Rising with the sun, we break camp before hiking down Canyon Del Muerto. In this part of Canyon De Chelly wild turkey, black bear, and skunks outnumber the domestic animals that live here. After crossing the Canyon Del Muerto wash, or "arroyo" as it’s called in this part of the country, we enter a stand of bright green cottonwood trees and soak up the shade before our climb out. Like the Ancestral Puebloans, Hopi, and Navajo before us, we ascend the Bare Rock Trail toward the canyon rim. Using the Moqui steps, which were carved directly into the rock by ancient canyon inhabitants, we follow an improbable looking path upwards to the rim, enjoying spectacular views along the way. Topping out onto the pinyon pine and juniper-dominated plateau, we navigate a few shallow washes before reaching our waiting shuttle vehicle. We plan to arrive back in Phoenix between 6:30-7:30 p.m. this evening. All meals included.
Hiking: 4 miles, Elevation gain: 600'. This hike requires walking up low-angle sandstone cliff faces and may be challenging for some individuals with knee or hip mobility issues. Transfer time: 6.0 hours total with multiple stops en route.