Diné (Navajo) Nation, Arizona – September 2022 – Amazing Landscapes

The drive from Cameroon, Arizona to Mexican Hat, Utah goes through Diné (Navajo) Nation for about 100 miles, with 20 miles of it being in Monument Valley. The landscape along the way is amazing.

On an earlier trip this year we went through the Navajo Park in Monument Valley which can be found here.


As you start the trip north of Camaroon you go through some of the Painted Desert.

Just beyond Tuba City is Elephants Feet Rocks.

Once you are north of Kayenta, Arizona you begin the trip through Monument Valley. The drive along the road is impressive enough.

Eventually you arrive at the town of Mexican Hat, Utah. This small town has 3 motels, 2 restaurants and a gas station, but amazing views. Note the balanced rock in the center of the photo – giving the town it’s name (more on this in the next posting)

Diné (Navajo) Nation, Arizona – September 2022 – Moenave Dinosaur Tracks

This is Dale. If you arrive in the windswept, Martian looking landscape of northern Arizona at the Moenave Dinosaur Tracks site Dale is most likely to greet you as you drive in.

If you have ever seen a movie that says ‘based on a true story’, and thoroughly enjoyed it even though you know parts were embellished a bit you will love taking a tour of the dinosaur tracks with Dale.

There is no set fee, he just says ‘follow me’, and takes off through the desert chattering away with lots of details about the tracks. (for what it is worth they are indeed real dinosaur tracks, and believed by many to be some of the most important in the country).

As soon as you go down the small hill you see them everywhere.

We continued chasing after Dale trying to keep up and hear what he was saying, Some seemed a bit far fetched, but much is accurate. Is this a fossil that is being exposed?

Dale explains to us that in their culture they won’t dig up, or try and preserve anything so eventually it will all wear away.

For the scientific facts (thanks to the internet) – This is known as the Moenave Formation. It is a layer that sits on the Triassic Chinle Formation, part of Mesozoic rocks. There are dinosaur footprints all over the place here, as well as other nearby locales.

After chasing Dale for about 15-20 minutes we headed back.

We arrived back at the parking lot with a row of small stands. Dale informs us that no payment is necessary but reading before we arrived it is obvious that such a colorful story and tour is worthy of payment.

Afterward we checked out some of the stands. Overall a great way to spend 45 minutes in the Northern Arizona desert.

Gray Mountain, Arizona – September 2022 – Painted Desert Project

Dr Chip Thomas is a native of North Carolina who went to Diné (Navajo) Nation decades ago as a fulfillment of a National Health Services Corps scholarship he had received. He arrived in this area in 1987.

Decades later he began to paint large scale murals on abandoned buildings throughout the area. Early on he painted what he believed to be an abandoned roadside stand, only to find it was still used and the new art attracted more business. These stands are crucial to the economic survival of the community.

The mural in Gray Mountain is on an old motel that had been owned by a group known as the Whiting Brothers, who had a chain of motels all along route 66 and elsewhere in the west.

The art is a tribute to the Diné Nation and their struggles and heritage, and was completed by Dr Thomas as well as Diné artists.