www.alantowerphoto.com Spokane Photographer Alan Tower

This Blue Canyon view shows some of the decorative cliffs and the rocks that appear painted.

www.alantowerphoto.com Spokane Photographer Alan Tower

Here the moon is setting beside a finger shaped rock in Blue Canyon.

Blue Canyon Arizona is located on the Hopi Reservation.   It is a very special and little visited place of great beauty.  Unlike the Navajo Nation, the Hopis have very little in the way of plans or services for this restricted area.  The Navajos have a very organized and developed site at both Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon, but Blue Canyon is a hit or miss endeavor for the adventuresome at heart.  You must hire a Hopi guide to be given access.  My guide’s truck broke down and she was an hour late; luckily, I drive a 4WD high clearance vehicle, so we were still able to make the trip.  We hired her for a full day, and noted she failed to bring even her own food or water.  “Guide?”  You get to pay $200/person for this pleasant but not really necessary person to sit in the car for the day while you hike and take pictures.  If you call the Hopi Cultural Center on Second Mesa, they will help you locate a guide and you can hope for the best on that.

The guide fiasco is the only bad thing about Blue Canyon.  No one will be there…it is still basically undiscovered by international travelers.  It is a large, flat area surrounded by rock features.  To get access you must cross a stream and drive into some areas that can become quite muddy.  Rain can get in the way of this trip.  But once inside, the area is very accessible.  The guide will tell you that it is not permitted to climb on the rocks and they ask you to stay off as much of the fragile desert soil as possible.  There are many paths made where water has streamed through, and that soil is not biological so you can get around just fine.  If you are even halfway serious about photography you will want a full day (8 hour) experience here.  You just meander around the canyon and discover a new feature every few yards.

Blue Canyon Arizona definitely outdoes Utah’s famed Goblin Valley and Little Egypt.  The hoodoos are similar, but much more colorful and quite numerous.  The Hopis refer to the goblin structures as mudmen.

Not only are there goblins, there are very decorated rocks.  The colors on these rocks and patterns of decorations are most uncommon.  For example, see the cross hatch checkerboard at right.

www.alantowerphoto.com Blue Canyon image by Spokane Photographer Alan Tower

There are many decorations on the rocks, including this distinctive cross hatch pattern.

I’m only posting a few photos in this blog, so you will find plenty of surprises and new finds.  That’s the pleasure of going to a spot that’s unknown to most people…it is new even for a seasoned outdoor photographer.  You’ll find formations a bit like those in Coyote Buttes…check out the striped teepee rock.

www.alantowerphoto.com Spokane Photographer Alan Tower. Photo from the Hopi Blue Canyon.

This striped teepee hoodoo is like many in Coyote Buttes. Blue Canyon has many spectacular features.

So it’s a bit of a challenge arranging the guide and not 100% reliable, but if you get to go to Blue Canyon, it will be in your top 5 of all time in the Southwest.  If you see this but miss the Wave thanks to the lottery issues, you won’t be giving anything up.  Blue Canyon is an experience on par with any of the famed venues and worth the effort to make the trip.