Ancestral Trails Tour

14 Days


Day 1 - Arrive Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. 


Day 2 -  Montezuma’s Castle.  Gaze into the past into one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. This 20 room building, nestled into a towering limestone cliff, tells a 1,000 year-old story of ingenuity and survival in an unforgiving desert landscape.  Marveling at this enduring legacy of the Sinagua culture reveals a people surprisingly similar to us.

Montezuma’s Well.  Montezuma Well, a unit of Montezuma Castle National Monument, is a place like no other in the world. This unique geologic feature is located 11 miles from Montezuma Castle and is home to species of animals found nowhere else on the planet. Take your time as you wander the trails exploring pre-historic Sinaguan cliff dwellings, pueblo ruins, and a 1,000 year old irrigation ditch that is still in use by local residents today! 

V bar V Ranch is the largest known petroglyph site in the Verde Valley, as well as being one of the best-preserved.  Rock art is one type of archaeological data that can be used to identify prehistoric cultures and time periods. Various styles of rock art have been identified, based on the kinds of elements, relationships between elements, and manufacturing techniques. By making these observations, various rock art styles have been defined for the prehistoric Southwest. One of these styles - the Beaver Creek Style - has been identified through the studies of rock art sites in the Beaver Creek area, especially here at V-Bar-V Heritage Site. This research has resulted in the definition of the Beaver Creek Style, which is diagnostic of the Southern Sinagua between A.D. 1150 and 1400.  


Day 3 - Walnut Canyon.   Walk in the footsteps of people who lived at Walnut Canyon more than 700 years ago. Peer into their homes, cliff dwellings built deep within canyon walls. The presence of water in a dry land made the canyon rare and valuable to its early human inhabitants. It remains valuable today as habitat for plants and animals. See for yourself on trails along the canyon rim and into the depths. 

Sunset Crater.   Sunset Crater Volcano was born in a series of eruptions sometime between 1040 and 1100. Powerful explosions profoundly affected the lives of local people and forever changed the landscape and ecology of the area. Lava flows and cinders still look as fresh and rugged as the day they formed. But among dramatic geologic features, you'll find trees, wildflowers, and signs of wildlife – life returns.   

Wupatki.   Less than 800 years ago, Wupatki Pueblo was the largest pueblo around. It flourished for a time as a meeting place of different cultures. Yet this was one of the warmest and driest places on the Colorado Plateau, offering little obvious food, water, or comfort. How and why did people live here? The builders of Wupatki and nearby pueblos have moved on, but their legacy remains. 


Day 4 - Grand Canyon.  One of the seven natural wonders of the world, with powerful and     inspiring landscape, the Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. Unique combinations of geologic color and erosional forms decorate a canyon that is 277 river miles (446km) long, up to 18 miles (29km) wide, and a mile (1.6km) deep.  


Day 5 - Antelope Canyon tour.  Antelope Canyon is at once one of the most breathtaking and tranquil places on earth.  Gently carved from the Navajo sandstone over the course of countless millenniums, the slot canyons are majestic and narrow passages, just enough space for a small group to walk the sandy floor - and for the occasional shafts of sunlight to shine down from above.  One of the most photographed and photographic places on earth, Antelope Canyon is simply spectacular and there is no bad time of day to be there.  

Canyon Princess Dinner Cruise.  The scenery is spectacular. The food is delightful. This dinner cruise is sure to provide you with special memories of your trip to Lake Powell. Tour lasts 2-1/2 hours.  


Day 6 - Monument Valley, Goosenecks, Mexican Hat.    In Monument Valley we will take a jeep tour for a 3.5 hour Navajo guided journey into the sacred regions of the valley.  Monument Valley was the setting for many of John Ford’s western movies, many staring John Wayne.  This breathtaking valley is another magnificent example of erosion running rampant and leaving inexplicable rock towers in its wake.  Home to many Navajo, this valley is one of the grand sights of the world.  The Goosenecks and Mexican Hat are not to be missed geological attractions on the way to Bluff.  Lunch included in Monument Valley. 


Day 7 -  Sand Island.   Sand Island is a cliff face stretching hundreds of feet above the San Juan River, and it is simply covered with petroglyphs. Some are very old, probably dating back thousands of years, while others were made much more recently; maybe as recently as the last 100 years by nomadic Utes.   Sand Island has been used as a stopping ground, obviously, for many people for many hundreds of years.   

Anasazi Heritage Center.  Filled with over two million artifacts, the Anasazi Heritage Center is a museum that interprets the amazing history and diverse culture of the Four Corners region. The center offers films, hands-on discovery area and permanent exhibits which all explore archaeology, local history and Pueblo, Ute and Navajo life ways.    

Day 8 – Ute Tribal Park.   Adjacent to Mesa Verde National Park is the Ute Tribal Park.  The Ute ruins are just as they were found well over a century ago and the exciting part is that we are allowed, with a Ute guide, to enter the ruins and see exactly how they were laid out and how they worked.   Our Guides on this all day tour will interpret Ute Indian History, Ute pictographs, geological formations, Ancestral Pueblo petroglyphs, artifacts and dwellings.  The full-day trips require additional time and effort, including a three-mile walk on unpaved trails and a climb on five ladders to visit four well-preserved canyon cliff dwellings in Lion Canyon.  Boxed Lunch included.   


Day 9- Chaco Canyon World Heritage Site, New Mexico   Chaco Canyon was a major center of Anasazi ancestral Puebloan culture, a hub for trade, ritual, and administration for the Four Corners area from AD 850 to 1250.  This secluded canyon preserves the magnificent ruins of the ancient monumental buildings, the huge underground ceremonial chambers known as kivas, astronomical alignments, and Chaco’s ancient system of roads, irrigation canals, and dams.  The sites are part of the sacred homeland of the Pueblo Indian and Navajo peoples.  Boxed lunches included. 


Day 10 - Navajo Nation: Jeep tour of Canyon de Chelly, Arizona.  Travel by jeep through remote and beautiful Canyon de Chelly, located on Navajo Tribal Trust Lands, and famous for its well preserved Anasazi ruins and ancient rock art.  Aside from its outstanding archaeological ruins and petroglyphs, the Canyon gives us the opportunity to gain insight into the living community of Navajo people who still cultivate the valley floor.   


Day 11 - Hopi Gathering of Clans at Walpi.  Seldom are non-Hopi people allowed into a Hopi ceremony, but the Gathering of Clans is the rare exception.  On First Mesa, the gathering is a festival of community and brotherhood for not only all the Hopi clans, but for all of humanity.  This is a tremendous opportunity to observe ceremonies few non-Hopi will ever see. 


Day 12 - Old Oraibi 3rd Mesa.  This dusty pueblo perched on the edge of Third Mesa dates from 1150 and is probably the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States.  We will take a guided tour of the village with Eric Polingyouma.   


Day 13 - Sedona.  Sedona is situated in a unique geological area that has mesmerized tourists for decades.  Indeed, this picturesque city is surrounded by beloved red-rock monoliths named Coffeepot, Cathedral and Bell even Snoopy because their massive shapes resemble these distinctive objects.  Also, the site of this memorable city marks the mouth of unbelievably beautiful Oak Creek Canyon, a breathtaking chasm that even today, is wildly wonderful.  


Day 14 - Sedona to Sky Harbor Airport. 

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