Tourism and Tours

Navajo Nation Arizona

Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation oversees all Navajo Tribal Parks on the Navajo Nation Reservation. The Navajo Nation is comprised of essentially private lands, therefore all non-Navajo travelers and visitors must abide by and comply with the laws, regulations, and policies promulgated by the Navajo Nation Government, including those governing Navajo Tribal Parks, Monuments, and recreation areas. As you visit the Navajo Tribal Parks, we ask that you keep our Mother Earth clean and place all debris and trash in the trash receptacles.

The Navajo Nation (Navajo: Naabeehó Diné Biyaad), also known as Navajoland, is a Native American reservation of Navajos in the United States. It occupies portions of northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and southeastern Utah. The seat of government is located in Window Rock, Arizona.

At roughly 17,544,500 acres (71,000 km2; 27,413 sq mi), the Navajo Nation is the largest land area held by a Native American tribe in the U.S., exceeding ten U.S. states. It is one of a few indigenous nations whose reservation lands overlap its traditional homelands.

In 2010, the reservation was home to 173,667 out of 332,129 Navajo tribal members; the remaining 158,462 tribal members lived outside the reservation, in urban areas (26 percent), border towns (10 percent), and elsewhere in the U.S. (17 percent). In 2020, the number of tribal members increased to 399,494, surpassing the Cherokee Nation as the largest tribal group by enrollment.

The U.S. gained ownership of what is today Navajoland in 1848 following the Mexican-American War. The reservation was first established in 1868 within New Mexico Territory, initially spanning roughly 3.3 million acres; it subsequently straddled what became the Arizona-New Mexico border in 1912, when the states were admitted to the union. Unlike many reservations, it has since expanded several times since its formation, reaching its current boundaries in 1934.

Administrative divisions

The Navajo Nation is divided into five agencies. The seat of government is located at the Navajo Governmental Campus in Window. These agencies are composed of several chapters each, and reflect the five Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) agencies created in the early formation of the Navajo Nation.

The five agencies within the Navajo Nation are Chinle Agency in Chinle, Arizona; Eastern Navajo Agency in Crownpoint, New Mexico; Western Navajo Agency in Tuba City, Arizona; Fort Defiance Agency in Fort Defiance, Arizona; and Shiprock Agency in Shiprock, New Mexico. The BIA agencies provide various technical services under direction of the BIA’s Navajo Area Office at Gallup, New Mexico.

Agencies are divided into chapters as the smallest political unit, similar to municipalities or small U.S. counties. The Navajo capital city of Window Rock is located in the chapter of St. Michaels, Arizona.

The Navajo Nation also operates executive offices in Washington, DC to facilitate government-to-government relations and for lobbying services and congressional relations.

Infrastructure

The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority provides utility services for houses. By 2019 it was conducting a campaign to electrify remaining houses without electricity. As of 2019 about 15,000 houses, with 60,000 residents, did not have electricity; at that time the authority electrified, on an annual basis, 400–450 houses. The Navajo Nation has 13 grocery stores, 12 health facilities, 170 hospital beds, 13 intensive care unit beds, 52 isolation rooms, and 28 ventilators.

Coconino County installed a Wi-Fi hotspot between the Page Magistrate Court Buildings and Coconino County Health and Human Services Northern Region Office at 467 Vista Ave. in Page, Arizona. While remaining in a vehicle, this hotspot, named CountyWi-Fi, is freely accessible and does not require a network password. Northern Arizona University (NAU), with clearance from Navajo and Hopi officials, extended free Wi-Fi signals to parking lots on the Navajo Nation for any college and K-12 student. Coconino County offers assistance for rent and utilities based on income eligibility. Assistance may be granted for electric, gas, wood, water, propane, rental, or utility deposits when moving.

Climate

Much of the Navajo Nation is situated on the Colorado Plateau. The large variation in altitude (3,080 feet (940 m) to 10,346 feet (3,153 m)) throughout the Navajo Nation produces considerable variations in climate, from an arid, desert climate, accounting for 55% of the area, through an intermediate steppe region, to the cold, sub-humid climate of the mountainous 8% of the area.[79][80][75] Average daily temperatures range from 43 °F (6 °C) to 60 °F (16 °C), with a low of 4 °F (−16 °C) in mountainous regions and a high of 110 °F (43 °C) in the desert. Average rainfall is 16–27 inches (410–690 mm) at higher elevations, and 7–11 inches (180–280 mm) in the desert.

Water rights and protection

Water rights for the Navajo Nation have been a source of environmental conflict for decades. On June 22, 2024, the US Supreme Court ruled in Arizona v. Navajo Nation with a 5–4 decision that the federal government of the United States has no obligation to ensure that the Navajo Nation has access to water. The 1868 treaty establishing the Navajo Reservation reserved necessary water to accomplish the purpose of the Navajo Reservation but did not require the United States to take affirmative steps to secure water for the Tribe.[112]
Additionally, environmental crises, such as the 2015 Gold King Mine waste water spill have had lasting impact on the Nation’s access to clean water.

Parks and Attractions

Tourism is important to the Navajo Nation. Parks and attractions within traditional Navajo lands include:

  • Shiprock Pinnacle (large volcanic remnants, elevation 7,178 ft, located in New Mexico near Shiprock)
  • Navajo Mountain (mountain along Utah and Arizona border, elevation 10,318 ft)
  • Chaco Canyon
  • Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness
  • Canyon De Chelly National Monument
  • Navajo National Monument
  • Window Rock Tribal ParkNavajo Nation Museum
  • Navajo Nation Zoological and Botanical Park
  • Navajo Bridge
  • Kinlichee Ruins
  • Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site
  • Grand Falls
  • Narbona Pass

Navajo Tribal Parks

The Navajo Nation has four Tribal Parks, which bring tourists and revenue to the Tribe.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park (on the Utah and Arizona border, near the town of Kayenta, Arizona)
Little Colorado River Gorge Navajo Tribal Park
Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park – includes Antelope Canyon and hiking trail to Rainbow Bridge National Monument
Four Corners Monument Navajo Tribal Park

Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation also operates Tseyi Heritage Cottonwood Campground at Canyon de Chelly, Camp Asaayi at Bowl Canyon, and the Navajo Veterans Memorial Park.

Art and crafts

An important small business group on the Navajo Nation is handmade arts and crafts industry, which markets both high- and medium-end quality goods made by Navajo artisans, jewelers and silversmiths. A 2004 study by the Navajo Division of Economic Development found that at least 60% of all families have at least one family member producing arts and crafts for the market.[citation needed]. A survey conducted by the Arizona Hospitality Research & Resource Center reported that the Navajo nation made $20,428,039 from the art and crafts trade in 2011.

Since the introduction of sheep into the New World, Navajos have traditionally made use of either the vertical loom or the back strap loom (belt loom) to weave yarns. The early weaving practice was such that unprocessed wool was chiefly used to make blankets and which still retained its lanolin and suint (sweat), and which could repel water, on the one hand, but which left an unpleasant odor to the finished woolen product, on the other. Today, modern techniques have replaced the old, and wool is preprocessed and treated with an alkali substance. By 1900, the weaving of traditional Navajo blankets had been replaced by rug-making.