Slightly larger than West Virginia, Navajo country stretches across 27,000 square miles of a swath of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. When pandemic closures have lifted, begin your journey in Tuba City, Ariz., for an intimate glimpse into Navajo history and modern-day life.
Explore Navajo Interactive Museum in Tuba City, Ariz.
Start at the Explore Navajo Interactive Museum where an introductory video gives you a foundation to begin perusing the museum. Originally created for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the exhibits feature kid-focused activities, plus a replica hogan you can explore.
You’ll see hogans across the Navajo Nation, but you can’t go inside because they are privately owned by Navajo families. But in the museum you can walk into a hogan and ask a tour guide your questions.
Next door is the historic Tuba City Trading Post, which was built in 1870 and sells authentic Native American jewelry, pottery and rugs. Don’t miss the exhibit on Navajo code talkers here. The U.S. Marines recruited Navajos to transmit messages in Navajo, which was perceived as a secret code, to defeat the Japanese during World War II.
Hungry? Eat at the Hogan Restaurant in the Quality Inn where you can sample traditional Navajo food like blue corn mush and mutton stew.
Then head to the internationally-recognized Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park where you can explore a cinematic landscape and sandstone park that appeared in many westerns and Hollywood movies.
The museum and trading post are at 10 N. Main St. in Tuba City; 928-283-5441; discovernavajo.com.
Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock Ariz.
If you have time, make a trip to Window Rock, Ariz., headquarters of the Navajo Nation Council Chamber, housed in a beautiful large hogan built in the 1930s. If the doors are unlocked, you can quietly slip inside, sit in the chairs against the wall and observe policymakers in action. Then visit the Navajo Nation Museum and Navajo Veterans Memorial Park.
Afterwards, explore Navajo Arts and Crafts for authentically made Navajo jewelry and for flea market finds. Navajo protocol to observe: Ask for permission before you take any photos and gratuity is appreciated.
“You’ll get authentically made Navajo jewelry, but we also have little outdoor stands like a flea market where Navajos buy and sell their stuff,” says Corrine Jymm of the Navajo Tourism Department.
The museum is at Highway 264 and Loop Road, Window Rock, Ariz., 86515; 928-871-7941; www.navajonationmuseum.org
Special Permit Required for Commercial Photography
Special permits are required when photographing for commercial use. If photographing on Navajo Tribal Park, contact the Navajo Parks & Recreation for a permit & the Navajo Nation TV & Film for all other photos.
More to See and Experience on Navajo Land
1. Four Corners Monument
Four Corners Monument is the only place in the U.S. where the corners of four states converge. Stand in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona all at the same time.
2. Iconic Rocks
3. Lake Powell
Jump into Lake Powell with 186 miles of Navajoland shoreline.
4. Chocolate Falls
Splash at Grand Falls which looks like melted chocolate flowing over a mesa.
For more information:
Navajo Tourism Department
P.O. Box 663, Window Rock, AZ