Tuba City is in the western portion of the Navajo

Reservation. The written history of the town goes back more

than 200 years. When Father Francisco Garcés visited the area

in 1776, he recorded that the Indians were cultivating crops.

The town was settled by Mormons in the late 1870s, but in

1903 it was discovered that the town was built on Indian land,

and the U.S. government bought out the improvements. Tuba

City was made the headquarters of the western Navajo

Agency. The first boarding school was built in the community

at that time.


Tuba City is at the junction of state Highway 264 and U.S.

160, about 80 miles northeast of Flagstaff, at an elevation of

approximately 5,000 feet.

Today, the community is an urban center within the Tuba

City Chapter, a local government unit of the reservation. As an

administrative and educational center, Tuba City has developed

rapidly and has been designated a major “growth center” on

the Navajo Reservation by the tribal government.


There are various theories about who chose the name

“Tuba,ª” but most agree it came from the Hopi word “Toova.”

The Navajo name for Tuba City, “Tonanesdizi” or “tangled

waters,” probably refers to the many springs below the surface

of the ground which are the source of several reservoirs. The

springs of Tuba City have made it the oasis of the surrounding

desert country.


Services, mining and public administration are the largest economic

sectors. Public Health, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the

public schools are the principal employers in the Tuba City



Tuba City is diversifying its economic activities. The Tuba

City Shopping Center project, consisting of 48,000 square

feet, is occupied by Bashas' Supermarket, Silver Screen

Theater, The General Store, Waldo’s Pizza, Video Unlimited,

and Super K Exxon Station.


There are numerous Navajo Tribal and National Parks in the

vicinity of Tuba City. These include Grand Canyon National

Park, Navajo National Park, Sunset Crater National Monument,

Wupatki National Monument, Glen Canyon National

Recreation Area, Monument Valley Tribal Park, and Rainbow

Bridge National Monument.


There are also three overnight camping areas in the community

with hook-ups for campers. Pasture Canyon Reservoir

and Mohave Reservoir offer good fishing. The Navajo Western

Fair is held annually in late October.