Defiance Plateau Trail

Window Rock, Arizona

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Most people who enter the Navajo Nation from the south travel via Indian Road 12, from I-40 to Window Rock. However, a little-known dirt road parallels this paved route to the west, traveling through open forest on Defiance Plateau. The trail is used as a main access to the settlement of Pine Springs and by many Navajo who live on the plateau. Consequently, the route stays open year-round but may be snowcovered in winter and impassable after summer monsoons. In dry weather, it is suitable for high-clearance 2WDs. Special Attractions: Oak Ridge Fire Lookout Tower; Long trail through open forest along Defiance Plateau; Alternative route to Window Rock from the south. High-clearance vehicles are preferred, but not necessary. This trail is dirt roads, but may have rocks, grades, water crossings, or ruts that make clearance a concern in a normal passenger vehicle. The trail is fairly wide, so that passing is possible at almost any point along the trail. Mud is not a concern under normal weather conditions.
Backcountry Adventures: Arizona

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Backcountry Adventures: Arizona

by Peter Massey & Jeanne Wilson (Adler Publishing )

Most people who enter the Navajo Nation from the south travel via Indian Road 12, from I-40 to Window Rock. However, a little-known dirt road parallels this paved route to the west, traveling through open forest on Defiance Plateau. The trail is used as a main access to the settlement of Pine Springs and by many Navajo who live on the plateau. Consequently, the route stays open year-round but may be snowcovered in winter and impassable after summer monsoons. In dry weather, it is suitable for high-clearance 2WDs.

Special Attractions: Oak Ridge Fire Lookout Tower; Long trail through open forest along Defiance Plateau; Alternative route to Window Rock from the south. High-clearance vehicles are preferred, but not necessary. This trail is dirt roads, but may have rocks, grades, water crossings, or ruts that make clearance a concern in a normal passenger vehicle. The trail is fairly wide, so that passing is possible at almost any point along the trail. Mud is not a concern under normal weather conditions.

© 2006 Peter Massey & Jeanne Wilson/Adler Publishing . All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Off-Highway Drives
Nearby City: Window Rock
Distance: 32.3
Trail Type: Shuttle
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: 1.5 hours
Season: Year-round, best dry weather
Trailhead Elevation: 6,100 feet
Top Elevation: 7,800 feet
Local Contacts: Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation
Local Maps: USGS Burntwater Wash, Pine Springs, Antelope Lake, Joe Woody Well, West of Window Rock, Sanders, Ganado; BLM Sanders, Ganado; and others
Driving Directions: Directions to Defiance Plateau Trail

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May 2018