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Sandal Trail - Betatakin Overlook, AZ

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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
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Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
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 172
Routes 229
Photos 6,096
Trips 1,128 map ( 2,523 miles )
Age 41 Male Gender
Location Pocatello, ID
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred May, Sep, Oct, Jun
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  5:24am - 7:33pm
Official Route
1 Alternative

Ancestral Puebloans
by PaleoRob

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.

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.

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 essentially 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 them 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 1960s. 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.

The hike starts behind the Visitor's Center and passes through some displays of 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 takes 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 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.

    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
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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