Second Mesa Travel Guide

  • Second Mesa
    Second Mesa
    by Basaic
  • An example of a mesa
    An example of a mesa
    by madamx
  • The Painted Desert
    The Painted Desert
    by madamx

Second Mesa Things to Do

  • Old Oraibi

    Old Oraibi is located on Third Mesa, and it's known as the oldest continuing inhabited town in the US, settled in 1150. I didn't find the village particularly picturesque, but what was most fascinating were the old stone buildings, dating from the 1100's, that people still lived in.You will need permission to visit Oraibi. There is a shop selling...

  • Walpi

    Walpi is probably the most easiest village to see, plus the most scenic and interesting. The Hopi have guided tours, with a Hopi tour guide, which are scheduled daily between 9:30 am and 4:00 pm. Admission is $5.00 USThe tour lasts about an hour, and will take you through the village. The guide will give a little history of Walpi and it's...

  • Hopi Cultural Centre

    Located on Second Mesa, the cultural centre is a motel, museum and restaurant rolled into one. The museum is worth taking in, as it has lots of artifacts, and many vintage photographs of the Hopi before they banned photography. There is also a scale model of First Mesa, so you can get a really good idea of how the villages are set up. Admission to...


Second Mesa Restaurants

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    by madamx Written Apr 19, 2005

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    This is basically the only restaurant on the Hopi Mesas. The interior of the restaurant is bright and pleasant, and it appears many locals eat here as well. The have an excellent salad bar, and serve a wide range of American as well as traditional native dishes.

    Favorite Dish: I wanted to get the full experience of being on the Hopi Reservation by trying the traditional Hominy and Lamb Stew with Green Chili. It tasted ok, but was fairly bland save for a fair amount of salt. The roasted green chili added some spice, and to be totally honest, the best part of it was the accompanying fry bread. I probably would not eat it again, having tried it once.

    Our guides had the salad bar and the ham chowder soup that they had with it was excellent. My husband said his Philly Cheesteak sandwich was quite good.

    You may want to try the Indian Taco -- flat, pizza-shaped fry bread with beans, chili, beef and cheese.

    Hominy and Lamb Stew

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Second Mesa Transportation

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    by madamx Updated Apr 21, 2005

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    I feel a tour is the best way to see the Hopi Mesas, as we found our guides extremely knowledgeable, and we got much more out of the experience than just going on our own.. They had so much information they seemed to have degrees in geology and natural history and we learned so much from them.

    Our guides were from the local area, and part native themselves, so they gave the tour from an interesting perspective. We got to know each other very well (my husband and I were the only ones on the tour) and by the end became very good friends.

    We rode in comfortable van, and since it can be a long day, depending on what you want to see, it's nice to leave the driving up to someone else. On comparing different tours on the internet, the cost is aproximately $120 - $130 US per person. The includes transportation, lunch, water and snacks. We left our accomodations in Sedona at 8:00 am, and returned at 7:00 pm, so we got our full money's worth.

    Our new buddies George(L) and Sam (R)

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Second Mesa Local Customs

  • Kachinas

    This is my Kachina doll, which I purchased from a female carver in Walpi. The Hopi pronounce Kachina as KAT-seena. Kachinas can take the form of carved dolls or dancers and represent to the Hopi the spirits of plants, animals, ancestors, or sacred places. There are about 500 Kachina spirits, and the Hopi believe that some reside in the San...

  • Piki Bread

    This is the traditional bread of the Hopi, made of blue corn. A paper-thin layer of batter is spread on a grill, then pulled off and rolled. The consistency is like parchment paper. It is very dry and tastes like a papery corn chip, and I found it pretty unappetizing. If you want an example to compare it to, biting into it is like having a...

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Second Mesa Tourist Traps

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    by madamx Updated Apr 19, 2005

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    Many people come to the Hopi Reservation to shop for crafts, such as pottery or Kachina Dolls. If you would like to buy on the reservation, make sure to do your research into what to expect to pay, and what to look for in quality.

    When you are in the villages, most Hopi approaching you will want to sell you crafts. I found they varied in quality, and you can get some pretty good deals on items. Many of these people live in poverty-like conditions, but don't make this pressure you into buying. They will not be not offended if you say no.

    Most of the very high quality stuff is sent out to galleries and stores, so don't expect to find exceptional items being sold to you by the villagers. Overall, though, I found the quality available is quite good, and remember, you get what you pay for. Warning: You take your chances if you give a down payment for an item that will be promised to be sent to you later.

    Petroglyphs, Second Mesa

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Second Mesa What to Pack

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    by madamx Written Apr 19, 2005

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you travel to the Mesas, make sure you dress in layers, and have a windbreaker on hand. The Mesas are at quite an elevation, and therefore, the wind can blow quite strongly, especially in the spring.

    Hopi painting, Grand Canyon

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Second Mesa Favorites

  • Living History

    It is quite amazing that some of these people still live in these ancient buildings, dating from the 1100's, especially those who choose to live without electricity or running water. The houses are grouped quite close together, and the roads are very narrow, so you feel like you are back in ancient times until have have to move over for a Ford...

  • R-e-s-p-e-c-t

    The Hopi Reservation is literally the centre of the universe to these people. They acquired this land through a fairly complicated history from the Navajo. Much of the Hopi culture is hidden from visitors, and they still follow many ancient customs passed down from generation to generation. For example, one of the women told me that her daughter,...

  • Hopi Houses

    The dwellings built on the Mesas were made of the surrounding stone, and therefore blend into the mesa environment. You really can't see the buildings unless you get quite close to the mesas. This worked to the Hopi's advantage for defense purposes.This picture is a look-out house situated on Second Mesa. It gives you an idea of the construction of...


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