10 coal mine canyon Ideas

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Canyon, Navajo Indian Reservation, Arizona


Fantastic, multicolored ravine on Navajo land, containing spires, cliffs, narrow ravines and strange rock formations, viewable from overlooks along the rim. Visitation requires a Navajo permit

Nearest city with hotels:


Navajo Reservation


On the border between the Hopi and Navajo Reservations in the vast desert of northeast Arizona, Coal Mine Canyon is a long way from any famous attraction and is not signposted in any way yet has become quite well known because of the amazingly colorful formations that line the upper end of the ravine. The canyon is one of many remote, little-visited sites in the Southwest where the main interest comes from the detail of the rock – the colors, forms and textures of the eroded sandstone – rather than the large scale appeal of such grand places as Zion and Monument Valley; others include Bisti Wilderness, Coyote Buttes and Paria Rimrocks. There must be dozens more similar places as yet unpublicized, hidden away in the high desert plains of this part of Arizona – Coal Mine Canyon sits at the edge of the 120 mile wide Painted Desert, a sparsely settled region without many roads but covered by extensive areas of exposed, weathered rock.

A permit is required to visit the canyon, cost $12 (in 2020), available from the Navajo Parks & Recreation office in Cameron, or online at navajonationparks.org. This covers access points along the rim, close to the highway, and a separate charge is due for all overnight stays. Drones are not permitted. The area below the canyon rim is part of the Hopi Reservation, and exploration here is probably only possible with a Hopi guide.


The canyon is accessed from highway 264 between Tuba City and Old Oraibi – a little used road that forks south off the much busier US 160, winds across the wide valley of Moenkopi Wash then climbs to the top of a flat, featureless, grassy plateau (Coal Mine Mesa), reminiscent of the endless Llano Estacado of New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle. Mesa and canyon are named on account of the thin, low grade deposits of coal that are found scattered across the area, and are prominently visible in parts of the upper canyon. Occasional dwellings dot the landscape, at the end of sandy side tracks, but otherwise the land is unchanging, the road straight and empty.

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The Canyon

Coal Mine Canyon is first sighted about 15 miles from Tuba City, and the usual viewing area is reached by a half mile drive along a dirt track – narrow and bumpy but fine for all vehicles – that leaves highway 264 between mileposts 336 and 337. This track leads to a new-looking 2 storey residence, but the canyon rim is a little way to the right, at the end of a side track that passes an isolated windmill and water tank, ending at a parking area next to a rather forlorn picnic spot consisting of a few concrete tables & chairs surrounded by bare red earth within a fenced enclosure. The place has quite a lot of litter, but the views to the north are the reason why people visit, as ahead the flat land falls away abruptly and steeply, down several hundred feet to the floor of quite a narrow canyon 4 miles long, the sides of which are composed of an unbelievable array of intricately eroded spires, hoodoos, gullies, fins and cliffs, of every color imaginable. The rocks around the rim are soft and crumbly (various thin layers of the Dakota sandstone group), lying on top of thicker bands of the Entrada Formation, with red, white, black and gray the main colors. The top strata have wildly contrasting tints in quick succession – red then white then orange then black, over a vertical distance of just a few feet. The bright red layers are the result of coloration of shale due to partial burning of the underlying coal. The erosional forms are generally similar to many other Southwest parks (such as Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks, Cathedral Gorge and Red Rock Canyon), but none of these can match the variety of both color and form on show at Coal Mine Canyon.


Although there is no obvious path into the canyon, faint trails lead east and west along the rim, and towards some of the ridges that project outwards; there are two main promontories, each gradually narrowing and ending at isolated pinnacles with vertical drop-offs all around. Footprints show wherever a visitor has strayed from the paths, as the soils are delicate and easily disturbed, though the amount of land that can be walked upon is relatively limited as the slopes fall away steeply in most directions. The formations appear similar for a mile or so along each side of the ravine, with the south rim having the best features. Trails along the canyon floor can be seen from the rim but a route down is not evident; there is however a faint path descending the steep slopes starting a little way east of the picnic area. In the distance to the north are smooth, pastel-colored badlands at the mouth of the canyon, representing a much more advanced cycle of erosion of the same shales and sandstones. This rolling landscape extends a long way, past the ends of various other tributaries of the gorge and of nearby Ha Ho No Geh Canyon and Blue Canyon, all of which have similar formations and are even less visited.

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Coal Mine Canyon is certainly a remote-feeling place; windswept, lonely, with evocative debris like the shell of a 1950s car at the head of one ravine, and several long-abandoned buildings on the rim. Similar eroded scenery is found in various places in this part of the Navajo Reservation, such as around Moenkopi Wash and along Ward Terrace, including some that the locals apparently do not want publicized. As well as being excellent for hiking and photography, Coal Mine Canyon would make a very atmospheric place to camp.

