Kayenta, in the northeastern portion of Navajo County, is

approximately 20 miles south of the Utah border on U.S. 163. It is

148 miles north-northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona, and 99 miles west

of Shiprock, New Mexico.


Because of its remoteness, in the early days the Kayenta

region was seldom visited by non-Indians. Although in 1874,

Mormon emigrants moved their wagons through on their route

from Tuba City to Aneth on the San Juan River, the Navajos and

Paiutes of the area were only occasionally disturbed by itinerant

traders and wandering prospectors. In 1910 things changed with

the opening of a trading post at Kayenta. In 1914, the March Pass

School opened its doors. By 1916, another trading post had

opened for business.


Since that time, and especially since the paving of roads

through the area, Kayenta, at an elevation of 5,660 feet, has had

considerably more traffic and has been designated a “growth center”

of the Reservation. Today, its position as a gateway to the

tourist attractions of Monument Valley as well as its midpoint

location on state Highway 160 between Shiprock and Tuba City

have helped establish Kayenta as a major community on the

Navajo Reservation. Navajos refer to Kayenta as Tohdenasshai.


Services and mining comprise the principal economic activities in

Kayenta. Peabody Coal and Black Mesa Pipeline companies are

major employers. Peabody Coal Company owns and operates two

mines in the area, Kayenta mine and Black Mesa Mine, as well as

a central warehouse. As tourism and residents have increased

their demand for services, this sector has grown significantly.

This scenic area has motels, restaurants, gasoline service stations,

convenience stores, curio shops, trading posts, parks and

recreational facilities for tourists' enjoyment.


The Kayenta Shopping Center’s 44,700 square feet of space

is occupied by Bashas' Supermarket, True Value, Videos Plus,

Navajo Check Cashing, the Clinic of Chiropractic, Dineh Optical,

Pizza Edge, Norwest Bank, and the Kayenta Visitor Center.


Twenty-seven miles north of Kayenta is the Navajo Nation’s

most famous attraction, Monument Valley Tribal Park.

Betatakin, Navajo for “houses in rock shelves,” and Keet Seel

Ruins are approximately 20 miles from Kayenta.




The Four Corners area, a junction of Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New

Mexico – the only spot in the United States where four states

meet – is less than 80 miles away. Within a 150-mile radius of

the community are a variety of parks and recreational facilities.

Arizona is the home of Grand Canyon National Park with the

Vermillion Cliffs and Paria Canyon. Glen Canyon National

Recreation Area and Lake Powell are the result of the construction

of Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River. The pre-historic

Indian dwellings of Canyon de Chelly National

Monument, and the monoliths and arches of Monument

Valley, Rainbow Bridge National Monument and the Navajo

Scenic Area are nearby.