Join   Renew   Donate


Field Trip Overview

On this page we are providing you with:

  • A description of all of the field trips and workshops so that you can see all the offerings in one place. You will have to register for the trips on the separate Friday and Monday registration pages.
  • A map of the general field trip locations so you can plan your comings and goings
  • A few guides to self-guided trips you can do on your own in the area
  • A general explanation of how to register for field trips
 


Field Trip Descriptions


This page is still being revised and will continue to be revised until we send you an email that the trips have been finalized. (To be honest they will keep changing even then, but less so.)

Warning: Some trips will be at high elevation (generally noted) and lower elevation trips could be hot. Please make appropriate choices.


1. Badger Springs

Long Half day Monday

Easy (but could be HOT)

Easy hike over flat ground about 1.5 miles round trip along Badger Springs Wash. The destination is the petroglyph site at the edge of the Agua Fria River. The site isn't large but contains a good sampling of the types of designs found on Perry Mesa. It is a scenic location at the edge of the Agua Fria River Canyon.  While relatively sheltered it will still be hot.

About 85 miles/1.25 hours south of Flagstaff off I-17. All vehicles acceptable. This is a good choice for people heading on south.

Picture  Picture

2. Ancestral Puebloan Petroglyphs in the Little Colorado River Canyon near Leupp, AZ

Full day Friday and Monday

$5/person charge

Moderately Difficult

Two hundred foot descent into the Little Colorado Canyon, and hiking along the river. About two miles total hiking, with climb back out of the canyon. Driving time, about an hour fifteen minutes each way, with some soft sand.

Picture  Picture  Picture

3. Chavez Pass

Full day Friday and Monday

Difficult
 
Four hundred foot climb, and scramble on basalt boulders to see some spectacular petroglyphs, including an archaeostronomy site with archaeoastronomer Jerry Snow. Visit nearby Nuvakwewtaqa Sinauga Ruins. Driving time from NAU about 1 hour 45 minutes. If time permits, visit Meteor Crater (fee) on your own, which is on the route.

Vehicle: Any

Picture  Picture 

4. Chevelon Steps, Rock Art Ranch

Full Day Friday and Monday

Moderate
 
Spectacular Ancestral Puebloan petroglyphs in the Chevelon Canyon. This extensive site (40 galleries) is located on a private ranch near Winslow Arizona. Access requires hiking down rough steep steps into the canyon. See https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/rock-art-ranch

This trip is generously supported by Brantley Baird of Rock Art Ranch who has waived the fees for this trip. Donations for the trip will be appreciated.

Picture  Picture  Picture  Picture  

5. Dawa Canyon on the Hopi Mesas

Full day Friday and Monday

$45/person charge

Easy

Dawa Sun Canyon, a gathering place of the ancients, a sacred site with many images encompassing the whole canyon. Dawa Canyon is located on the Hopi reservation and is accessible only with a Hopi guide. ARARA members have a rare opportunity to visit this site.

Carpooling is advised-Approximate round trip distance from Flagstaff: 230 miles Fifteen miles on unpaved road.

Easy hike in an open canyon, some scrambling on cliff face.

Binooculars are suggested. No photography is the policy of the Hopi Tribe so you may not be able to take photos. 

Picture  Picture  Picture  Picture  

6. Anderson Pass, Jaws, Day Maker, and Surfer

Full day with a half day option  Friday and Monday

Difficult
 

About 4 mile generally level round trip hike to major petroglyph sites on steep basalt talus slopes.  Approximately a one-hour drive from NAU, half on graded unpaved roads. Jaws is near the road. Both other sites are about a mile but in opposite directions. Participants can choose to skip the second far site for a half-day trip. 

Picture  Picture  Picture 

7. Homolovi State Park

Full Day Friday and Monday

Easy to Moderate
 
The total walk is 1.2 miles, round trip. The petroglyphs we will visit are along the base of the cliff of the Homolovi II Ancestral Hopi Pueblo. The petroglyphs include panels of katsina iconography and late pueblo IV petroglyphs. The park is located off of I-40 Exit 257, and is 1.5 miles north of I-40 The tour of the pueblo is ADA accessible, the petroglyph portion is not. The trail is steep, has loose fill on hard clay surfaces, easy to slip on and the lower areas have many stickers and soft sand. One-hour drive from NAU, in any vehicle. There is an entrance fee for the State Park. After Homolovi II, the group will drive to the Homolovi IV area, north of Winslow, for a half-mile round trip hike to see additional petroglyph panels.

