Journey Through the Navajo Nation

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Antelope Point Marina on Lake Powell © Christine Johnson

An unforgettable journey awaits in the Navajo Nation, filled with history, culture, and unparalleled beauty. 

With the most extensive tribal land base in the United States at 27,000 square miles, the Navajo Nation has countless beautiful destinations and landscapes to explore. Whether your travels take you through Arizona, Utah, or New Mexico, let us guide you through our land.

New Mexico Charm

Start your journey at the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, a sacred, serene space home to our ancestral Puebloan relatives. The breathtaking ruins and landscape tell how our ancestors lived and traded goods in the southwest from 850 to 1250 CE. Chaco Culture has a visitor’s center with all historical information about the area, a campground called Gallo. During the summer, there are Dark Sky events where you can view the night sky through a telescope and listen to Navajo cultural stories. For local eats, Crownpoint, NM, is nearby—Victoria’s Pizza has a unique blue corn crust pizza that foodies will love.

As you wander through New Mexico, take a detour through Window Rock, AZ—the capital of the Navajo Nation. Take a moment to soak in the vibrancy of this region, with so many opportunities to savor traditional Navajo cuisine and explore local markets brimming with Indigenous crafts. Along the way, you’ll pass through Ganado, Arizona, which hosts the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, a must-visit for history buffs. Don’t forget to stop by the Window Rock Navajo Tribal Monument and Veterans Memorial Park, an area steeped in historical significance.

navajo nation
Navajo/Diné Wedding Basket © Christine Johnson
Navajo/Diné Modern Pottery © Christine Johnson

That Adventurous Arizona Spirit

Next, journey westward to Canyon De Chelly National Monument in Arizona. Feeling adventurous? Book a tour to explore the bottom of the canyon on horseback or in a Jeep—you choose your adventure! Get a deep dive experience into the culture and history of Canyon De Chelly. All tour companies are owned and operated by Navajo families that have lived in and around the canyon for generations. You’ll be led by experts who can share exciting stories and history about the region.

Eat at the local Thunderbird Lodge for a cafeteria-style sit-down and enjoy a Canyon Burger. You can book an overnight stay to give yourself extra time to explore the trading post and enjoy evening activities. For those craving a taste of local flavor, Junction Restaurant offers a fusion of Navajo and American cuisine, from Mutton Stew to Roast Lamb Sandwiches served on mouthwatering homemade frybread.

Utah’s Monumental Formations

Drive northward to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, which hugs the borders of Arizona and Utah. Drive the 17-mile loop that takes you through the many famous viewpoints in Monument Valley, such as John Ford Point, featured in many classic Western films. Make sure to visit the famous Totem Pole and Artists Point, two can’t-miss experiences that make for great adventures and even better memories.

You can book an overnight stay at the View Hotel and experience the sunrise from your room—moments like these become unforgettable memories. For a more secluded experience, book a premium cabin along the ridge of the valley. Each cabin has its private balcony and amenities, which include a full restroom with a shower and even a cozy room with bunk beds for the kids! But book your stay months ahead—this gem fills up quickly.

Spider Rock © Courtesy of Navajo Tourism

Traditional and Fusion Cuisine Eats

After visiting the Monument Valley, head toward Kayenta, AZ—a foodie destination if there ever was one; this town boasts several beloved eateries. If you’re craving superb cuisine, see the Amigo Café for Navajo-Mexican fusion dishes, such as the mutton tostada and blue corn Navajo taco. Amigo has an espresso bar with delicious drinks like the Amigo mocha, sparkling tonic, and golden latte.

Across the street from Amigos, at the NW corner of the intersection of Highway 160 and 163, is the Blue Coffee Pot restaurant. This gem serves up American and Navajo dishes like the traditional breakfast of spam, eggs, shredded hash browns, and flour tortillas. You can also find the Navajo burger served on a fluffy frybread—it’s worth the pit stop.

Just before arriving in Page, venture off the beaten path to explore the beauty of Lower Antelope Canyon. Here, you can join guided tours offered by Dixie’s Lower Antelope Tours and Ken’s Tours to marvel at the captivating formations, including the famed “Lady in the Wind.” On your way out, check out the trinkets, memorabilia, and authentic Navajo-made jewelry in the gift shops. Ken’s Tours has a full coffee shop with espresso-based and other non-coffee drinks to quench your thirst.

Local tip: If you’re visiting in June, plan your trip around the Rock the Canyon Festival in Shonto, AZ. This small-town gem showcases local Indigenous bands and a renowned headliner against the stunning backdrop of the Southwest.

World’s Largest Floating Restaurant

After visiting the canyon, venture further north to see the Antelope Point Marina. This marina is entirely on the water of Lake Powell, making it “the world’s largest floating restaurant.”

Once you arrive, ride on a cart—free of charge—down the ramp to the marina marketplace. The marketplace has a gift shop, the Jádí’ Tooh Restaurant with its American dishes, and a coffee shop called Grandma Betty’s, where they serve coffee, cold drinks, ice cream, sweet pastries, and sack lunch. Relax amidst the tranquil waters of Lake Powell, savoring delectable cuisine and soaking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you.

Whether you’re looking for an adventure through ancient ruins or a foodie trip filled with culinary delights, the Navajo Nation has what you’re looking for.

For more information and travel inspiration, visit DiscoverNavajo.com and follow us on social media @discover_navajo.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park © Christine Johnson

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Navajo Council Resolution ACAP-55-86 originally created the Office of Tourism within the Division of Resources in 1986.  Navajo Tribal Council Resolution CO-50-87 transferred the Office of Tourism to the Commission for Accelerating Navajo Development Opportunities (CANDO), pursuant to Resolution ACAU-196-87 and approved the Division of Economic Development’s revised Plan of Operation, that created the Navajo Tourism Department to participate in the development of tourism related projects.

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