Arizona is a magical place – peaceful, achingly beautiful, and marinated in Native American history. The desertified southwestern state contains the majority of the Navajo Nation, which is the largest Native American reservation in the entire USA. It has the second largest Native American population of any state. In all, there are over 20 indigenous tribes represented in Arizona.
Nobody knows the nooks, crannies, wide open spaces and beguiling history of this spectacular sandstone wilderness better than the local Native American tribes. These people are the only current representatives of an ancestral line that has been living in harmony with these stark and striking lands (and the beasts and spirits that hide within) since prehistoric times.
A tour with a Native guide is the best way to get a real feel and deep understanding of this part of the world. There are lots of great tours and guides operating in Arizona; wise and knowledgeable locals that will whisk you away to secret locations, regale you with stories and legends and teach you the traditions and history of this magical region.
Explore the Dreamy Recesses of Antelope Canyon with a Navajo Tour Guide Antelope Canyon is a warren of otherworldly sandstone caves and pathways. Exploring this strange and wonderful place absolutely requires a guide – like Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours – to teach you about the magical history of the place and to keep you from getting lost (and becoming vulture food).
Take a Tour of the Hopi Tribal Heartland and Its Ancient Villages Explore the culture and traditions of the Hopi people with a local Hopi guide from Experience Hopi Tours. A full day tour takes you to several villages, including Old Oraibi, which is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the United States! On the tour, you will also see some spectacular local scenery and learn about Hopi history, agriculture and industry.
Address: P.O. Box 2260 Tuba City, AZ 86045
Visit the Beautifully Preserved 900-Year-Old Ruins at Keet Seel and Betatakin These Ancestral Puebloans are amazingly preserved and offer a fascinating insight into how the ancient natives lived almost 1,000 years ago. This site offers a totally unique view back in time to a remote and distant past.
Ramble Through Monument Valley on Horseback One of the best ways to see the striking landscape of Monument Valley is on horseback. Journey with a local guide and his trusty steeds deep into the wilderness and learn about the spirits that still roam this sacred valley.
Spend the Night in an Authentic Navajo Hogan Lodge Sleeping and eating in a Hogan Lodge is one of the best ways to get a taste of what it is like to live as a Navajo native life, deep in the desert. Spending the night in one of these comfortable homesteads is a one-off experience that you will never forget.
Address: P.O. Box 830 Kayenta, AZ 86033
Stare in Wonder at the Majestic Monument Valley Night Sky on a Starlight Safari Natives have been using the stars as a guide for all sorts of aspects of their lives for a millennium. The sky over Monument Valley is remarkably clear, and a Starlight Safari with a knowledgeable local guide is the best way to learn about the meanings and messages that can be derived from the detailed celestial patterns that are spread out above your head.
Ride Along with Passionate and Storied local, Adam Teller, in His 4X4 on a Jeep Tour of Canyon de Chelly Canyon de Chelly is a canyon system that requires a guide. Adam Teller is a local who has lived in the area his entire life and is deeply knowledgeable and in love with the area. He is a fascinating guide and great guy!
Admire Some Delightful Creativity on the Hopi Arts Trail The Hopi are a Native American tribe who create vibrant, colorful and original arts and crafts. Touring the Hopi Arts Trail is the best way to explore the unique artistic tradition of this proud and creative people.
Investigate the Educational and Interesting Exhibits at the Navajo Nation Museum On a tour of the Navajo Nation Museum you will see a wealth of interesting exhibits and artifacts that will teach you about the history of the Navajo Nation.
Get a Taste of Some More Recent Native American History at the Tohono O’odham Nation-Run Desert Diamond Casino A feature of recent Native American history has been the casinos that they operate on their reservations. The Tohono O’odham Nation-run Desert Diamond Casino is a fine example of a Native American casino and hotel with a very fun and friendly atmosphere.
So, there you have it – 10 of the best tours and experiences that will give you an authentic taste of Arizona’s Native American history. Whether you are traversing Monument Valley on horseback with a Navajo guide or winning big at the Desert Diamond Casino, don’t forget to share your Arizona Native American experiences on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and use the hashtag #BUCKiTDREAM! Then, while you’re nearby, find out why There’s a Reason Why They Call It Grand.