Navajo National Monument

Overview

Introduction

This area, near Tonalea, is part of the Navajo Nation Reservation and is home to two spectacular Pueblo (Anasazi) structures. Betatakin, with its 135 rooms, and Keet Seel, is one of the most impressive cliff dwellings anywhere in the U.S. Betatakin can be seen from an overlook near the visitors center, but you will have to undertake a fairly strenuous hike (5 mi/8 km round-trip) if you want to tour the dwelling. Keet Seel is even more remote, at the end of an 8-mi/13-km trail: It can only be reached by hiking or on horseback, and you must be accompanied by a ranger. Advance reservations are a must for Keet Seel.

If you want to learn more about the Navajo, drive across the reservation to Window Rock, the tribal headquarters on the New Mexico/Arizona border. In addition to seeing the space in the rock that gives the town its name, you can visit the Navajo Nation Tribal Museum (one of the largest Native American museums in the U.S.) and the Navajo Nation Zoological and Botanical Park, which has exhibits of local flora and fauna. Canyon de Chelly National Monument is also on the Navajo Reservation, as is Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.

The Hopi Reservation is completely surrounded by the larger Navajo Reservation. There's an interpretive center and lodging for visitors at the Hopi Cultural Center and Museum, in Second Mesa. You will need permission to visit Hopi villages. Call the Hopi Tribe Office of Public Relations for information. Phone 928-734-3102.

Visitors to the reservations should be respectful of the surroundings. The most important things to keep in mind are the following: You should ask permission before taking any photographs; skimpy or revealing clothing should not be worn in public; neat attire should be worn to any ceremonies; and the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages and drugs is illegal. The Hopi Reservation is particularly strict: You should ask about the code of conduct before entering. Navajo National Monument is 245 mi/390 km northwest of Phoenix.

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