Picture  Picture  

8. Inscription Point, Navajo Reservation near Wupatki National Monument

Half Day roughly 5 hours Friday and Monday 

$5/person charge

Easy

Description:  The trip heads to an intriguing petroglyph site in the Painted Desert near Wupatki National Monument.  A majority of the 207 panels appear to date between AD 1050 and AD 1250, a period coinciding with the Puebloan occupation of Wupatki. Researchers used the site, located on the Navajo Nation, in early attempts to classify and interpret rock art.  

On the return, those wishing to visit Wupatki and Wukoki Pueblos will have a chance to do so on their own.

Hiking:  A scramble of 150 feet up a steep talus slope is needed to thoroughly inspect the profusion of glyph-covered boulders.

Mileage:  115 miles round trip, including 11 miles of graded, but washboarded, dirt road and 4.6 miles of rough two-track. The route also involves a river crossing, normally dry in June.

Vehicle: 4 Wheel Drive

This trip will be lead by Scott Thibony, which should make it a real treat. Please see:  http://www.rupestrian.com/delta-t.html and  http://www.rupestrian.com/Inscription_Point.pdf

Picture  Picture  

9. Jeffers Ranch Petroglyphs

Short Full Day Monday

Moderate
 
Near Holbrook and Petrified Forest National Park, this private ranch contains Pueblo III petroglyphs similar to those in the Park, prominently unique geometrics, anthropomorphs, and animal figures on Moenkopi sandstone. Driving time to the meeting place is about 1.5 hours, and 4WD is required.

Picture  Picture  

10. Kaibab National Forest near Tusayan

Half day Friday 11:30 AM departure for Tusayan or Full Day if you add a personal pre-trip extension to Grand Canyon National Park.

Easy

The INDIAN PAINTINGS TOUR journeys through the Kaibab National Forest to a Tusayan Rain Tank Wash site. Get away from the crowds and 4×4 down forest back-roads where your guide will lead you on a short hike up stone steps to the site. While viewing the paintings and petroglyphs up close, your guide will inform you of the ways of these ancient peoples. This site is unique because it has many etched petroglyphs superimposed over ancient pictographs. This is one of the largest rock shelters in the area.  The midden in front of the rock shelter is also indicative of the long term human use. There it is a 500 yard scramble to the rock shelter. The hike takes about 15 minutes and there is about 100 feet of ascent and descent each way. The area can be quite hot in June so bring lots of water.

This trip is generously donated by Grand Canyon Jeep Tours & Safaris. See description at https://grandcanyonjeeptours.com/tour-details/indian-paintings-tour/ Driving time approximately one hour thirty minutes from NAU. Tour time about 2 hours.  

Any vehicle will be suitable for the trip to Tusayan, from there you will transfer to vehicles provided by the guides.

Consider an early morning departure to visit the main Grand Canyon National Park South Rim viewpoints and Visitors Center and/or the outstanding Desert View Watchtower. Plan enough time to return to Tusayan to meet the field trip leader by 1PM for the tour. http://www.rupestrian.com/watchtower.html

Picture  Picture  

10b. Kaibab National Forest Dos Manos site, Desert View Watchtower, and then to Rain Tank Wash site near Tusayan (Mon)

Full Day Monday includes the Watchtower in Grand Canyon National Park as part of the tour

Easy-moderate
 
This trip will start east of the Grand Canyon National Park, to visit the Kaibab National Forest Dos Manos site, and then proceed to Desert View Watchtower in the National Park. It will then proceed to the INDIAN PAINTINGS TOUR starting in Tusayan. Get away from the crowds and 4×4 down forest back-roads where your guide will lead you on a short hike up stone steps to the site. While viewing the paintings and petroglyphs up close, your guide will inform you of the ways of these ancient peoples. This site is unique because it has many etched petroglyphs superimposed over ancient pictographs. This is one of the largest rock shelters in the area.  The midden in front of the rock shelter is also indicative of the long term human use. There it is a 500 yard scramble to the rock shelter. The hike takes about 15 minutes and there is about 100 feet of ascent and descent each way. The area can be quite hot in June so bring lots of water.

High clearance vehicles recommended (perhaps can carpool from start of gravel road). The drive from the highway is about 10 to 15 minutes on a rough Forest Service graveled road to the parking area. After visiting the shelter, return to Hwy and proceed to the Desert View Watchtower parking area.

