Navajo National Monument is in northern Arizona within the Navajo Nation. The monument was established in 1909 with the purpose of preserving the remains of the Keet Seel, Betatakin, and Inscription House pueblos. These pueblos were built by ancestral Puebloans and date back to the 13th century. These pueblos were constructed in natural alcoves in the Navajo Sandstone Formation.
During the peak season, the monument offers guided tours which lead visitors to the cliff dwellings. The five-mile long Betatakin tour takes hikers close to the Betatakin dwellings, however, visitors aren’t permitted in the village due to hazards. The 17-mile Keet Seel tour can be done in one or two days with the option to stay overnight at a designated campground. Once at Keet Seel, visitors will be taken into the village to explore. In addition to the tours, there are three self-guided hiking trails at Navajo National monument. These trails are about one mile long and each have their own areas of interest.
There are two campgrounds at Navajo National Monument, Sunset View and Canyon View. Sunset View Campground can accommodate RVs up to 28 feet. Tent camping only is permitted at Canyon View. Both campgrounds rarely are completely filled and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Pets are allowed in the campground and monument parking lots. No pets are allowed on trail with the exception of service animals.
Navajo National Monument is located in northern Arizona. The monument is about nine miles off of Highway 160 at the end of AZ Highway 564. There is no WiFi or cell service at or near the park. Ensure you have downloaded directions if using a maps application.
The monument roads are paved, including Sunset View Campground. It should be a smooth drive into the park even for those with a trailer in tow. Visitors will need to drive to the trailhead for some hikes and guided tours.
Come to the monument with plenty of food and water, especially if you're planning to hike. Kayenta is the nearest community to the monument with services and supplies, though it’s about a 30 minute drive.
Located near the visitor center, Sunset View Campground has 31 campsites which are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The campground is open year-round. The roads at Sunset View are paved, making it smooth to navigate. RVs and trailers up to 28 feet can be accommodated.
There are no hookups at any campsites, though there is potable water at the campground to be used for cooking and filling water jugs. Each campsite has a charcoal grill and a picnic table. This campground has restrooms.
Canyon View cannot accommodate RVs or trailers due to the narrow, unpaved road. Tent camping only is permitted at this campground with 14 sites. It is open seasonally from April to September.
While this campground is primitive, there are composting toilets and each campsite has a picnic table and charcoal grill as well as parking.
The Sandal Trail is one mile long round trip. This paved trail is a great hike for all ages and skill levels. At the end of the trail, hikers will have a view of the Betatakin Cliff Dwellings built by ancestral Puebloans. Aside from the guided tours, this is the only trail at the monument where these dwellings can be seen.
This unpaved trail is considered to be strenuous with an elevation loss and gain of about 300 feet. The Aspen Trail is about 0.8 miles round trip and is unpaved.
Visitors who hike this trail will see the Quaking Aspen and Douglas Fir relict forest. While the views are certainly well-worth the short hike, there are no views of the cliff dwellings from this trail.
The Canyon View Trail leads hikers from the visitor center to the historic ranger station at the monument. The trail is just under one mile round trip and it connects the visitor center to Canyon View Campground. While there are views and points of interest along this trail, there are no views or access to the Puebloan cliff dwellings.
The Betatakin Cliff Dwelling Tour is five miles round trip. Reservations aren’t required, but there is a 25 person maximum for each tour. The strenuous hike begins at the Tsegi Point Trail. The duration of the tour is about five hours. While Betatakin tours get close to see the village and its dwellings, the tour group does not enter the village due to falling rocks.
The Keet Seel Cliff Dwelling Tour is a strenuous backcountry hike. This 17-mile round trip hike can be completed in one day or hikers can stay overnight at the designated campground near Keet Seel. The hike has steep canyon switchback trails and sand dunes.
After heavy rains, the terrain can turn into quicksand in some areas of the trail. Once you arrive at Keet Seel, a backcountry ranger will take small groups into the village for a tour. Reservations are required for this tour and each hiker must attend a mandatory orientation.
When you arrive at the monument your first stop should be the visitor center. The Navajo National Monument Visitor Center has a museum with several artifacts from the cliff dwellings. Additionally a park store is located within the visitor center where you can pick up books and other souvenirs or gifts. The visitor center is also where you can find information about the monument including hikes and guided tours.