A famous Navajo poem ends with the phrase 'May I walk in beauty.' This request is easily granted at many spots on the Navajo Reservation in northeastern Arizona. At 27,000 sq miles the reservation is the country's largest, spilling over into the neighboring states of Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.
Trail of Tears Country
The area southeast of present-day Tulsa was, and to some degree still is, Creek and Cherokee land. This is an excellent place to learn about Native American culture, especially before the 1800s. Namesake of Merle Haggard's 1969 hit 'Okie from Muskogee?', Muskogee, 49 miles southeast of Tulsa, is home to the Five Civilized Tribes Museum.
Badlands National Park
This otherworldly landscape, oddly softened by its fantastic rainbow hues, is a spectacle of sheer walls and spikes stabbing the dry air. It was understandably named mako sica (badland) by Native Americans. Looking over the bizarre formations from the corrugated walls surrounding Badlands is like seeing an ocean someone boiled dry.
Mesa Verde National Park
More than 700 years after its inhabitants disappeared, the mystery of Mesa Verde remains unsolved. It is here that a civilization of Ancestral Puebloans appears to have vanished into thin air in the 1300s. Today their last known home is preserved as Mesa Verde, a fascinating, if slightly eerie, national park.