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Thoughts on Betakin in the Navajo National Monument?

Framingham...
Level Contributor
185 posts
366 reviews
Thoughts on Betakin in the Navajo National Monument?

Went to Mesa Verde years ago and loved it. Wanted to go back with my 9 year old. Planning to fly into Phoenix and include Sedona, South Rim, and Monument Valley on the way to Mesa Verde. Roundtrip this is approx 1000 miles in one week. That might be pushing it for a 9 year old. So toying with the idea of foregoing Mesa Verde. This would eliminate a few hours and a few hundred miles from the trip.

But I noticed that Navajo National Monument is not far off the road as we head to Monument Valley. There is a Betakin overlook that would provide at least a feel for the Cliff Dwellings. Otherwise, the NPS site says the hike to Betakin is 3 - 5 hours and moderately strenuous. We'll be there late June and that temp and/or hike length might be pushing it for my 9 year old.

Thoughts from anyone who's familiar with the area?

Thanks.

WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
Level Contributor
11,454 posts
178 reviews
1. Re: Thoughts on Betakin in the Navajo National Monument?

I haven't been to Navajo Natl Monument so can't comment on that, But I have taken kids to both the Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde. I know the Grand Canyon is considered a must-see, but in my experience, Mesa Verde is more interesting and educational for children, and 9 is a good age. I would skip Grand Canyon if I had to, but I wouldn't miss Mesa Verde. Just my opinion, and I'm sure there are many who would disagree.

I'd fly in to Albuquerque and drive to Mesa Verde. You could even include Arches/Canyonlands Natl Park for less than 800 miles in your driving "budget." Or find plenty to do and see around Albuquerque and Durango/Mesa Verde area to easily fill a week.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
Level Contributor
22,236 posts
58 reviews
2. Re: Thoughts on Betakin in the Navajo National Monument?

Been to most of the major preshistoric sites in the 4 Corners area and although Betatakin is one of my favorites, you can't really get the feel for cliff dwelling from an overlook, you must get into them.

As mentioned above, fly into Albuquerque, then drive up to Mesa Verde NP, only about 4 hours or so. Southwest flies from Logan to Abq. Spend a day or 2 in Abq, see Petroglyph Nat Mon then to Mesa Verde for at least 2 days. Maybe then drive to Grand Canyon and fly out of Phoenix.

Day 1 Arrive Abq. Stay in Old Town. Some fun museums for kids including my all time favorite, The Rattlesnake Museum!!

Day 2 Visit in Abq. Maybe out to Acoma Pueblo Sky City to see an inhabited pueblo. Maybe the tram.

Day 3 Drive to Mesa Verde. Stop in Aztec to see Aztec Ruins Nat Mon. Try to stay inside Mesa Verde at Farview Lodge, or in Durango, Cortez or Mancos

Day 4 All day in Mesa Verde

Day 5 All day in Mesa Verde

Day 6 Drive to 4 Corners Monument. Not a lot to see, but fun to stand in 4 states for a 9 year old. On to Monument Valley.

Day 7 To Grand Canyon, stopping to see Betatakin

Day 8 GC

Day 9 To Phoenix to fly home.

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
3. Re: Thoughts on Betakin in the Navajo National Monument?

Coming from Phx you could go to Sedona and GC first followed by Monument Valley. We also only have seen Betatakin Ruins for far away and didn't take the hike. On your way back to Phoenix you can go to Canyon de Chelly first. CdC only is a 2 hours drive from Monument Valley www.crossingworlds.com/ancient/dechelly.html

From CdC get back to Phoenix via 191 and stop at Hubbell Trading Post. Even Petrified Forest NP is on your way back to Phoenix. Maybe your 9 y/o would like to stay in a Wigwam the day before you drive to Phx. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/10294

On your way from Phoenix to Sedona there also is Montezumas Castle NM

http://www.nps.gov/moca/index.htm

Tet

WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
Level Contributor
11,454 posts
178 reviews
4. Re: Thoughts on Betakin in the Navajo National Monument?

I like Casa Azul's itinerary. About 800 miles and 16 hours of driving. Did you have a week of travel plus your arrival and departure days? If not, and you have just 7 days total,to shorten it to a week if you must...

Day 1. Try to get an early flight. Spend the day in Albuquerque.

Day 2. Morning Abq, and drive to Durango. Ride the Alpine Slide at Durango Mountain Resort or hike, take a bike ride, etc. If you plan on getting an early start from Abq, you could do something in Durango, then drive on to Mesa Verde later in the afternoon to get checked in at Far View Lodge & get oriented for what you want to do the next day.

Day 3. Mesa Verde at least till noon. Drive to Monument Valley.

Day 4. Monument Valley to Grand Canyon

Day 5. Grand Canyon

Day 6. Grand Canyon to spend the day in Sedona. If you have a late enough departure on day 7 that you can get to the airport comfortably in the morning, spend the night in Sedona.

Day 7. Departure

5. Re: Thoughts on Betakin in the Navajo National Monument?

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