Explore Window Rock, Capital of the Navajo Nation
Whether you’re passing through on your way to another locale or this area is your destination, you’ll find plenty of historic, cultural, and scenic spots to visit in Window Rock, Arizona. The city serves as the capital and headquarters of the Navajo Nation, the largest sovereign Native American nation in the country.
Don’t miss the town’s namesake, a 200-foot sandstone arch set against an expansive stretch of Arizona sky. The arch serves as the centerpiece of the Window Rock Navajo Tribal Park & Veterans Memorial. A quarter-mile trail runs through the site, allowing visitors to get close to the arch. However, no climbing is permitted on the arch or nearby rocks.
According to Discover Navajo, the Window Rock arch was chosen as the site for the Navajo Nation Headquarters because of the area’s historical and cultural significance. Previously, a water pond sat right below the arch, and a Navajo medicine man would collect water to use in a Waterway Ceremony. This area is sacred to Navajo culture.
At the base of Window Rock, the Veteran’s Memorial honors the many Navajos who served in the US military. And the Navajo Zoo & Botanical Park houses displays of reptiles, mammals, amphibians, insects and birds native to the region. Next to the zoo, the Navajo Nation Museum and Library showcase Navajo culture and art.
If you’re in the mood to shop, don’t miss Window Rock’s Chi’hootso Marketplace and Flea Market near Highway 264 and Indian Route 12 by the Alon gas station. You’ll find contemporary and traditional Navajo jewelry, blankets, and tools. Bring your appetite and try tempting Navajo food, including frybread, Navajo tacos, mutton dishes, and Navajo tea.
If you’d like a date with Lady Luck, the Fire Rock Casino in nearby Church Rock, New Mexico, offers slots, table games, and bingo. According to their website, it was the first of many gaming locations within the Navajo Nation. When you’re ready for a bite, Cheii’s Restaurant serves Navajo food and pub favorites, or you can sample different American and Navajo cuisine in the food court.
Another nearby town, Gallup features numerous hiking trails, an annual rodeo, and bull riding championships each summer, and a monthly art walk that’s fun for the whole family. Make sure to add all of these sites to your list next time you visit Window Rock!