9 Greatest Issues To Do In Historic Window Rock


On the subject of capitals, Window Rock, Arizona, stands out for plenty of causes. First, there’s the magnificent pink sandstone arch that the city is called for. After which there may be the truth that Window Rock serves because the headquarters and capital of the Navajo Nation, the most important sovereign Native American nation in the USA.

Add within the genuine Navajo tradition that’s on show nearly in every single place — from museums to monuments to buying and selling posts — and you’ve got a capital-city vacation spot in contrast to another.

Though a small metropolis of about 2,500, Window Rock is big in Navajo (Diné) historical past. It sits alongside the jap border of Arizona, just some minutes’ drive from the western border of New Mexico. Window Rock’s standing because the capital of the Navajo Nation dates again to 1936, however the web site has been important to the Navajo individuals for for much longer. In actual fact, the ceremonial identify for the realm interprets to Heart of the World.

As we speak, Window Rock serves not solely as the middle of the Navajo authorities, but additionally as a base for taking in historic and fashionable Navajo historical past, fascinating buying and selling publish tradition, and awe-inspiring landscapes. After I visited Window Rock on an August street journey, I used to be struck by Window Rock’s simple accessibility to most of the Navajo Nation’s most well-known options.

Listed here are 9 not-to-be-missed experiences in Window Rock, Arizona.

Window Arch and Code Talker monument

Window Arch and Code Talker monument

Photograph credit score: Cindy Barks

1. Discover The Namesake Window Arch

I knew getting into that Window Rock would have wonderful rock formations. However nothing may put together me for the city’s huge 200-foot sandstone arch that, true to its identify, frames a spectacular view of the deep blue Arizona sky.

The arch is the centerpiece of the attractive Window Rock Navajo Tribal Park & Veterans Memorial, simply steps from the Navajo Nation Workplace of the President and Vice President. A straightforward path of lower than 1 / 4 mile runs via the park, permitting guests to get pretty near the arch, though no climbing is allowed on the arch or the rocks surrounding it.

Derived from the Navajo phrase Tségháhoodzání, the Window Rock arch was chosen as the location for the Navajo Nation Headquarters due to the realm’s historical past and cultural significance — notably with the standard Navajo Waterway Ceremony. Uncover Navajo notes that in Navajo tradition and historical past, there was as soon as a water pond proper under the arch the place a Navajo drugs man would accumulate water to make use of within the Waterway Ceremony.

Though you probably received’t witness a ceremonial water assortment whereas visiting as we speak, the Navajo Nation stresses that the realm is sacred and must be revered.

Navajo National Cultural Museum

Navajo Nationwide Cultural Museum

Photograph credit score: Cindy Barks

2. Be taught Native Historical past At The Navajo Nation Cultural Museum

For a multifaceted have a look at the historical past of the Navajo individuals, the wonderful Navajo Nation Cultural Museum must be amongst guests’ first stops.

The reveals stroll guests via the wealthy and distinctive historical past of the Navajo individuals, utilizing pictures, maps, artifacts, and artworks to assist inform their tales. The reveals additionally embody a retrospective on the Code Talkers as seen via the lens of Japanese photographer Kenji Kawano.

On the grounds of the museum, guests can soak up an genuine hogan, the standard house of the Navajo individuals. Together with its informative reveals, the Navajo Nationwide Cultural Museum additionally includes a ebook and present store, snack bar, auditorium, outside amphitheater, info kiosk, and library.

Art at the Hubbell Trading Post

Artwork on the Hubbell Buying and selling Submit

Photograph credit score: Cindy Barks

3. Browse For Navajo Artwork At The Hubbell Buying and selling Submit Nationwide Historic Website

A drive of lower than a half-hour west of Window Rock will take guests to the oldest working buying and selling publish on Navajo Nation territory.

Positioned close to the city of Ganado, the Hubbell Buying and selling Submit Nationwide Historic Website affords a captivating have a look at the historical past of John Lorenzo Hubbell. He was a dealer who purchased the Hubbell Buying and selling Submit in 1878 and went on to turn out to be the foremost Navajo dealer of his time.

After testing the distinctive items and artwork items on the buying and selling publish, guests can stroll across the grounds of the nationwide historic web site and take within the stables, gardens, and informative customer middle.

Code Talkers monument at Window Rock

Code Talkers monument at Window Rock

Photograph credit score: Cindy Barks

4. Be Impressed By The Navajo Code Talkers

Upon arrival in Window Rock, it’s instantly obvious that the heroic World Conflict II Code Talkers maintain a particular place in Navajo historical past. Amongst many tributes to the Code Talkers is the Veteran’s Memorial, which was established on the base of the Window Rock arch in 1995 to honor the numerous Navajo women and men who’ve served within the U.S. army.

Probably the most well-known of these veterans are the Code Talkers, the Navajo servicemen in World Conflict II who used the native Diné language to create a code that was by no means damaged by the enemy. “Historians credit score the Navajo Code Talkers for serving to to win World Conflict II,” says the nation’s web site.

