Arizona Monument Valley Ancients & Arroyos BaseCamp
A Geologist Experience

Trip Details

Type: BaseCamp Hiking and Ancient Cultures

Trip Code: RRAA

Duration: 5 Days

Distance: 31-35 mi/49-56 km

Fitness: 4
Comfort: 2
Solitude: 4

Origin: Flagstaff, AZ

Cost: $1300/person

Trip Description:

The Arizona Monument Valley Ancients & Arroyos BaseCamp tour provides a unique and special opportunity to tour the Painted Desert's many ancient ruin sites.  This fascinating adventure takes us to world famous Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, and Navajo National Monument to hike, explore, and observe some of the most well-preserved ancient ruin sites in the American Southwest.  Keet Seel Ruin, Betatakin Ruin, White House Ruin in Canyon de Chelly,  and Monument Valley top the bill on this spectacluar tour of Anasazi Puebloan settlements in the Painted Desert.  This tour is absolutely unique and wonderful, as we incorporate hiking, photography, geology, history, a short backpacking overnight, and fantastic, memorable adventure into one epic trip celebrating the inhabitants of the magical Painted Desert.

  1. Keet Seel, Navajo National Monument
  2. Canyon de Chelly, Arizona
  3. Monument Valley, Arizona
  4. Wukoki Ruin, Wupatki National Monument
  5. Canyon de Chelly, Arizona
  6. Monument Valley, Arizona
  7. Walnut Canyon National Monument
  8. Navajo National Monument
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Trip Itinerary

Day 1:

The Arizona Monument Valley Ancients & Arroyos begins with a hiking foray into Sunset-Wupatki National Monument and Walnut Canyon National Monument, where we will observe our first sets of ruins near Flagstaff, Arizona.  We will hike and explore the youngest volcano in the San Francisco Volcanic Field, observe fascinating ruins and geology of the abandoned Wupatki Pueblo, and take a spectacular stroll into Walnut Canyon to observe the unique cliff dwellings.  We will then head towards the Painted Desert and our comfortable and private campsite near Kayenta, AZ.
Drive Time: 2.5 hours
Distance & Elevation: 3 miles, 500 foot descent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2:

Starting with a leisurely and hearty breakfast, today’s hiking adventure takes us to the Betatakin Ruins in Navajo National Monument.  Navajo Nation policy requires a Navajo Guide to visit Betatakin, so we will meet our guide at 11am after some exploration around Navajo Nation and Navajo National Monument.  The Betatakin Ruins are fantastic, built into the Navajo Sandstone cliffs that flank each side.  Upon our return, we will explore more of spectacular Navajo National Monument and the Painted Desert before returning to our campsite.
Distance & Elevation: 5 miles, 160 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:

Your third day begins our journey to Keet Seel ruin.  After an early but tasty breakfast, we will go to the Keet Seel Trailhead and begin our hike.  Keet Seel Canyon offer gorgeous soaring canyon walls, pleasant natural springs, and an outstanding hike.  The ruins themselves are some of the best in the American Southwest, set into a stunning alcove of Navajo Sandstone.  After photos and a tasty lunch, we will return to the trailhead and come back to camp for a well-earned dinner and stargazing.
Distance & Elevation: 17 miles, 350 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:

Today’s ad
venture offers a bit of a respite, as we cruise out to Monument Valley to observe, hike, explore, and photograph some of the most famous scenery in the American Southwest.  Monument Valley is home to massive, stand-alone sandstone and shale buttes that have graced movie backgrounds, postcards, and calendars, and their presence evokes the true spirit of the Wild West.  
Distance & Elevation: 2 miles, 600 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5:

Our final day of this outstanding tour begins with sunrise yoga on the rocks, then takes us out to Canyon de Chelly and the White House Ruin Trail.  Canyon de Chelly is truly one of Arizona's grandest treasures, with carved spires, towering canyon walls, and pleasant canyon-carving river scenes set against the backdrop of Painted Desert Country.  After some fantastic hiking and exploration, we will return to Flagstaff via the Window Rock Route, yet another beautiful and famous feature of the Painted Desert. 
Distance & Elevation: 4 miles, 500 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch
Drive Time: 4 hours

6-Day Option: 

This longer itinerary allows for a 2-day completion of the Keet Seel hike, with an overnight at the campground.  It also allows for more (optional) exploration of Keet Seel Canyon and side canyons.  The 6-day itinerary requires a minimum of 4 people to book a custom tour.

