Earth Notes: On the Navajo Nation, a New Eco-Retreat

Apr 13, 2016

Travelers with a hankering to reconnect with nature and experience the Navajo way of life can do just that 12 miles south of Page.  A bear claw sign on Highway 89 points the way to the Shash Diné Eco-Retreat. “Shash” in the retreat’s name means “bear” in Navajo. 


The unique off-the-grid bed and breakfast sits on a mesa with vast views of Lake Powell and the Vermilion Cliffs. It’s the creation of an enterprising Navajo women, Baya Meehan, and her husband Paul.

The retreat is on ranch land that has been in Baya’s family for generations. The couple raise a menagerie that includes traditional Navajo-Churro sheep and Nubian goats – guarded by Great Pyrenees and Maremma sheepdogs.

The accommodations include a traditional Navajo hogan. And in warmer months visitors can enjoy a Navajo version of glamorous luxury camping or “glamping” in two white canvas tents, with doors facing the rising sun. There’s no electricity, running water or carpets, but there’s a large fire pit where guests can gather and grill their supper.

The couple have hosted hundreds of adventurous travelers from all over the world curious about Navajo culture. Guests remark how calming their visit is, allowing them to enjoy beautiful night skies and reconnect with nature – even if only briefly.

Navajos are defined by land and language, but the result a living, breathing culture that’s constantly evolving, says Baya. The couple’s eco-retreat is an evolution that allows her to keep living on her family’s land and maintain traditional Navajo ways.