A national park pass will be required for Grand Canyon National Park or an additional fee will be required to enter the park. Have lunch, tour the Watchtower and then proceed to Mc Donald’s parking lot in Tusayan to meet the guide John Tathman 602-526-4292 at 2:00 PM  

The Tusayan trip is generously donated by Grand Canyon Jeep Tours & Safaris. See description at https://grandcanyonjeeptours.com/tour-details/indian-paintings-tour/ Tour time about 2 hours.  Driving time one hour thirty minutes back to NAU.

11. Laws Spring, Hardy Trestle, and Keyhole Sink, Kaibab National Forest

A little more than a half day Friday and Monday

Easy to Moderate, 8 AM to 3 PM. 
 
We will begin the day meeting at the Oak Hill Snow Play area at 8 AM sharp (https://goo.gl/maps/XbXDxJBWNF42). From NAU take I-40 west to exit 178, turn right at top of ramp and then left on to Route 66. Drive about 4 miles west to the Oak Hill Snow Play dirt lot. 
 
Stop 1, Laws Spring Petroglyphs: (https://goo.gl/maps/VmNpkZz6UhR2) It is about a 30 minute drive from the Oak Hill Snow Play area to Laws Spring. The forest roads to Laws Spring require high clearance vehicles. Once at the trailhead, it is a short hike to the water hole. To see the vast majority of petroglyphs it is a scramble along the base of a rocky lava flow. The site contains hundreds of Cohonina style petroglyphs and historic inscriptions associated with travelers on the Beale Wagon Road built in 1858 to 1859. You can learn more about the Beale Wagon Road at https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/kaibab/recreation/recarea/?recid=11675
 
Stop 2, Hardy Hill Trestle Petroglyphs:  After visiting Laws Spring, we will back-track south to park at the junction of Forest Road 74 and Forest Road 703 (https://goo.gl/maps/MBkjQEoofVG2). This is about a 15 minute drive from Laws Spring.  We will take a relatively flat hike west about ¼ mile then scramble into the rocky canyon that is home to the historic Hardy Hill logging railroad trestle. It was constructed around AD 1900 and  there are also several Cohonina style petroglyph panels in this scenic canyon.  
 
Stop 3, Keyhole Sink Petroglyphs:  We will return to the Oak Hill Snow Play area (https://goo.gl/maps/XbXDxJBWNF42) and take a 1.2 mile round trip hike to the Keyhole Sink petroglyph interpretive site. Vandals defaced the petroglyphs with graffiti in 2010 and again in 2013. Since then, Kaibab archaeologists and local high school students have twice successfully removed the evidence of the graffiti. Learn more about Keyhole Sink at https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/kaibab/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=11678&actid=50

Picture  Picture  Picture 

12. Little Colorado River Tributary Canyon, Archaic/Early Basketmaker Petroglyphs; Near Winslow, AZ

Full Day Friday and Monday

DIFFICULT This trip involves a 200’ steep descent/ascent to/from the canyon bottom and two-mile roundtrip hike on a rocky difficult stream-bottom, to visit several outstanding petroglyph panels. A walking stick is a must. Driving time, almost two hours each way. High-clearance vehicle recommended. Hiking time about 5 hours.

Picture  Picture  Picture 

13. Magnetic and South Mesas; Wupatki National Monument

Full Day  Friday 

Moderate
 
A 2.5-mile loop hike visits petroglyphs and Ancestral Puebloan ruins in beautiful scenery. After the 4-hour hike, plan to visit the other ruins in Wupatki National Monument. Don’t miss the spectacular Wupatki Ruin at the visitors center. About 45-minute drive from NAU in any vehicle.

Picture  Picture  Picture

14. Petrified Forest National Park, New Addition on East Side

Full Day   Friday and Monday  Not Yet Approved

Moderate
 
A chance to visit an area not yet open to the public. A drive of about 2.5 hours, followed by about 4 hours of hiking and driving. High-clearance 4WD required.  

Picture  Picture  Picture  Picture

15. Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve; Flagstaff, AZ

Half Day Friday and Monday

Relatively Easy (but remember, at 7000’)
 
Picture Canyon, at the eastern end of Flagstaff, is the type locality for the Northern Sinagua rock art style. Although you can visit the Preserve on your own, you will see more of the petroglyph panels on the field trips. The hike is about two miles, with a short, steep, rough optional extension to see some additional panels if conditions permit. For the extension, a walking stick is a must. It is about a 15-minute drive from NAU, and the hiking time will be about 2 hours.

