Blue Canyon

Blue Canyon is a scenic area of red and white colored rocks lying in Moenkopi Wash in the Hopi Nation. Michael Fatali popularized the area with his photo "Happily Ever After". Blue Canyon can legally only be visisted with a Hopi guide. The best contact information for a guided tour is Micah Loma'omvaya 1 800-774-0830, or visit www.hopitours.com. http://www.experiencehopi.com/faq.html has some additional information about hiking in the Hopi Nation. Even if you go with a guide you should have driving directions to Blue Canyon as some guides may not be familiar with Blue Canyon. A permit may also be required to visit Blue Canyon, you guide may be able to provide one, or contact the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office (CPO) in Kykotsmovi, AZ at (928) 734-3619 .

Please observe all Hopi regulations concerning driving, hiking, and photographing on Hopi land.

Directions

From Page drive south on Highway 89 until you reach the intersection with route 160 (road to Tuba City). Drive 32.6 miles on Route 160 till you reach a small group of buildings (The Red Lake Trading Post) on the right (GPS location 36.321892 N,110.939904 E). Turn right and pass the buildings on their right side. Follow Indian Routes 21 and 7 for 14.6 miles to reach Blue Canyon. There is a myriad of good dirt roads in the area so I suggest you follow the map below carefully, I had many false starts on my first trip in. You will need a 4WD vehicle to drive on these roads. The USGS 24K topo map Begashibito Canyon contains Blue Canyon.

Photography

Both sunrise and sunset work well in Blue Canyon with sunset better. The first formation you see when driving in is well lit as sunset. Blue Canyon is a superb location for photographing the full moon. Michael Fatali has an excellent photo called Happily Ever After with the full Moon rising over the first formation in Blue Canyon. This formation faces east and makes a good full moon location at sunset. The top of the rock formation on the left no longer exists. I have a similar B&W photo in my gallery, this photo is a composite.

If you want to get a full moon photo you should be in Blue Canyon one day prior to the full moon and should shoot 30-60 minutes before sunset. You may also be able to get a good image during the "Blue Hour" as well. Expose for the foreground but bracket/HDR to make sure the moon is not overexposed. Check the histogram in your LCD after shooting and zoom in on the moon to make sure it is in focus and not overexposed. The moon is best shot at focal lengths of 200mm or more (the longer the better) so you may need to stand back from the rock formation to get the required focal length. Shoot at f/16 or f/22 to get the full image in focus. The moon will move during the exposure so keep your shutter speed as fast as possible (boost the ISO if needed).

I suggest you use The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE) to check the moon's exact position. This application provides detailed information with the position of the sun and moon as viewed from a particular location on a on a given date and time. TPE also provides shadow length, and whether or not a subject will be in shade at a given time. Click on the next icon to open The Photographer's Ephemeris centered on Blue Canyon: TPE Icon. TPE will give you a good idea of whether a rock formation will be in shadow at sunset, and how long it might take for the moon to rise over the formation and get in the frame.

Caution

Mountain lions have been present in this area in the past, so you should go with a guide or in a group. If you go alone bring a weapon (if legal).

 

To view the map larger please click on the box in the upper right corner of the map.

USGS 24K Topo Maps

The topo map Begashibito Canyon cover the area of interest. This map can be downloaded in a variety of formats by clicking or right-clicking below:

Geo Tiff/Avenza KMZ Oruxmaps KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
Begashibito Canyon KMZ Oruxmap KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared

 


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