Coal Mine Canyon – Photography

Similar places

Bisti Wilderness – hoodoos and eroded hills in the desert of northwest New Mexico

Coyote Buttes, Arizona – swirling eroded sandstone, including ‘The Wave’

Paria Rimrocks, Utah – balanced rocks and other formations near the Paria River

Extra Information About coal mine canyon That You May Find Interested

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Coal Mine Canyon, Navajo Indian Reservation, Arizona

Coal Mine Canyon, Navajo Indian Reservation, Arizona

  • Author: americansouthwest.net

  • Rating: 4⭐ (691042 rating)

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  • Sumary: Coal Mine Canyon is a remote ravine near Tuba City at the edge of the Painted Desert in the Navajo Indian Reservation of north Arizona, featuring colorful, eroded hoodoos and other unusual rock formations

  • Matching Result: Coal Mine Canyon … Discover this 1.4-mile out-and-back trail near Leupp, Arizona. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 48 …

  • Intro: Coal Mine Canyon, Navajo Indian Reservation, Arizona Highlights: Fantastic, multicolored ravine on Navajo land, containing spires, cliffs, narrow ravines and strange rock formations, viewable from overlooks along the rim. Visitation requires a Navajo permit Nearest city with hotels: Management: Navajo Reservation On the border between the Hopi and Navajo Reservations…
  • Source: https://www.americansouthwest.net/arizona/coal-mine-canyon/index.html

Frequently Asked Questions About coal mine canyon

If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic coal mine canyon, then this section may help you solve it.

Coal Mine Canyon is where?

Be aware that both the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe have different rules and regulations regarding Coalmine Canyon, which is located on the border between them. The Navajo Nation occupies the western portion of the canyon, while the Hopi Tribe occupies the eastern portion.

In Arizona, where is the coal mined?

Coal Mine Canyon is located in Arizona’s Navajo Nation.

Is Tuba City a Native American reservation?

The largest community on the Navajo Indian Reservation is located in Tuba City, which is in Coconino County, Arizona, northeast of the Hopi town of Moenkopi. Tuba City is on the western edge of the Navajo Nation.

What connection exists between the Navajo and Hopi Black Mesa reservations and the Peabody Coal Company?

b>Congress signed a relocation act in 1974, which would allow one company, Peabody Coal, to mine this area uninhibited/b>. The reservation lands of Black Mesa were then to be used as strip mining sites for private U.S. mining companies. Mining started on the Navajo and Hopi land and started to increase greatly by the 1970s.

Which Utah coal mine is the biggest?

Production of Coal in Utah The Kaiparowits Plateau coalfield contains Utah’s largest coal deposit.

Why has Marble Canyon been shut down?

For more information, please visit https://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/conditions.htm. Death Valley National Park charges a fee to enter. SHORT TERM CLOSURE: All park roads leading to this area are temporarily closed due to flooding in the park, making this area inaccessible.

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The largest coal mine in the US is located where?

The Bailey Mine, operated by Consol Energy Inc. in Pennsylvania, produced roughly 10.7 million tons of coal and is expected to produce 14.29 million metric tons per year (mmtpa) of run-of-mine (ROM) in 2021, making it the largest underground coal-producing mine in the North America region.

Which American Indian reservation is the poorest?

The situation is even worse on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where “97% of the population lives far below the U.S. federal poverty line.” The median income there ranges between,600 and,500 per year.

Which Native American reservation is the poorest?

Many assessments, drawing from sources other than U.S. Census data and government tabulations place the actual poverty rate in excess of 80% of the reservation’s population. Two of the five “poorest communities in America” are located on the Pine Ridge Reservation: Allen (#1)

What causes the poverty on Native American reservations?

The fact that nearly all tribal land is administered by the federal government creates a significant barrier to economic growth because nearly everything that occurs on Native American lands must pass through a laborious bureaucratic process.

A Native American is what?

Playing Indian may be in vogue now, but 125 years ago it was in vogue when people paid each for forged papers declaring them Native on the Dawes Rolls, these so-called five dollar Indians paid government agents under the table to reap the benefits of having Indian blood.

Is residing on an Indian reservation free?

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has also funded some Native housing and home repairs. Although the BIA has assisted Native American families with housing, these homes are not free. Native families on the reservations frequently make housing payments to the BIA.

A non-Native American can join a tribe, right?

Every tribe has its own membership criteria; some go on blood quantum, others on descent, but whatever the criteria for “percentage Indian” it is the tribe’s enrollment office that has final say on whether a person may be a member. Anyone can claim Indian heritage, but only the tribe can grant official membership.

A non-Indian person may reside on a reservation.

A statute that forbids any non-native from settling on lands granted to an Indian tribe?is one of the special protections designated by federal law for lands designated as “Indian reservations.”

How much money do Native Americans receive each month?

The fact remains that Native Americans do not automatically receive monthly or quarterly checks from the US government; they may one day, but for now, it is just a myth.

How much Native American blood is required to be a member?

In order to identify someone as Native American, the Bureau of Indian Affairs uses a blood quantum definition (generally one-fourth Native American blood) and/or tribal membership.

How much money does the government give a Native American?

If you’ve ever wondered how much money the federal government gives to American Indian tribes and communities each year, a document from the Department of the Interior shows that it amounts to roughly 0 billion a year, give or take a few hundred million dollars.

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