August 7, 2013

Searching for the Anasazi: Betatakin Ruin at Navajo National Monument

Photo of the Betatakin ruin, taken from the overlook near the visitors' center.
Photo of the Betatakin ruin, taken from the overlook near the visitors’ center.

JunglePants recently spent ten days hiking and rafting in Utah canyons in search of enigmatic Anasazi ruins. At 107 degrees on the canyon floor, sun blazing most days, it was a brutal beauty.

Nights under the stars were magical. We’d go back again–but in May or September.

One of the Highlights:

Betatakin Ruin at Navajo National Monument. Betatakin is a lovely ruin, one of the most intact ancestral puebloan cliff dwellings in the southwest. There’s an easy trail from the visitor’s center to an overlook. (Best time for photography is late afternoon.) The visitor’s center has a nice display of ancient pueblo pottery from the surrounding area.

To hike down to the ruins, you’ll have to sign up for one of the two ranger-guided tours, at 8:15 (rated a strenuous 4-5 hour hike) or 10:30 (rated a very strenuous 3-4 hour hike).



Believe the strenuous designation–especially if it’s hot outside! The trail descends 700 feet into the canyon with good footing. Regaining those 700 feet is tough on a hot day.

Trail up from the Betatakin National Monumnet
Last bit of trail climbing back out of the canyon.

I was disappointed that we only stayed for about ten minutes at the ruin, not enough time, in my view, to really appreciate the site.

It’s a pretty hike, if you’re in tip-top shape.

For more information on the monument:

For more information on the hike:







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