Navajo National Monument preserves three of the most-intact
cliff dwellings of the
Anasazi (Hisatsinom). The monument is high on the Shonto Plateau, overlooking the Tsegi Canyon system in the Navajo Nation in Northern Arizona. The monument features a visitor center, two short self-guided mesa top trails, a small campground, and picnic area. In the summer, Rangers guide visitors on tours of the Keet Seel and Betatakin cliff dwellings.
Basic Information For Navajo National
Operating Hours, Seasons
The visitor center is open 8 am to 5 pm, seven days a week throughout the year. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. The campground is open year around, weather permitting. The two overlook trails are open year round, weather permitting, as well. The hikes to Betatakin and Keet Seel are generally available from Memorial Day to Labor Day every year.
How to Get to Navajo National Monument
PLANE - Closest is Phoenix (nearl 300 miles away)
CAR - Major highways transit the Navajo Nation; paved AZ
Hwy 564 turns north off US-160 at Black Mesa, and leads to the visitor
Weather & Climate
Summers are warm to hot, with temperatures in the high 90's, and monsoonal thunderstorms in July and August bring rain, wind, and lightning. Spring and Fall can be pleasant, but occasionally blustery, and Winter often brings snowstorms and very cold weather.
The visitor center and Sandal Trail are handicap accessible.
Camping at Navajo National Monument
Navajo National Monument Campground
Open All Year
The campground at the monument features 31 small sites, with picnic tables and parking spaces. No open-flame fires (charcoal or wood) are allowed; campers must use campstoves for cooking. A comfort station has restrooms, a camper service sink, and running water. No hookups are available; RV's are limited to 27 feet or less. No reservations are accepted for the campground. In the summer, overflow space is available at an older, more primitive campground 1 mile north of the main campground. In the winter, campers should be prepared for cold temperatures and deep snow
Activities and More Information for Navajo
The visitor center features museum exhibits about Anasazi (Hisatsinom) and Navajo culture, and a 20 minute video about the Betatakin cliff dwelling. Behind the visitor center, two short overlook trails take visitors to an overlook of the Betatakin cliff dwelling, and an overlook of a relict forest left over from the ice age. Signs along the trails identify native plants, and how the Hopi and Navajos have traditionally used them.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Betatakin guided hikes are available. There is one hike daily, which departs the visitor center at 8:15 am MDT. Up to 25 visitors can participate in this 5 hour, 5 mile ranger guided tour. No fees are charged for this hike. Hikers should bring drinking water and be prepared for a fairly strenuous trek.
From Memorial Day to Labor day, backcountry permits are available for the strenuous hike to Keet Seel, one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in the southwest. Up to 20 people per day may hike the 8.5 miles to Keet Seel, where they will be toured through the cliff dwelling by rangers. Hikers can camp one night at a primitive campground before returning to their cars. This hike requires advance planning and reservations; please call the monument for more details. The monument is surrounded by Navajo Nation land. NO HIKING or backcountry travel is allowed on these lands, which are essentially private property.
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