After leaving the North Rim, in the rain of course as a fitting ending to our week there, we headed toward Page, AZ where we enjoyed staying on Lone Rock Beach a couple times previously. The drive was just beautiful. It seems we always forget how scenic this area is.
This time we knew we would need to run the air conditioner so we stopped at Page- Lake Powell Campground, which actually wasn’t a bad place to spend the night. I forgot to take photos, but we got a water and electric site for $23.97, and used their very nice and cheap laundry room, fitness center, which actually had some decent equipment, and showers. It was 97 in Page that afternoon so in the early evening we took a drive to the Glen Canyon Dam and Colorado River overlook, where we took a short walk.
The following day we headed off east to check out Navajo National Monument. I’ve read about it on a couple other blogs, including our friends Don and Dorothy, who said good things about it. We have a standing joke that if they like a place, we won’t, and vice versa, but we agree with them on this one. For a free place to spend the night and learn about the Ancestral Puebloans who inhabited the canyon cliffs it’s definitely worth the 9 mile drive off Highway 160. The 30 site campground has paved sites with maybe a half dozen that we would fit in and get relatively level, but it is better suited for tent and van camping. They offer drinking water, flush toilets, and trash cans. The sign at the turn off on 160 states RV length limit is 28’ but we had no trouble getting our 30’ around the loop, and I read a review from someone with a 35’ motorhome who stayed there. The trick is to arrive early in the afternoon before people start coming in for the night. And we had a few bars of 4G with the booster.
At 7,300’ we were hoping for a little cooler weather, but it actually got into the mid 80s. We walked to the visitor center and looked at the exhibits, then took the trails to the Betatakin overlook and canyon view. The ancient peoples picked a lovely canyon to build their cliff dwellings, where they lived from 1250-1300. It is thought that drought may have contributed to their leaving, but food was left in the dwellings indicating they may have planned to return.
The ruins in the alcoves across the canyon were barely visible with the naked eye.
The park offers guided ranger hikes to the Betatakin ruins, but I couldn’t get myself moving to make the 5 mile round trip 8 AM hike. There was another more strenuous 3 mile hike at 10 but it was already so hot we decided against that, too. You can also hike down to the Keet Seel ruins for a 14 mile round trip hike. There’s a primitive campground down there so it doesn’t have to be done in one day but does require a permit and a ranger will meet you at the ruins for a tour. There must be a way to drive down.
Our day ended with a beautiful sunset. This is a good place to spend a night or two if you’re traveling between Page and the Four Corners area.