*Final itineraries are occasionally subject to change due to permit/campsite availability, park restrictions/closures, weather conditions and/or road closures.

What’s Included:
A professional, degreed, licensed and medically trained geologist/guide
All necessary gear: daypack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trekking poles
All cooking/eating gear: bowls, cups, utensils (your geologist/guide will prepare all meals)
All food, including a mix of fresh and pre-made backcountry meals
Roundtrip Transportation from your hotel in Flagstaff to Navajo National Monument and all activities/attractions
Entrance fees, camping fees, and backcountry permits

Meals: what to expect
We provide all your meals from a light breakfast on day 1 through lunch the last day. Your geologist/guide will prepare a variety of meals on the trail and in camp that will fit the day's activity. Feel free to tell us about your food preferences, as we're more than happy to tailor the menu to your needs/desires. Some specialty diets may require an additional fee.

All meals will consist of one entree, prepared by your geologist/guide.  Fresh options will be available, and meals will be served cafeteria-style on covered tables.  There will be trail snacks that consist of nuts, fruits, chocolate, and other "gorp" style mixes.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

What’s Not Included:
Transportation to/from Flagstaff, AZ
Lodging the night before/after the trip
Clothing, raingear, and footwear
Personal toiletries, sunscreen
Water bottles/hydration bladder
Headlamp or flashlight
Guide gratuity (suggested 10-15% of trip cost)
*Upon booking you will receive a detailed trip information packet

How many people are in the group?
Most basecamping trips in Navajo National Monument will accommodate 6 people plus one geologist/guide. On occasion, a group may be as large as 10 people plus 2 guides.

Are there age restrictions?
Children under 12 are generally not permitted on any of Blue Marble's scheduled trips.  This can be negotiable on private tours, please contact us to discuss this policy

How do I sign up?
In order to confirm a reservation , we require an initial deposit of $500 per person, with the final balance due 90 days prior to the trip’s departure. If you book a trip within 90 days of the trip’s scheduled departure, then full payment is due at the time of booking.  Your deposit is payable over the phone by Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, or Discover. Checks by mail are fine as well, as are bank transfers ($35 transfer fee). Call our office Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm Arizona time. 1-602-904-2536
Travel Logistics

Where does the trip begin/end?
This trip will begin/end in Flagstaff, AZ and you will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure in Flagstaff. You will want to fly into either Phoenix (2 hour drive) or Flagstaff. Please visit our  Travel Resources  page for information on airports, shuttles/rental cars and recommended hotels.

Where do you meet our guides?
We will hold a pre-trip orientation at 4:30pm the evening prior to your trip’s departure at the host hotel in Flagstaff. Departure times and logistics for the following morning will be discussed at the orientation.  Most trips will depart between 5am and 6am.

*This meeting is not mandatory, but highly recommended, as we will depart early the next morning. If you are unable to attend, please let us know in advance so that we can make alternate arrangements.

What do we do with our car and extra stuff?
We will provide all transportation to/from trailheads for the duration of the trip. We will pick you up at the host hotel in Flagstaff and return you there at the trip’s conclusion. Guests staying at the host hotel can leave their cars at the hotel. These hotels will often store your luggage for you, as well. If not, we are happy to store extra luggage at a secure location for the duration of the trip. If you are staying at a different hotel, you will need to check with them as to whether you can leave your car there

What time will we get back on the last day?
Expect to be back in Flagstaff by 5pm at the latest on the last day of the trip. Some trips will return earlier but we cannot make any guarantees. In general, it is recommended that you do not plan to fly home on the same day your trip finishes. Since each trip has slightly different logistics, feel free to contact us with specific questions related to the expected return time for your trip.

Trip Dates

2017 Dates
October: 3-7

2018 Dates
May: 8-12, 15-19
More dates to come soon…
Don’t see your dates? Custom dates may be available!
Call 1-602-904-2536 or email us  for details.