Adventure vacations in Arizona



An excellent choice for a horseback riding vacation in Arizona is the Navajoland trip which traverses the most spectacular and interesting parts of the vast Navajo Indian Reservation. Deep in the heart of the Southwest Desert, the ancient Anasazi people built a highly developed civilization a thousand years ago. They inhabited easily defended, precarious stone dwellings high in the sandstone cliffs, and later the Navajo Indians also carved out their settlements in the beautiful and isolated landscape. This horseback riding tour in Arizona crosses three distinct portions of the Navajo Indian Reservation. It begins in Canyon de Chelly, whose impossibly high cliffs are dotted with Anasazi and Navajo ruins. You then ride two days among the famed mesas, buttes and natural arches of Monument Valley before moving on to spend the final days in the rarely visited foothills of Navajo Mountain. From this camp one can see hundreds of miles across a labyrinth of sandstone canyons draining into the Colorado River.

This is a riding trip for people who do not mind helping out with camp chores, and who are willing to forego creature comforts to become immersed in the unique culture and dramatic landscape of Navajoland. Check out some of the other Equitours horseback riding vacations in Arizona here.

This is a vehicle-supported camping trip. Spring bar canvas tents are utilized which comfortably fit two people and their gear. Mattresses and cots are provided to sleep on and you can either bring your own sleeping bag or rent one from the outfitter for $35 for the week. A portable toilet is provided at the campsites. Warm water is available for washing hands and face in the morning and evening.

An assortment of home-cooked meals will be provided while on the trail. The cuisine is hearty and variable, prepared in an outdoor kitchen and over an open fire. Lunch is carried in individual saddlebags and consists of sandwiches and snacks.

  • Overview:
    The horses on this ride are chosen for their stamina and surefootedness in rough terrain. Although predominantly Quarter Horses, other breeds and crosses will be among the outfitter's remuda. Western-style tack is utilized. Riders are welcome to bring their own saddles. Clients are expected to groom, tack and untack their own horses.
  • Horse Breeds:
    local ranch bred
  • Trip Pace:
    moderate to fast
  • Tack:
  • Weight limit:
    210 lbs

This is not a recommended option for non-riders.

St. George, Utah

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Meet in the lobby of the hotel in St George, Utah at 9am. Riders, horses, and gear will be transferred to Canyon de Chelly. The drive is about 6 hours, and there will be a stop for lunch in Kayenta (lunch is an out of pocket expense today). Spend the first night camped at Navajo Camp on the south rim of the canyon. Drive to Spider rock overlook to view the canyon from the rim.

Day 2

After breakfast, saddle up and ride down the Bat Trail into Canyon de Chelly. The trail down is rough and the going is slow, but once in the canyon the trail is smooth and offers wonderful opportunities for trots and canters. Riders will see Spider Rock, many Anasazi ruins and petroglyphs, and Navajo hogans. Camp near the junction of Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto.

Day 3

Continue up Canyon del Muerto, viewing Anasazi ruins and Navajo farms along the route. The “Canyon of the Dead” was named after a massacre of Navajos at the hands of Spanish horsemen in 1804. Follow a switchback trail up and out of Canyon del Muerto. The horses and riders will be transferred across a stretch of the Navajo Reservation to a campsite among the buttes of Monument Valley.

Day 4

Ride through the buttes and mesas of Little Monument Valley back to camp in the valley. The sunsets and sunrises in this colorful country are spectacular. There will be an opportunity to visit the visitor’s center and the rows of stalls selling Navajo Indian jewelry. Enjoy a hot shower at the campground if you like.

Day 5

Ride past the popular Totem pole and through deep sand dunes to the true backcountry of the area. Today’s ride is through big open country leading to a maze of canyons. Stop for lunch at some rarely visited ancient ruins. Take advantage of the opportunities for long canters across valleys and through drainages.

Day 6

Take one last ride in the valley stopping at some of the most popular viewpoints that are seen in the many movies that are and were filmed here. Around noon load the horses and van and transfer to Navajo Mountain. This graceful Hogan-shaped mountain lies just north of the Arizona/Utah state line and is sacred to the Navajo. This is very rough terrain, which is why the Navajo people living here were able to escape capture during the Kit Carson era. They are hogans still standing which were built during this period. Set up camp on the northeast side of Navajo Mountain.

Day 7

Ride from camp into Navajo Mountain back country. This area is a maze of canyons draining toward the Colorado River. From several vantage points once can see north for hundreds of miles across the vast Colorado River Plateau into Utah and Colorado. Have a scenic lunch looking down on Lake Powell. Return to Navajo Mountain camp for a farewell dinner an final night in this peaceful landscape.

Day 8

From the campsite, ride a half day down to a wonderful hidden arch named Hawkeye arch and enjoy this last ride on the horses in one of the most remote parts of the reservation. Return back to camp and plan on arriving back in St George, Utah by 7pm.

Itinerary Addendum


Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

Additional Pricing Information:
Ride price is set, guaranteed and final at the time deposit is paid.

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Preferred Trip Dates

May 21, 2024
January 1, 1970
January 1, 1970

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Linda and I just experienced the most wonderful pack trip ever. We will always remember the scenery but our guides, Mel and Justin are the main topic when we discuss our Arizona trip. Our expectations were far surpassed. These two genuine cowboys when above and beyond to see to our enjoyment and... Read more  

Sam Sargent 2015