Visiting the Navajo Nation – 12 free attractions

Navajo Code Talkers

Navajo Code Talkers - Photo Credit: Elizabeth R. Rose

Many visitors to Arizona don’t realize that they will be welcomed to the attractions offered by the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation may be a perfect place for your vacation and can also be very easy on your wallet.  There are many experiences on the Navajo Nation that are absolutely free. 

Here are a dozen free things to do while traveling in the Indian Country of the Southwest.

1. Navajo Council Chambers – The chambers in Window Rock, AZ designed as a traditional Navajo Hogan, is a National Historic Landmark. This is the place where Navajo Council members enact legislation.   Open to the public 8am-5pm Mon.-Fri.  More Information.  

2. Navajo Nation Zoological & Botanical Park – Window Rock, AZ is the only tribally owned zoo in the country and has been home to indigenous wild animals since 1962. Here animals reside in truly natural habitats surrounded by native vegetation and rock scenery. Mon.-Sat. 10am-5pm, closed Sundays and holidays. More Information

3. Navajo Nation Museum– The museum, located in Window Rock, AZ  hosts a variety of exhibits that change periodically. The exhibits display the culture, crafts, and history of the Navajo people. Open 8am-8pm Tues.-Fri., 8am-5pm Mon. & Sat.  More Information.   

4. Window Rock Monument & Navajo Veteran’s Memorial Park –  The Veterans Memorial at Window Rock  honors the many Navajos who served in the U. S. military.  Many Navajo soldiers are recognized in the annals of history for their role as Code Talkers, whereby they used the Navajo language to create a code that was never broken by the enemy.  Open daily. 928-871-6647 More Information.

5. Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site – Located in Ganado, AZ, this is the oldest continuously operating trading post on the Navajo Nation.  This historic spot supplied new merchandise to the Navajo years ago and still does now.  There is a charge to tour the Hubbell home. Open in the summer 8am-6pm daily and in the winter 8am-5pm daily. More Information.

6. Canyon de Chelly National Monument – The monument is located in Chinle, AZ.  Drive the Rim and see a bird’s eye view of the hundreds of ancestral sites dating back from 350 AD to 1300 AD or hike to White House Ruins, a 1 mile hike that takes you through a few short tunnels and over a stream.  Visitor Center is open daily 9am-5pm. There is a charge for guided trips into the canyon.  More Information.

7. Hiking Sandal Trail at Navajo National Monument– The monument is located in Tonalea, AZ.  At the start of the trail, you can explore a hogan and a sweathouse, both of which are situated just outside of the visitor’s center. The paved trail then descends over a half mile to a vista point overlooking the Betatakin Ruins.  More Information.  

8. Code Talker Museum – This makes for a good stop in Tuba City, AZ. The museum has actual gear and tools used in battle, victory stories, transcripts of a Code Talker and exceptionally detailed photos. The Code Talker’s primary job in World War II was to transmit messages in their native dialect using a code the Japanese never broke. More Information.  

Navajo National Monument

Navajo National Monument - Betatakin Ruins - Photo Credit: Elizabeth R. Rose

9. Cultural Center in Kayenta, AZ – Take a self-guided walking tour through the outdoor cultural park which describes the beliefs and traditions that have shaped North America’s largest Native American tribe. The Navajo Cultural Center is a small museum in Kayenta (in between the Hampton Inn & Burger King).  More Information.

10. Driving the Scenic Roads – The Navajo Nation has six scenic roads that weave a web through high desert, mountains, valleys, canyon country, lakes and one of the longest continuously inhabited landscapes of North America.  The website has a great map and information that will help you plan your trip. More Information.

11. Biking Chaco Canyon National Historical Park – Biking through this significant park, in Nageezi, NM, is a great way to see the 9-mile paved loop road that accesses five major Chacoan sites, including Pueblo Bonito. Self-guiding trails are available at each site. Four backcountry hiking trails access more remote sites and features. Free permits are available at the visitor center and at all trailheads. More Information.

12. Toadlena Trading Post & Weaving Museum-Toadlena, NM known for rugs & tapestries made from natural wool. The trading post operates in the same way trading posts have since the 1870s—directly with the weaver and her family.  Open 9am-6pm Mon.-Sun. Apr.1-Dec.30, and 9am-5pm Mon.-Sat. Dec. 31-Mar. 30. More Information.  

More Information
Discover Navajo Website

List Courtesy: Navajo Nation Tourism

 

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