Coal Mine Canyon
Coal Mine Canyon
Coal Mine Canyon

Coal Mine Canyon, Hopi Reservation, Arizona

Technology itself is wonderful. A dependence on technology is inevitable, but somewhat less wonderful. Fellow photographer Ty Cook and I were depending on Google Maps to show us the way to this out-of-the-way natural wonder. Unfortunately, we were in between the Navajo and Hopi reservations, an area not known for good cell coverage.

Feeling useless, we stumbled a bit. We didn’t want to blindly follow just any road. This was more out of respect than fear. I’ve never had a negative experience in all of my travels across Hopi and Navajo lands. Still, I wanted to avoid the spectacle of two lost city boys stumbling into some off-limits area.

Finally, we found enough of a signal to locate Coal Mine Canyon, and we were glad we did. It’s an overlooked area and well worth the visit. And if you know where you’re going, it’s not hard to access.

Coal Mine Canyon is another one of Arizona’s hidden gems. It’s part of the same Moenkopi wash that produced Blue Canyon. It’s full of the same sort of delightfully-eroded scenic sandstone that inspired Spanish explorers to dub the area “Mesa de las Vacas” back in 1540.

If you go, take paper notes. You might even consider a paper map. That might be a good idea.