Scattered across the tops of three rocky, buff-colored mesas and along the valleys below are the villages of the 'Peaceful Ones,' which is what the Hopi call themselves. Their reservation – at the heart of their ancestral territory, though only containing a scant fraction of it – is like a 2532-sq-mile island floating in the Navajo Reservation. To the Hopi, Arizona's oldest and most traditional tribe, this remote terrain is not merely their homeland but also the hub of their spiritual world.
Because of their isolated location, the Hopi have received less outside influence than other tribes and have limited tourist facilities. Aside from ancient Walpi on First Mesa, villages don't hold much intrinsic appeal for visitors. But a tour of the mesas with a knowledgeable guide can open the door to what's truly fascinating about this place: the people, their history and their traditions, which still thrive today.