The Navajo Nation, which encompasses parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, has a wealth of historical and natural significances that will ignite the senses and your curiosity. From the grand sandstone masterpieces of monument valley to the ancient pueblo ruins of Canyon de Chelly there's plenty to see, do, and learn from on the Arizona side of the Navajo Nation.
History & Nature
Populating most of the Four Corners area, the indigenous peopleR were largely hunters and gatherers. As settlers overtook the Southwest due to manifest destiny, conflict ensued and adaptation to the new America that was forming was necessary. The result of conflict and compromise was the creation of the Navajo Nation, which covers more than 27,000 square miles of a desert landscape.
The Navajo Nation’s expansive boundaries include a wide array of landscapes, formations, and plants that make this area such a distinctive landmark in the Southwest and the world. Window Rock serves as its capital and is just a short drive from Gallup, off Highway 264 & Route 12.
Monument Valley’s rock formations tower over the landscape and command attention. The majestic canyons also hold many stories in every erosive grove, mineral color, and ancient ruin clinging to the rock walls. Whether you’re in the flatlands, high mountain meadows, or dry deserts, the rich Southwestern colors of reds, yellows, oranges, and pale greens always saturate your vision against the crystal blue skies.
Things to Do
The Navajo Nation's land is an outdoor mecca and a photographer's dream. There's no shortage of intriguing, natural compositions and exciting trails. Be sure to incorporate some smaller treasures during your visits, such as Window Rock Navajo Tribal Park & Veteran's Memorial, or Hubbell Trading Post, a National Historic Site.
Antelope Canyon Tribal Park in LeChee, Arizona features an upper and lower canyon. The upper canyon's walls rise 120 feet above the streambed, and the lower canyon (also located in LeChee) is known as Hasdestwazi, or "spiral rock arches." Both parts of the canyon require a tour guide to accompany you on your hike. See "A Guide to Visiting Antelope Canyon 'the Right Way'" for tips to plan your Antelope Canyon trip.
Monument Valley Tribal Park is one of the most photographed monuments on earth and boasts sandstone masterpieces that tower at heights of 400 to 1,000 feet. Marvel at Mother Nature's handy work, eroding massive rocks into interesting sculptures that are open to miles of interpretation.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument is the longest uninterrupted, human-inhabited area in the Colorado Plateau. Navajo families still call this canyon home, raising livestock and tending farmlands.
Visit the Explore Navajo Interactive Museum in Tuba City to get an in-depth look at the Navajo people's journey, as well as their social and historical contributions ranging from ancient to the Spanish-American War to WWII. With the help of leading Navajo scholars and the Navajo community, the museum provides a vibrant learning experience for all ages. Steps away is the Navajo Code Talkers Museum, which honors the Navajo code talkers who served with the U.S. Marines in the Pacific theatre during World War II. The museum displays photos, transcripts, gear and equipment used by the code talkers to translate and transmit battlefield information.
Where to Stay
Depending on the parks and historical sites you're visiting, there are a variety of lodging options available. The website, Discover Navajo, manages a list of current accommodations including resorts, campgrounds, bed and breakfasts and traditional options like a Hogan.
Camping is allowed with a permit for several locations. The vast size of the reservation means there are a variety of camping sites to choose from, including the Little Colorado River, San Juan River, and Monument Valley.
Navajo Festival of Arts & Culture
Navajo Nation Fair
Navajo Rug Auction
For More Information
Window Rock, AZ 86515