Three day weekends... They are the perfect time period for a sizable road trip, but a bit too short for an international getaway. So how can you use the time to properly escape? Hit the Route 66 and visit the out-of-this world scenery within the Navajo Nation of course! We chose this area because the landscapes are so foreign that it practically feels like being on a different planet. The scenery on this trip shows just how beautiful landscapes can get when you mix time with erosion. It is a geologist's dream and a photographer's paradise. On this trip, we managed to fit in Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, and the Petrified Forest National Park within three days. Read on to see how we did it.
Check out the behind the scenes video:
Route 66 - Day 1
To make the trip in three days from Los Angeles, we set out Friday and took Highway 40. The historic Route 66 may no longer be in existence, but Highway 40 still connects some of the towns that were on the original route. The road is scenic, and the landscapes become much more snowy as the elevation increases into the Northern Arizona territory. We stopped off in Williams, which is a gateway town to the Grand Canyon and is filled with Route 66 nostalgia. There are old gas stations, neon signs, kitschy motels, and souvenir shops selling old car figurines and other 1950's tchotchkes.
Canyon de Chelly - Day 2.
About four hours east of Flagstaff is Canyon de Chelly (pronounced canyon de Shay), a National Monument located on Navajo Nation land. The canyon features sandstone cliffs that sharply drop down into the canyon floor, in a similar landscape to the Grand Canyon although with much less tourism. The cliffs are notable because of the White House Ruins, an abandoned Indian dwelling built into the cliff-side dating back to 1350 AD. The canyon is still home to many Navajo people even today. The views from atop the cliffs are breathtaking and you can hear the echo in the cliffs. The best views of can be reached via the hiking trail which is about a two mile hike into the canyon. There are many local Navajo artisans who sell paintings that depict replicas of the petroglyphs found inside the canyon. Without the hike, the canyon can be be viewed within about a hour, leaving plenty of time for our next stop.
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