Visiting and Traveling the Navajo Nation in an RV

Visiting and Traveling the Navajo Nation in an RV

 

Situated in the North Eastern corner of Arizona and spanning parts of Utah and New Mexico, the Navajo Nation (Naabeehó Bináhásdzo) is the largest Native American Reservation in the United States at 17,544,500 acres. The Navajo Nation comprises such breathtaking parks and vistas as Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Chaco Canyon, as well as several incredible National Monuments, such as Canyon de Chelly, Rainbow Bridge, and Navajo National Monument. And the greatest part... The Navajo Nation has no shortage of RV parks and wide open spaces

 

When visiting the Navajo Nation, the most important consideration is the body of laws and regulations that govern this beautiful nation and how to respect those. First among those is obtaining the proper permits for your visit online or at the Navajo Visitor Center. This includes the $20 vehicle pass and any additional back country hiking, camping, fishing, and commercial photography permits you may need.  

 

It is important to recognize that the Navajo Nation is a sovereign nation and follows different law and custom than other parts of the United States and Canada. Some of these regulations include prohibition of possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages and firearms; laws protecting against the removal of plants, minerals, and cultural artifacts from the land; and prohibitions against rock climbing, base jumping, drone operation, and entering sacred cultural sites that are off limits to outside visitors. Visiting with a clear understanding of these cultural courtesies is important to the Navajo in protecting and respecting the land and should be observed with care. 

 

Food, amenities, and travel can be a little challenging because of the size of the reservation and space between towns. Plan to stock up groceries at outer lying cities like Gallup, Flagstaff, or Farmington, or larger towns on reservation like Leupp, Window Rock, or Tuba City. Restaurants are few and far between but can be found in a pinch near museums, cultural centers, and casinos. It is also a good idea to rely on an old fashioned printed map rather than GPS or cell phone while traveling through the Navajo Nation. Plan on being disconnected from cell signal more often than being connected. 

Lastly... be sure to enjoy the beautiful culture of the living Navajo People.  The many art and culture centers and museums are a great place to begin and should be included in your visit. Ask before taking photos of people or entering areas that are not obviously open to the visiting public. Tip generously. Most of all, enjoy and engage with your surroundings. This living nation is a beautiful gem and the opportunity to visit is something that should not be passed up.