Navajo County High Point Trip Report

Black Mesa

Date: May 23, 1998
Author: David Olson

Black Mesa is located on the Navajo Reservation (how appropriate), therefore legally you need permission from the Navajo Nation to camp and hike on top of the mesa. As of May 1998 contact Karen Yazze/ Cameron Visitor Center/P.O.Box 459/Cameron AZ 86020, telephone # (520)-679-2303, FAX 679-2330. Prices are reasonable. Payment is expected by money order. Personal check is not acceptable.

We tried the Brother Tom route and found the "tear" in the fence mended and the gate locked. So we back-tracked and used the Fir Spring route.

The Road Log is (my odometer miles approx. = 1.052 statute miles):

0.0 Junction of US160 and Indian Route 4, where conveyor belt goes up to Mesa top.
1.8 Reach top of Mesa.
2.6 Leave Paved Road on major dirt road to left. Sign says "B Transfer".
2.7 Cross conveyor belt.
3.0 Major dirt private road to left, go right.
3.6 Top of big hill.
5.4 Bottom of big hill, T junction, turn left.
6.5 Major road to left, go right.
7.3 Gate across road, several locks, not in use. House up hill past gate on left.
7.9 Bottom of steep grade, big tank to north (reservoir for cattle).
8.3 Top of steep grade, head east.
11.2 Cross fence-line, gate was open.
12.4 Cross fence-line, no gate.
12.6 Y junction, major road to north, continue east.
13.0 Dry cattle tank, road passes to north.
13.3 Cattle guard. Major road heads south, continue east.
14.3 Barbed wire gate in fence south of road. Signed "Fir Spring".
Parking/camping area 0.2 miles south. If you desire better quality camping
that can be found at Navajo National Monument north of US160.
14.3 Fork in roads. Major road (left) runs north to radio towers on Lolomai Pt.
Smaller road (right) continues east 0.1 miles to locked gate.
The text we received implied that we should start hiking on the smaller road.
14.8 On major road to Lolomai Pt. - a gate on right onto smaller road. Turn right.
15.8 On smaller road - we decided to park at a churned up section of the road.

It is about five to six miles of hiking from where we parked to the HP of Navajo county AZ. The route divides into four parts.

1st. From where we parked you can follow the road, as it becomes dimmer and less used, for about one mile. The road crosses an inconsequential canyon head. The road ends at a major canyon head about 0.5 miles directly west of "Tees Spa Spring."

2nd. The canyon has two cliff bands. Drop down through the upper cliff band several hundred feet south of the north rim. Then work your way north around the head of the lower cliff band. Climb southeast up out of the canyon. In a short distance you should be able to find a new road.

3rd. This new road, also rather dim and unused, heads southeast. Over about one mile it crosses three less significant canyon heads, then joins the presumed "Brother Tom" road. Mark this junction. Head north and then east on the "Brother Tom" road for 1.5 miles to a junction south of BM Kayenta, turn left, north, and go 0.5 miles to the north-rim end-of-road and a camp-site. We back-tracked a few hundred feet and found a traveled route eastward between the edge of the forest and a raised line of rubbish for about 0.2 miles.

4th. Bushwhack eastward for about 0.6 miles through the 15' tall Pinyon/Cedar forest and across one more canyon head. As you get close to the HP area stay close to the rim. You will find a rocky area with a distinctive raised piece, like a still-attached boulder, about two-to-three feet high, five feet across and 15 feet long, with the long axis parallel to the north rim. There is a pine or cedar growing next to it on its south side. Follow the highest ground not more than 100 paces to the south-south-east and you may find Andy Martin's waist-high cairn hiding on the east side of a tree trunk.