Round Trip Distance: 0.8 miles
Elevation: 7260 - 7277 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Visitor Center
Attractions: Scenic view, historic Ranger Station
The Canyon View trail is located in the Navajo National Monument near Kayenta, Arizona. The trail begins behind the Visitor Center. With very little elevation change the trail travels from the Visitor Center on a line above Betatakin Canyon to a former cook shack that was built in 1939 and later converted into a contact station for the monument.
The trailhead can be found directly behind the Visitor Center at the same point the Sandal trail begins. From there the two trails split and go in opposite directions.
The trail itself is an easy to follow sandy path.
A trail marker indicates that this route can be followed to reach the Canyon View Campground. It is also possible to get to the Keet Seel trailhead which is at the base of the hill before going up to the campground.
It is only a short distance down the trail before the canyon views begin. Betatakin is the short canyon directly below the trail where the famous cliff dwelling is found. At the mouth of Betatakin is the much longer Tsegi Canyon. Most of Tsegi Canyon is actually just outside of the monuments boundaries where all the land is part of the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation.
Hikers can relax on a bench and enjoy the serenity while pondering life of the Anasazi who once called the canyon home.
At the 'Historical Contact Station' the trail makes a loop around the former cook shack. Interpretive signs teach visitors about the historic cabins past.
The views of the canyon are a little different on the return trip. One side of the canyon is smooth sandstone with numerous alcoves while the other side is more rugged looking. The rugged side of the canyon would have been the view for those living in the Betatakin cliff dwelling.
Back at the Visitor Center there is a nice static display where besides a few dinosaur prints there is also a small sweat lodge and miniature forked-stick hogan.
Besides being a nice utility trail between the Canyon View Campground and the Visitor Center the Canyon View trail is a good something to do for the monuments visitors. There is a small museum inside the Visitor Center that has some of the best pottery on display that can be found anywhere. At the time we were there an elderly Navajo woman was working away on her loom making a rug. A gift shop attached to the Visitor Center offers authentic Navajo jewelry and a few other trinkets for sale. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.