Some of the threads weave designs that are prehistoric – spectacular geological formations from Earth’s creation. Others are designs woven from ancient ruins at Navajo National Monument, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Canyon de Chelly National Monument and Chaco Culture National Historic Park.
Designs have been provided by the history, culture, tradition, arts & crafts and lifestyles of the Navajo people. Six Navajo Nation Scenic Roads create the newest threads of the tapestry and provide access to timeless vistas and attractions that draw visitors from around the world. A new website for travelers has been developed where visitors can find exciting new travel-planning resources for the Navajo Nation Scenic Roads at www.NavajoScenicRoads.com.
Each generation continues to add to the tapestry, weaving in new threads of harmony and beauty for you to discover. The Navajo people have woven together their traditional ways with modern society. When visiting the Navajo Nation, it soon becomes apparent how the influences of today will be reflected in this generation’s tapestry designs through colors, ideas and talent.
Covering 27,000 square miles of northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico and southeast Utah, the Navajo Nation is the largest Native American reservation in the United States. With its own government, it is truly a nation within a nation. Unlike Arizona, the Navajo Nation observes Daylight Savings Time. Between March and November, when it’s 10 a.m. in Flagstaff, it’s 11 a.m. in Monument Valley.
Discover how to weave your own tapestry of memories at www.DiscoverNavajo.com. Find information regarding attractions, culture and beliefs, lodging, tour guides and more. The Discover Navajo Official Visitor Guide, with turning pages, is also online. Or call the Navajo Tourism Department at (928) 871-6436 for information.
What to Do & Where to Stay
The Explore Navajo Interactive Museum in Tuba City is owned by the Navajo Nation. At 7,000 square feet, the museum features a traditional Navajo hogan (home) and Navajo stories of creation as well as exhibits of family systems, language and more.
Next door, The Code Talker’s Museum offers free admission. The museum has actual gear and tools used in battle, exceptional photos and a video you can watch to learn about the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II. Also visit the Tuba City Trading Post that adjoins the museum. The Quality Inn and Hogan Restaurant are conveniently located within the same complex. RV hookups are also available. Find more information about the entire complex online at www.ExploreNavajo.com.
Information about Navajo National Monument and guided hikes to three intact cliff dwellings of the Ancient Pueblo People is at www.nps.gov/nava. No need for a guide to take the less strenuous, shorter Sandal Trail to the overlook. A visitor center, arts & crafts store, museum, two small campgrounds and a picnic area provide services to travelers.
Drive the 17-mile self-guided tour that winds among the cliffs and mesas of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Along the road are 11 scenic stops for photographic opportunities. For the best experience, take a guided tour to see areas off limits to the general public and to get a personal interpretation of the park. Information about Monument Valley and other tribal parks can be found online at www.navajonationparks.org.
While at Monument Valley, stay at The View, the only hotel inside the park. All rooms have balconies with views so spectacular visitors will feel they can almost reach out and touch the Mittens! Historical Goulding’s Lodge, Campground & RV Park is just a short distance away and still in view of the monuments. Other affordable chain hotels are in Kayenta, 25 miles south. Information on all accommodations is available at www.DiscoverNavajo.com.
There’s no charge to drive the scenic overlooks, which are open all year at Canyon de Chelly National Monument. To hike or drive into the canyon, a guide is required for all but the White House Ruins trail. Spider Rock, inside the monument, is a spectacular red sandstone monolith standing more than 800 feet high. Spider Woman, who is said to live on Spider Rock, is among the most important and honored deities of the Navajo people. It was she who taught the Navajo ancestors of long ago the art of weaving on a loom. Find more about Canyon de Chelly at www.nps.gov/cach. Stop at the visitor center for interpretation and tour information. RVs can stay free at Cottonwoods Campground, but no hookups are available. Three hotels are in the area: Thunderbird Lodge & Tours, Best Western Canyon de Chelly Inn and the Holiday Inn Canyon de Chelly.
The Navajo Nation’s Capital, Window Rock, Arizona, provides more opportunities to discover the wonders of this area. The Navajo Nation Museum is known for its quality exhibits. The Navajo Council Chambers is a National Historic Landmark that houses 88 Navajo Council members from 110 Navajo communities. The council still gathers inside the circular building designed as a traditional Navajo hogan to enact legislation. Window Rock is also home to the only tribally owned zoo in the country. Believe it or not, admission to all these Window Rock activities is free!
With a landmass that equals the entire state of West Virginia, a visible history that predates mankind and a culture unlike any other, it’s obvious we’ve barely scratched the surface of this a nation-within-a-nation.
Go to www.DiscoverNavajo.com, and make plans to weave your own tapestry on the Navajo Nation.
For up-to-date travel information and to discover other cool stuff about the Navajo Nation, click here to opt in for the Navajo Tourism E-Newsletter.
(Brought to you by the Navajo Tourism Department)