To experience true indian country, take a drive up Highway 87 from Winslow. If you haven't seen it yet, stop at the Homolovi Ruins State Park just a couple of miles north of I-40. Then proceed on north through this wonderful high desert space, where corn fields flourish in sand dunes that receive less than 8 inches of moisture most years, and where the sheep grow fine wool on pastures that appear to have no grass. The Hopi Reservation is actually an island within the Navajo Reservation, and is only a fraction of the size of its larger brother. You will soon notice the difference in cultures; each with it's own distinct traditions, crafts, and lifestyles. You will see the widely separated hogans of the Navajo and their herds of multi colored sheep, and the pueblo villages of the Hopi built around a plaza which is the stage of their traditional ceramonies. At the intersection of Highways 87 and 264, turn left and continue on 264 to the Hopi Culture Center. You'll notice several small arts and craft shops, and galleries along the way where authentic, high quality goods can be seen and purchased (One of the most interesting is the gallery "Rising Sun"). At the culture center, you can receive further information about the Hopi villages, events, etc. that you may wish to attend or tour. The center also offers a motel and restaurant, where you can sample native fare like blue corn pancakes, as well as a gift shop and museum. On many weekends, festivals are held with dances, games, foot races and other traditional and comtemporary activities. Among the twelve Hopi villages are the oldest continuously occupied homes in the United States. Roads mentioned here are paved and well maintained. In winter, check the forecast before proceeding; snow and wind on the mesas can be brutal. From Winslow to the Hopi Culture Center is 65 miles. From Flagstaff, take Highway 57 to Leupp, Highway 2 to Kyotsmovi, then Highway 264 to the Culture center, distance of 95 miles. From the Culture Center to Moenkopi (Tuba City) is 62 miles. Altitude at Second Mesa is over 7,000 feet.
A few words about the etiquette of enjoying the Hopi Tribal Lands, and the other Indian people. Indian reservations are sovereign territory, and some tribes call themselves "Nations". Indian laws govern and Indian police patrol. Some properties, especially in the villages, have posted "NO PICTURES"; leave your cell phone and camera in the car. Festivals and ceremonies are always off limits to picture taking. Ceremonies in some villages are closed to Hopi only. Obey posted signs. Never take photographs of the people without the permission of the subject. You will find the Native American people delightful, interesting, welcoming. They will be courteous and respectful, and deserve the same in return.
The adventurous traveler will find a visit to the Hopi Mesas can be a delightful trip back in time, a truly unique place and space in today's world. This day trip may be the highlight of your four corners geo-tour.