Revised Nov 2008 - please send updates to the webmaster
This peak has no business on anyone's list. You can walk up a dusty road or you can drive up that dusty road. When you get to the top it's all buildings and antenna towers (probably not that healthy). There apparently is no trail and the day we were there more than a dozen work vehicles (and a front end loader) cruised past our formerly quiet campsite. But visit some of the surrounding attractions and the trip won't be a total waste. (Betatakin, Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods, Canyon de Chelly, Gooseneck, Muley Point, and Natural Bridges are marked in the waypoint file.)
Go to Flagstaff. There is a somewhat confusing jumble of highways here,
but you'll somehow end up on US Hwy 89 heading north. Almost 70 miles
from Flagstaff, turn east on Hwy 160 (waypoint 89J160). Go 50 miles on
Hwy 160, then turn north on Hwy 98 (waypoint 98J160). Another 13 miles
later turn north on Indian Route 16 (waypoint 98JI16). Or, if you're
coming from Zion, drive 55 miles southeast from Page (waypoint PAGEAZ)
on Hwy 98, then turn north on Indian Route 16 (waypoint 98JI16).
There's not much in the way of services out here, don't plan on gas or dinner.
The DPS Guide talks about a trading post sign, but I didn't see it. Beyond that sign the road is supposed to fork and become dirt, but that's isn't accurate. Indian Route 16 is paved with nice wide shoulders and guard rails all the way to the Utah border.
About 32 miles from Hwy 98 (at waypoint 16J161) Route 16 bends north and the smaller Route 161 continues straight toward the south face of Navajo Mountain. I'm guessing this is where the old trading post used to be. Anyway, just stay on paved Indian Route 16 as it heads north to the Arizona-Utah border. As you cross that border (waypoint AZXXUT, about 36 miles from Hwy 98) a sign says 'pavement ends'... but the pavement does NOT end! South of that sign, it's big, wide, and freshly paved. North of the sign, now in Utah, it's a lower grade of pavement but still well maintained.
Where the DPS Guide says to turn on a powerline road, we didn't see
a power line! Change happens, eh? After going by a small landing strip
(waypoint NAVAIR) we did see an old tire with the single word "Mountain"
written on it (waypoint NAVMT1) where we turned left (west) onto a
dirt road. There were no other signs! The turn from pavement to dirt
(NAVMT1) is less than a mile from the border.
The dirt road is OK for passenger cars. The only problem is a little sand, just don't slow down. 2.5 miles from the pavement was a small clearing where we camped (waypoint NAV2WD) at 6.8k. All 2WD vehicles should stop here, as there is deep powder sand and steep road ahead. Our campsite was above the relay station mentioned for camping in the DPS Guide, and we didn't want to spend the night bathed in microwaves.
Soon after NAV2WD the road gets steeper and high clearance was required. There are sandy corners below 8k where you must slow down and turn sharply. All-wheel-drive (aka Subaru) might not work there, but the Toyota FJ Cruiser I was in had no trouble whatsoever. The driver roared right past a Road Closed sign (waypoint NAVMT3). That sign also says for Tower Access Call 602-969-1714 which may mean you can get permission to drive there? Proceed at your own risk. It's not clear to me whether you are even allowed to WALK up this road. There is a pull-out here for parking at the sign, and the road actually IMPROVES slightly beyond there.
A rock with "Welcome" painted on it (waypoint NAVMT4) made us feel better about continuing up the road. By this point we were in 4WD because it was steep and loose switchbacks in the trees. The road went over a shoulder and turned sharply downhill into small valley (waypoint NAVMT5). We saw no sign of the corral or trail mentioned in other writeups, but figured it might be in this area somewhere.
Once through that small valley, the road basically climbs a cliff. Waypoint NAVMT6 is at the top of the tightest set of switchbacks, where we had to back up to make more than one hairpin turn! The view from this road is extreme. The cost of missing a turn is also extreme. Hikers may want to leave the road around waypoint NAVMT7 and follow the ridgeline to above NAVMT8. The footing looked OK but it might be brushy. Please let me know if you've done this! The 4WD trailhead is about 8 miles from the pavement, at the 10388' summit (waypoint NAVAJM).