Navajo Culture & Striking Landscapes Journeys
Canyon de Chelly, Cliff dwellings, rock art & Navajo life
Monument Valley dunes, spires, buttes
Backcountry adventures, campfire circle, rodeos, trading posts
Rural hogans-ranch sites, grazing sheep & roaming horses
Independent Travel or special Group Journeys to Navajo Lands, 1 or more days
Special Journeys can be arranged for your family or small group as an independent traveler experience that begins pre-trip itinerary planning.
Canyon de Chelly, Window Rock, Gallup and Monument Valley, Tuba City are the main areas of focus. See more about Navajo here.
Your Navajo Journey begins with pre-trip itinerary planning with Sandra Cosentino, founder of Crossing Worlds Journeys & Retreats in 1991. This is based on Sandra Cosentino’s decades of experience with Navajo culture, lands, sacred sites and earth energies of the region.
Step 2 is a personalized pre-trip 2 – 3 hour cultural seminar in the Sedona area a day or so before your drive to Navajo. She goes over the route with you, gives tips for traveling safely.
Learn about Navajo cosmology, history, migration to this land and long interactions with Ancestral Puebloans and Hopi lands (Navajo surrounds the Hopi Reservation). We will also discuss the ceremonial cycle of the year and world view, life today, respectful visitor protocols, and ways to return on your own and establish meaningful contacts.
You receive a map, study packet and CD of Navajo music collection.
Step 3. You drive Navajo on our own to:
- meet with your private Navajo guide(s) which Sandra has arranged for you.
- and also explore on your own Navajo lands, Puebloan ancestral sites and rugged canyon lands
For people confident they can follow map directions and be adaptable and flexible–not available during stormy winter months as this is high altitude driving at elevations of 5,000 -7,000 feet.
You will have a chance to buy crafts directly from the artists and to see items of traditional culture direct from Navajo artists and at historic trading posts.
Option to arrange a meal(s) in a home or outdoor cookout. More options available for a 2 or more day journey.
Please email for more information if you are an independent-minded explorer or group leader with a serious interest in Navajo people and their culture.
Please include your goals, interests and time-frame and number of people. I will send you options and more details
A deposit is required to begin the personalized itinerary and guide contact process as this takes time to organize for you in a meaningful way taking into account your goals, the season of the year, and what might be happening at Navajo.
Other Related programs:
Vision Circles in Nature Retreat: Canyon de Chelly, Navajo & Sedona
Special group programs led by Sandra Cosentino for groups with their own transportation
Sedona Earth-Spirit Pre-trip options:
For those interested in earth-spirit ways, you might consider a Sedona outdoor seminar. We connect with energies of nature, deepen observing skills, notice signs, and more. Ceremony is a part of several different programs. These cross-cultural earth-spirit experiences can deepen your understandings while you are out in these amazing vistas experiencing the Native worldview.
Some of the Navajo Places & Experiences
Experience Navajo peoples, lands and culture in the Canyon de Chelly, Chinle, Black Rock, Tsaile and Window Rock, Tuba City, Monument Valley areas of the large Navajo Reservation. Hear their stories and songs, sense how at home they are out on the land as you experience this dynamic earth-based culture with roots in ancient tradition.
As you drive across the Navajo Nation, which is the size of West Virginia, you view the rural life with clusters of extended family homes, hogans, sheep corrals and grazing sheep with their guard dog and wondering horses. Navajo people are very hardy and adapted to life out on wide open lands.
Canyon de Chelly
You will feel the spirit of adventure and discovery as you jeep ride with a Navajo guide through this roadless, sandy, red-walled canyon famous for its beauty and the concentration of cliff dwellings and rock art of the ancestral pueblo people from 400 BC to 1300 AD.
The heart of the Navajo Reservation today, we will see Navajo hogans and livestock, hear their stories and songs and feel their blessings around the campfire, and experience this dynamic earth-based culture with roots in ancient tradition.
Gaze into the depths of the canyon from spectacular rim views.
Hike to a cliff dwelling on a trail winding down, down the canyon side every turn revealing new nuances of reds, swirling formations studded with green cedars and walls rising above you silhouetted against impossibly brilliantly blue sky.
see Sandra’s video: Canyon de Chelly: Fall Colors, Cultures, Joy of Being
some other options:
–private jeep tour 3 hours to all day customized to your interests
–weaving demonstration and talk about women’s role in Navajo life
–Rim views of cliff dwelling site
–campfire circle with song and dance
–Navajo cook-out dinner (learn to make Navajo tortillas)
–overnight camping in canyon with Navajo guide
–for groups can arrange for Navajo dancers
The spires and buttes of Monument Valley seem to float on a sea of red sand, imparting a sense of intriguing beauty of form and color that shifts with changes in light in the clear air. Far away from the cities, you enter into another world of ancient rock shaped by powerful forces of nature.
Experience a place and a culture for whom this land is alive and imbued with meaning:
- travel into the back country with a Navajo guide
- and enjoy a Navajo taco dinner out on the land
- hear the stories and songs
This is a video I made about a winter Monument Valley journey.
Quieter in winter, the valley lends itself to a more contemplative experience then.
Other Areas of Navajo
|—Window Rock, the Navajo nation capitol, Ft. Defiance historic site|
|—Historic trading post behind the scenes in Gallup and other sites for seeing how the pawn trade still exists as a banking system and learn more about the diversity of Navajo arts|
|—Visit special fairs during the 4th of July and in the September-October season–it is a great experience to go to these with your own Navajo guide! Rodeo, pow wow, traditional song and dance.|
||—Tuba City, adjacent to the eastern side of Hopi. Options to go with a Navajo hostess to a hogan, to her home for Navajo meal, to community locale for a personalized feel of Navajo family and community life in one of the 5 Navajo service-center cities. There are dinosaur footprints, a section of painted desert, and Ancestral Puebloan rock art nearby.|
|—Shiprock, New Mexico striking volcanic formation, agricultural community on the San Juan river and near to many Ancestral Puebloan prehistoric sites. For the adventuring can go over a mountain road from Arizona to New Mexico.
Shiprock: Tsé Bitʼaʼí, “rock with wings” or “winged rock” from their legend of the great bird that brought the Navajo from the north to their present lands.
|—Crown Point, New Mexico, is enroute to Chaco Canyon Historical Park, and site of monthly Navajo rug auction.|
Weaving the Web of Life
“To walk (live) in beauty and to die naturally of old age is the Navajo notion of the good life. Weaving offers Navajo women the chance to be active participants in the generation and expression of beauty. To be able to create and experience the universal theme over and over again–each time in a unique way–is certainly an exercise that builds self-esteem and enhances self-expression.”
(quote from Tension and Harmony: the Navajo Rug,
Plateau magazine of the Museum of Northern Arizona,, 1981)
see article: Weaving Life in the Dine World in Spirit of Southwest Blog