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At beautiful Navajo, it’s all about the scenery….or is it?
World-wide travelers are captivated by such attractions as the awe-inspiring scenery of Antelope Canyon to the “Most Photographed Place in the World – Monument Valley.
The Navajo Nation is the largest American tribe in North America and it is also home of the largest reservation in the U.S., which spans into the states of northern Arizona, southeast Utah and northwest New Mexico.
Navajo is home to an array of unparalleled picture-perfect sites and it is also a natural magnet for the entertainment industry. In fact, many black and white western movies originated on the Navajo reservation and continue today.
A great place to begin your journey to the Navajo Nation is in Window Rock, Arizona – the capital of the Navajo Nation, which is nestled in the northeast portion of Arizona near the Arizona-New Mexico border.
Unlike other capital cities in the U.S., Window Rock has a Navajo cultural vibe. It is often described as the center of political activity, but it is also a great venue for educational, historical and cultural enrichment for the entire family. Window Rock may not be as well-known as other sites on the Navajo Nation, but the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department is working diligently to increase awareness about what Window Rock offers for visitors.
A great place to begin your trip is to take a drive to the Navajo Veteran’s Memorial Navajo Tribal Park, which is home to Mother nature’s most vivid enchantment – Window Rock. This majestic circular rock formation serves as a backdrop of the Navajo Nation capital. This wondrous site is also home to a hand-carved superbly-detailed Navajo Code Talker statue and a place that pays tribute to Navajo veterans. Unbeknownst to many, the Navajo language played a very significant role in U.S. history. In fact, the Navajo language was used as a secret code in World War II, which was never broken by the enemy. Today, these men who displayed their unequaled bravery and patriotism are known as the Navajo Code Talkers. The Window Rock Veteran’s Memorial Park is also home of the Annual Navajo Code Talker Holiday Celebration in August.
Many visitors find solitude as they learn about the significance of the Navajo language in U.S. history and how it is still spoken today. The architectural design of the memorial is based upon traditional Navajo values that embodies a spirit of sacredness.
Window Rock is home of two great summer and fall celebrations – the Annual Fourth of July PRCA Rodeo and the Navajo Nation Fair in September. Incidentally, the Navajo Nation Fair is the “Largest American Indian Fair” in North America. Both events offer visitors a great opportunity to see colorful Navajo dances, lively Navajo entertainers, savory Navajo cuisine and exquisite Navajo crafts. However, the real draw is the beautifully-dressed Navajo elders in traditional Navajo attire and vintage jewelry….you’ll find them doing a two-step and dancing to the beat of drum at the traditional Navajo song and dance…you can capture a glimpse of Navajo culture at the Navajo Nation Fairgrounds along Arizona State Highway 264.
Your vacation to Navajo just wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t see top Navajo cowboys and cowgirls in action during one of several all-Indian rodeos….this is Navajo where most cowboys and cowgirls are Indian. Window Rock is definitely abuzz from sun up to sun down during one of these cultural celebrations, and there is a glow in the air.
For visitors who would rather bask in the quiet, Bowl Canyon is an ideal vacation get-away from the everyday blare of city life. Just north of Window Rock is a sanctuary called Bowl Canyon, which is home of Asaayi Lake. It is located just a few miles off Indian Route 12 if you’re heading north from Window Rock, Arizona or just off New Mexico Highway 134 if you’re heading west after you pass Sheep Springs, New Mexico – there are two routes to get here.
Other attractions in the Window Rock vicinity include the Navajo Nation Zoo, which is the only tribal-owned zoo in the U.S., the Navajo Nation Museum, which archives Navajo history, the Navajo Nation Council Chambers and other points of interest.
For more information, contact the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department at www.navajonationparks.org or call (928) 871-6647.
- County: Apache
- Elevation: 6,840
- Population: 3,059