Navajo National Monument preserves three intact cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloan people. A visitor center, museum, three short self-guided trails, two small campgrounds, and a picnic area provide service to families.
Navajo National Monument is located about 10 miles off Hwy 160, the main highway crossing the Navajo Nation in Arizona. Navajo Nation is quite beautiful but is also mostly desolate. Navajo National Monument is a small National Monument protecting three Ancestral Pueblo cliff dwellings in the Tsegi Canyon area. You can tour the dwellings with a ranger but advanced reservations are recommended for the Betatakin dwelling and reaching it involves a fairly strenuous five-mile round-trip hike which is offered at 8:15 and 10AM during the summer season. The Keet Seel dwelling is accessed via a 17-mile hike. And it is hot out there in the summer. So chances are, you and the kids aren't gonna be up for that one. So what is the best option for the average family? Grab a Junior Ranger booklet. Visit the museum and watch the park video. Then head outside and look at the dinosaur tracks that are imprinted in sandstone. Then take the 1.3 mile, round-trip hike on the Sandal Trail to the overlook which will give you nice views of the Betatakin dwelling framed by a sandstone arch. If you have binoculars, definitely bring those because you will able to see things better.
Good to know:
- The monument is free to enter. Score!
- This is a small monument. There are no food or drink concessions but there is a complimentary water bottle refill station so be sure to bring your reusable container. It was quite warm during our August visit.
- There is are two campgrounds at the monument. Both are free and don't need/require reservations.