Take a hike into another world!
Overview: Walpi Village is one of the three Hopi pueblos located on First Mesa, on the Hopi Reservation. It is also fiercely proud of its heritage and allows visitors to tour through the ancient settlement perched on an isolated fin overlooking Polacca Wash.
Warning: Hopi is a very isolated place, with limited services except at Munqapi (Moenkopi), Polacca, and Keam's Canyon. Photography, sketching, and audio recording is strictly forbidden anywhere on the Hopi reservation without express permission from the tribe. In addition, villages (including Walpi) may be closed at any time for ceremonial reasons. January through mid-summer is the time of year when the Katsinam (commonly called Kachinas) are present on Hopi, so the Katsina dances occur during this time, increasing the likelihood of finding the village closed. Please obey and respect all Hopi rules and regulations. Ignore them and risk fines, imprisonment, as well as impacting what other non-Hopis can experience on the Hopi reservation.
History: The history of Walpi can be written two ways - the Hopi perspective or the archaeological perspective. In some cases, the two are in agreement while other times they differ. Indeed it depends on whom you ask in each part. Walpis like to claim a chain of unbroken settlement dating back over 1100 years, to the year 900 AD. Other Hopis will assert that the original Walpis lived at the foot of the mesa and did not move up on to First Mesa until after 1680, when the Pueblo Revolt occurred. In either case, it is certain that settlements near modern-day Walpi date back to the "Anasazi" days of the 10th century, and nearby Orabi can be firmly dated back to at least 1100 AD. The two other villages on First Mesa (Sichomovi and Hano) were built after Walpi was first constructed. Walpis say that Hano was built by a people named the Hano, who then moved away; their village was later reoccupied by Rio Grande Tewa people. Other Hopis will say that Hano was built because the Walpis invited the Tewas to come live on First Mesa and protect them from raiding nomads like the Apache, Navajo, and Ute. Archaeologists trace the Hano population to the Pueblo Revolt, with the Tewas acting as warriors to help defend First Mesa against Spaniards. It is certainly true that the Tewa people who still inhabit keep their Tewa language intact, and remain an isolated population even on First Mesa. David Roberts commented (without citation) that most of the Hopi Tribal Police comes from Hano. Today the First Mesa Consolidated Villages' Tourism Program runs a guided tour to Walpi, which still lacks electrical power or running water. It has been preserved in this state to showcase what Hopi was like before the 20th century (and, Hopis will assert, what it was like dating back all the way to 900 AD).
Hike: The hike starts in the neighboring village of Sichomovi. Locate the Ponsi Hall Visitor's Center (near the parking area and alley to the Sichomovi Plaza). You will arrange for a tour with the guides who are based out of Ponsi. They provide hourly tours from 9 AM to 3 PM. Ponsi Hall is open until 3:30, but the last tour of the day leaves at 3. Each tour takes an hour, and as mentioned above, can be canceled due to village ceremonies. Bad weather can also halt the tour program. There is a cost of $13/person for the tour. The guide will take you from Ponsi hall down towards the stone neck separating Sichomovi from Walpi at the end of the mesa. Your guide will explain the sites that you will see around you in the village, as well as the vast vistas from the mesa top, stretching out towards the looming San Francisco Peaks on the southwestern horizon. Remember that the Hopi people value their religion, so some questions may not be fully answered (if at all) if they relate to Hopi religion. That doesn't mean that people will not talk about Hopi religion, you just need to be prepared to understand that certain things are not for the uninitiated (either Hopi or non-Hopi to know). The guides are usually very knowledgeable (don't forget to tip). Usually the third weekend in September First Mesa hosts a Harvest Festival, with local wares for sale, as well as traditional food. Tours of Walpi Village can usually be had during this festival, and the schedule might be slightly different depending on demand.
Water Sources: Uncertain. Bring your own, but some is occasionally available for sale in bottled form, depending on the time and who is around.
Camping: The only official camping location is next to the Cultural Center on Second Mesa.
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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.
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