration. I would have liked to see the Aspen trail in yesteryear as it continues past the current closure to the bottom of the canyon. It looked like I could get past the rockfall, but I decided not to risk the NPS violation.

    The night was very cold and fires are not permitted here. But the bathroom had a heater which was nice in the morning! :)
    Sandal Trail - Betatakin Overlook
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    It was risky, planning a week of adventures this time of year up here. The horseshoe was golden as this was the finest week I have ever seen in this area, any time of year. That said, the bottom fell out today. Dust storms, rain, and hail has me scurrying south, with a few light must dos.
    Sandal Trail - Betatakin Overlook
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    NE Arizona tour
    A 3-day Fall break trip to Navajo/Hopi land.

    We spent an hour or so exploring the southern edge of Coal Mine Canyon (15mi south of Tuba City). What a fantastic place! Like stumbling across Bryce Canyon with no signs or fences. I wouldn't bring a dog or an 8-yr old.

    Arrived at Navajo National Monument Sunday morning in time for the once-a-week Ranger guided tour to Betatakin Ruin. We (and 15 other well-geared hikers) were disappointed though when the hike was cancelled as the Ranger's helper didn't show up on time. This is another beautiful place and it would have been a perfect day for the long hike to Keet Seel - too bad the park is under-resourced. We walked the overlook trails which are well worth it..

    Our first trip to Canyon de Chelly and we walked the White House Trail. This is a beautiful trail into a beautiful canyon - a little bit unfortunate that a wire fence keeps you well away from the ruin.

    Monday morning we drove up First Mesa and took the Walpi walking tour. We were lucky to get there just in time to join the only tour of the day (done informally because it was a Hopi holiday). This is a tour more than a hike but we learned a lot of interesting things about Hopi history and modern life. If you have a few extra bucks buy some crafts from the residents.

    Stopped at Homolovi on the way home. I was disappointed that the ruin wasn't heck of a lot more interesting than some of the local Perry Mesa Ruins but there was certainly a wider range of pottery types littering the ground.
    Sandal Trail - Betatakin Overlook
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    Located directly behind the VC at NNM, this paved walk takes you a fantastic overlook of the Betatakin ruin. We had plenty of time to casually walk this and adjoining Aspen trail (a 3/4 mile OAB just off the sandal) as we waited for the rest of our Keet Seel party to arrive from Tucson.

    Weather was fantastic and I was VERY impressed with the Park in general. The campground was clean, very adequate and there were very few people (however, it was only Thursday).

    This Sandal trail really got me geared up for the hike down to Betatakin the next day. Was really looking forward to a thorough examination of the "House Built on a Ledge" the next day; however, this turned out to be rather anticlimactic as I would soon find out.
    Sandal Trail - Betatakin Overlook
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    After packing up the tent and re-packing Nismo, we went to the Visitor's Center at the Navajo Nat'l Monument and started down the Sandal Trail.... well okay, paved path, to the 2nd leg of our 3 Ruin Tour, Betatakin Overlook. It really is a lovely walk other than the bristling wind we encountered. The scenery is fantastic and the interpretive part is interesting.

    You do descend a pretty good amount before arriving at the Overlook. The area below the Cliff Dwelling looks very intriguing too. It would be quite the trip down and back to the Ruins as it is quite steep from what I can tell.

    The Tsegi Canyon itself is really quite beautiful too.

    Permit $$

    Navajo Nation Reservation
    Navajo Permits & Services

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Kayenta, drive west on US160. At Black Mesa, turn right onto US564. Follow 564 to the Visitor's Center, and begin hiking from this point.
    page created by PaleoRob on Jul 13 2010 8:56 am
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