Guests will see indicators and memorials all around the Navajo Nation honoring the Code Talkers, together with the transferring Veterans Memorial statue of a Navajo soldier speaking right into a radio and carrying a big radio transmitter on his again.

Shiprock Peak, New Mexico

Shiprock Peak, New Mexico

Photograph credit score: Cindy Barks

5. Gaze At Superb Shiprock

Hovering 7,178 toes above sea degree, the jagged rock formation often known as Shiprock Peak could be seen for miles round. It rises abruptly from the desert ground about an hour and a half north of Window Rock and about 15 miles southeast of Shiprock, New Mexico.

Taking within the distinctive volcanic rock formation is unquestionably well worth the drive if you happen to’re visiting Window Rock.

Though named “Shiprock” by Anglo settlers, the rock is understood to the Navajo as Tsé Bit’ a’í, or “rock with wings.” Shiprock is a sacred web site to the Navajo individuals, and climbing and/or climbing it, or the encompassing rocks, is forbidden. Additionally, driving onto the dust street resulting in the formation is prohibited. Guests ought to view and {photograph} the top from a paved roadway (Indian Service Route 13 or U.S. Freeway 49). There are a selection of locations to tug over alongside the paved roads to get a very good view of Shiprock.

Downtown Gallup, New Mexico

Downtown Gallup, New Mexico

Photograph credit score: Cindy Barks

6. Discover Close by Gallup

Historic Route 66, lovely pink rock terrain, thriving Navajo artwork outlets, and genuine Mexican delicacies await only a half-hour southeast of Window Rock in Gallup, New Mexico.

Due to its handy location on a stretch of outdated Route 66, in addition to the most important east-west Interstate 40, Gallup makes an ideal base for exploring Window Rock, Ganado, and Shiprock. Guests will discover a sturdy choice of accommodations and eating places to select from and a enjoyable mashup of cultures.

I cherished the classic Route 66/southwestern vibe on the El Rancho Lodge and the green-and-green-chili Mexican delicacies selections at Jerry’s Café. For looking Navajo jewellery, rugs, or pottery, it’s laborious to beat the large choice at Richardson Buying and selling Submit situated proper on Route 66.

Church Rock near Gallup, New Mexico

Church Rock close to Gallup, New Mexico

Photograph credit score: Pixel Doc / Shutterstock.com

7. Hike Gallup’s Church Rock

For an opportunity to get out into the area’s pink rocks, the towering Church Rock in Gallup is an ideal alternative. Positioned in Gallup’s Purple Rock Park and close to the little city of Church Rock, New Mexico, the path affords beautiful views of the steeple-like spire that makes up Church Rock.

The path is taken into account reasonably difficult and takes hikers up a sequence of rocky steps and alongside slim ridges. The out-and-back route is about 2.6 miles and takes about an hour and a half to finish. It affords nice views of the valley under and even higher views of the rock formation. After I hiked the path in August, it was lined with lush greenery and wildflowers.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument; New Mexico

Canyon de Chelly Nationwide Monument

Photograph credit score: Traveller70 / Shutterstock.com

8. Take In Beautiful Canyon De Chelly

Window Rock can be inside a simple day journey of the enduring Canyon de Chelly Nationwide Monument, recognized worldwide for its sacred canyon partitions, historic ruins, and the distinctive Spider Rock. The nationwide monument is situated about 70 miles northwest of Window Rock.

Uncover Navajo notes that nowhere in Navajoland is the mix of previous custom and current tradition extra evident than in Canyon de Chelly. “The Navajo individuals nonetheless have a mystical bond to this redstone canyon that cuts an nearly tropical path of bushes and flowers via the desert,” says the web site. The canyon is house to native tradition relationship from 350–1300 AD, and its 26 miles of sheer cliffs climb to greater than 1,000 toes.

Guests can take within the canyon by driving alongside two paved scenic rim drives and overlooks, in addition to taking part in ranger-led packages. Quite a lot of non-public excursions are additionally accessible.

An example of a Navajo hogan in New Mexico

An instance of a Navajo hogan

Photograph credit score: Sunleopard Industries / Shutterstock.com

9. Keep In A Hogan

For a cultural expertise to recollect, Uncover Navajo suggests staying in a conventional, eight-sided, one-room house known as a hogan

“It is a primitive lifestyle — a conventional lifestyle,” says the web site. “There is no such thing as a electrical energy, operating water, or luxurious when staying in a hogan, solely Mom Earth and the fantastic thing about the pure environment.”

At Canyon de Chelly Nationwide Monument, the Spider Rock Campground, which is situated in a pure wooded space of the Tse Ho Tso Plateau, permits guests to camp in RVs, tents, or cozy hogans. Close by Chinle additionally affords plenty of lodging and eating selections.

Professional Ideas

After I visited the Navajo Nation in August 2022, face masks necessities had been nonetheless in impact for public buildings, and the requirement gave the impression to be strictly enforced. Info on the nation’s evolving COVID-19 restrictions is accessible right here.

The Navajo Nation observes Mountain Daylight Saving Time from March via November, in contrast to the remainder of Arizona, which stays on Mountain Commonplace Time year-round.

Arizona affords a wealth of actions for all walks of life, together with:



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