Picture  Picture  Picture  Picture

16. Turkey Tanks

Half day Friday and Monday

Moderate (but at 7000’)

This trip will visit three rock art sites located about 15 miles east of Flagstaff. The three sites are within a few miles of each other and likely represent the rock art of the PII-PIII periods (AD1100-1250) of the Northern Sinagua. Northern Sinagua is the designation for the prehistoric culture that inhabited the region of Flagstaff from AD 600 to AD 1400. These ancestors of the Hopi began with scattered hamlets and pithouses and eventually developed much larger and more complex social organizations.

The first site to be visited will be Turkey Tanks (AR-03-04-02-252) where there are two major panels. One is located at the tanks themselves, a semi-permanent water sources. This hike will involve a certain amount of boulder hopping and would be considered a hike of moderate difficulty. The boulders are large and slick and good footwear is suggested. Also, it must be noted that the approach to the site involves passing under a 345 kv power line for anyone with electronic implants such as a pacemaker. However the site itself is probably a half mile from this transmission line.

Major paved roads are nearby but the last stretch is un-maintained and high-clearance is suggested.

The second site on this trip is un-named. It consists of twelve panels located at the top of a volcanic ridge. The surface is about a 30° slope and viewing will be slow and careful. The hike to this site is up a slight hill and would be considered easy. 

The third stop is at the Lizard Man village (AR-03-04-02-1443). There are two or three panels located an easy walk from the parking area. Lizard Man village was excavated by a Grinnel College field school and was named for one of the rock art elements at the site.

Picture  Picture  Picture  Picture

17. Tutuveni (Willow Springs), Hopi Clan Symbols

Half day Friday and Monday with a self guided option for a full day

$5/person charge

Easy

Mostly level hiking around the extensive petroglyph site, which requires a permit to visit. See https://www.wmf.org/project/tutuveni-petroglyph-site Driving time about one hour fifteen minutes in any vehicle. After visiting this site participants could choose to visit the Historic Cameron Trading Post or Grand Canyon National Park Watchtower which would make the trip a full day.

Picture  Picture  

18. Veit Springs Pictograph Site and Museum of Northern Arizona

Full or Half Day Friday and Monday

Easy 2-mile hike (but at 8500’)
 
The half day trip only visits the Museum of Northern Arizona. The full day trip visits both the museum and the highest known pictograph site in Arizona, only 30-minute drive from campus.

The Museum of Northern Arizona has an exciting new ethnology gallery and is offering a "behind the scenes" tour of the collection facility.The Friday trip will include both. Monday will only include the ethnology gallery.

Picture  Picture  

19. Palatki Heritage Site Pictographs

Half Day Monday

There are three areas of pictographs at Palatki: the Grotto, the Bear Alcove, and the Roasting Pit. There are over one thousand images between the three areas. The Bear Alcove and Roasting Pit areas are usually not open to the public due to the lack of volunteer docents. Special arrangements have been made to have a guide for this visit.

The trail is unimproved, relatively flat with some uphill slopes and areas with steps.

Driving mileage from Flagstaff to Palatki is about 30 miles (90 minutes one way).  High clearance is not required. A portion of the road from Uptown Sedona to Palatki is a semi-improved Forest Service gravel road.

20. Williscraft Petroglyph Site; near Ash Fork, AZ

Half Day Friday and Monday

Easy
 
The petroglyphs are one of the best places to see Western Archaic and Cohonina style petroglyphs in northern Arizona. The site is located on private land owned by Karen Hanks and remarkably there is very little graffiti or vandalism. In 2006, Karen was awarded the Governor's Archaeological Advisory Commission Award as Avocation Archaeologist of the Year for allowing the public access to the site. 
 
An easy hike, less than half a mile round trip, along a basalt cliff. Driving time, about one hour each way.

Picture  Picture  Picture  Picture

21. Crack-in-Rock

Full day Friday and Monday

$30/person charge. Cancellations must be received by May 29 to receive a refund.

This is the only field trip for which ARARA will allow a wait list. Sign up for an additional Friday or Monday trip if you are wait listed on this one. If an opening becomes available you will receive an email notifying you that your registration is successful and your other field trip on that day will be canceled.

