The Navajo National Monument covers 360 acres on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Northeastern Arizona. The monument contains some of the best Anasazi ruins on the Colorado Plateau. The Navajo National Monument has numerous trails and a visitor center. Once you are in the monument you will need to hike in order to see the Indian ruins. There are no scenic drives in the monument, however there are four hiking trails.
The Betatakin Trail is a strenuous five-mile hike to the Betatakin ruins. Betatakin means, “house on a ledge”. This trail gives hikers a view of a group of dwellings clinging to the Tsegi Canyon wall. Betatakin was built and abandoned between 1250 B.C. and 1300 B.C. Hikers need to plan on four to five hours to hike this trail. These cliff dwellings can also be viewed at an overlook when taking the Sandal Trail. Tickets are required in order to take the Betatakin Trail. These tickets are handed out on a first come, first serve basis. Hikers need to be present on the morning of the hike to receive one of the twenty-five tickets available daily.
The Keet Seel Trail is a 17-mile round trip hike. Keet Seel is the largest cliff dwelling. You will need a reservation and a backcountry permit to embark on this hike. This hike will take an entire day to complete. You may call 520-672-2366 for more information on gaining a permit for this hike.
The Sandal Trail is a smooth one-mile round trip hike to the Betatakin overlook. Be sure to bring binoculars to see the dwellings. It will take approximately one hour to travel this trail round trip. This trail is wheelchair accessible.
The Aspen Trail is a steep one-mile hike to an overlook of the Betatakin Canyon’s Aspen forest. It is important to call ahead for more information on all of these hikes.
The monument is open every day, all year round. There is no admission charge, however donations are appreciated. No food or gas is available at the monument. Camping is available on a first come, first serve basis. However, there are no water hookups. Pets are not allowed on the trails or the backcountry. They are allowed on paved roads with a leash.
The visitor center is open daily. The center includes a museum, gift shop and bookstore. The museum has exhibits featuring artifacts found in the surrounding dwellings. There are restrooms available at the visitor center, along with picnic areas.
You can get to the Navajo National Monument from Tucson or Phoenix by taking Interstate 17 north out of town to Flagstaff. Once you are in Flagstaff take U.S. Highway 89 north out of town. When you get to U.S. Highway 160 take it traveling east to the monument. You will follow the signs along U.S. 160 to the Navajo National Monument. If you would like more information on the monument, you may call 520-672-2366 or 520-672-2367.