Moderate

Crack-in-Rock Mesa is located in a remote area of Wupatki National Monument, 50 miles from the NAU Campus. We will meet the NPS archaeologist or interpretive ranger at the Wupatki Visitor Center (45 minutes to 1 hour from NAU) via the Wupatki Scenic Drive/FR 545 which will take us through Wupatki and Sunset Crater national monuments. There is an additional 1.5 hour drive to the site. We will hike to Crack-in-Rock Mesa about half an hour, along a rocky, rugged two-track road. Hiking difficulty is moderate with an elevation change of about 300 feet over ¾ mile, but there is no shade of any kind, no water, and the ground is generally uneven and rocky. We will have a portable chemical toilet for solid waste, but there are no other restrooms after the visitor center. We will spend 2-3 hours at Crack-in-Rock before returning to Flagstaff.

The national monument entrance fee of $25 per vehicle is waived for participants. Participants will need to bring all water and a lunch. You will need sturdy hiking boots (no sneakers, sandals or similar) and sun protection. Trekking poles are advised.

Mileage: 120 miles, including 20 miles of graded dirt road. 3.5 to 5 hours driving depending on conditions.

Vehicle: We are limited to four vehicles total. High ground clearance required, four wheel drive provides alternate, scenic, access.

22. Verde Valley Archaeology

Full day Friday for all three stops or a half-day depending on access to Stop 3.

The first stop is a guided tour of the Archaeology Center to see some of the 50,000 artifacts from the Dyck Cliff Dwelling. The second stop is the V bar V Heritage Site, the largest petroglyph site in the Verde Valley with over 1,000 Sinagua images. The third (depending on water levels) optional stop is the Red Tank Draw petroglyphs. This site has multiple panels of petroglyphs.

The trail at the V bar V Heritage Site is a 1/3rd mile flat gravel trail. Access to the Red Tank Draw pictographs is over river cobbles that can be unstable and slippery.

Driving mileage from Flagstaff to the Archaeology Center in Camp Verde is about 60 miles (one hour). From the Archaeology Center to V bar V is about 15 miles (25 minutes), and another 3 miles (20 minutes) to Red Tank Draw. High clearance is required for Red Tank Draw.

Picture  Picture  Picture

23. Mountain Lion Mesa, Petrified Forest National Park

Full day Friday 

Moderate - No shade will be hot.

Mountain Lion Mesa, located in the Southern end of Petrified Forest National Park, contains a plethora of rock art panels with a total of 1128 elements recorded at five sites.  The rock art dates from PI and PII with some kachina masks from the PIV period which is typical of the Palavayu region (Lower Puerco River, central drainage of Little Colorado River).  Stand-out panels display anthros, zoomorphs, and geometric/abstract designs.  Hiking distance is short but most rock art is on large boulders, so much climbing/scrambling is required, as well as ascending steep slopes with marble rock surface.  Time allowing, we may take a detour to another outstanding rock art location, Martha's Butte, about 1/2 mile distant. 

Travel distance:  115 Miles, plus 2 miles on gravel road, each way.  Travel time:  ca. 2.5 hours each way.


Picture  Picture  Picture

24. Loy Canyon Site

Half day Friday and Monday

Easy but will be hot

This site includes pecked and painted imagery of Archaic, Southern Sinagua, Yavapai style rock art and historic inscriptions. It is an easy (but hot) walk on an undeveloped trail of about 1 mile into the canyon. The terrain is flat with less than 100 ft. of elevation change from the start to the end of the hike. The trip will last about 4 - 5 hours including driving time.

Travel time:  about 1.5 hours each way on combined highway and graded dirt road. High clearance vehicle required.

Picture  Picture  Picture  Picture  Picture  Picture

25. Hidden Cove Park

Half day Friday and Monday

Easy

Over 300 petroglyphs located next to a golf course. Bring binoculars. This trip could be combined with a self-guided visit to the historic La Posada Hotel and Turquoise Room Restaurant in nearby Winslow which is on your return route to Flagstaff.

Travel distance:  180 miles round trip.  Travel time:  about 1.5 hours each way.

Picture  

26. Puerco Ruin to Patio Pueblo and Painted Desert Inn

Full day Friday and Monday

Park entrance fee (or pass) required 

Easy

Any vehicle on paved roads

Petroglyphs behind Puerco Pueblo and then across the street on a trail to Patio House, the most unique Pueblo in the Petrified Forest National Park. Petroglyphs will be seen along the trail the whole way. Trip led by Dave Manley includes a visit to the famous mountain lion glyph and Hopi murals at the Historic Painted Desert Inn. Will be hot, so have a hat, lunch, and lots of water.

Picture  Picture  Picture



Field Trip Map