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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

Navajo Area

Area Activities

Biking dot Camping dot Fishing dot Hiking/Climbing dot Hunting dot Sightseeing dot Skiing


picture of two bicyclists If biking is your choice for fun, walk out your backyard, get out your bike and put one foot in front of the other. Seriously, many of our locations are out in the middle of the reservation among many scenic delights. Chinle sits on the rim of Canyon de Chelly with its limitless vistas, bike the rim or get to know one of the local Natives and bike the valley to your hearts content. At Tuba City the Grand Canyon is within biking distance (it would be a long ride, but many love this kind of challenge). Kayenta has the beautiful Lake Powell (said to have the beauty of Yosemite under all the water) and Monument Valley close enough to take a break at any time and spend the day. The reservation is huge so take advantage and enjoy the beauty of it all


The Navajo Area is located in the 4 corners area which is located between the mountains of Colorado and Utah and the low deserts of Arizona and New Mexico. The Navajo reservation itself is a high plateau desert climate, which is ideal for year around activities especially camping. A high plateau desert normally receives 12 inches of precipitation or less annually and therefore has very few insects and mild weather. The mild climate facilitates tent camping and backpacking in this area like no other in the US.

a view through a hole in a rock There are over 30 National Parks in the area which offer camping sites and include such famous locations as the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion. Just exploring and hiking through the interior of the Grand Canyon will require extensive time. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is a unique geological area of great beauty, which is only accessed by 10% of the tourists that visit the Park. The mountains of Southern Colorado and southern Utah have extensive National Forest holdings with many campgrounds and open camping areas for incredible scenery in the summer season. The opportunity for backpacking into a wilderness area in any of these 4 states is the adventure of a lifetime. The Gila Wilderness in southern NM is over 750,000 acres by itself and is low enough for 3-season use. The golden aspen in September in Colorado or Northern NM is a trip that draws campers from throughout the US. The opportunities for hiking, biking, exploring, fishing, and just kicking back could take a lifetime to experience.

The area around Moab, Utah is around 4000 feet elevation so it is an excellent location almost year around. It is a great area for a raft trip on the Colorado River and contains Arches National Park and Canyonlands NP, which are areas of incredible beauty with extensive camping possibilities. Camping or house-boating on Lake Powell is a national attraction.

In the wintertime, a trip to the low desert to see the Saguaro country around Tucson and southern Arizona is a camping trip that many people plan as their annual vacation. It is also a great way to getaway from the snow and cold as it rarely freezes in this low desert. While most of these trips may require a drive of 150-200 miles, that is part of the adventure of the West that calls to the spirit of the true camper.



people fishing on lake Although the Navajo reservation and surrounding area is considered a desert, it is one of the better fishing areas in the country. The reservation is a high plateau desert with elevations in excess of 9000 feet and is primarily a trout-fishing destination. There are 12 lakes on the reservation that has trout in them and several such as Wheatfields, Tsaile, Whiskey, and Long Lakes are the best in Arizona. Just a reminder about the elevation, these lakes will be iced over 3- 4 months of the year. There are 4 lakes that have bass and catfish and these can be good during the short summer season. One of the real advantages of the Navajo reservation is that it is a considerable distance from major population centers, although people will drive the 200 miles to fish here in the prime parts of the year. These lakes are not large (30 -400 acres) but are in beautiful surroundings. There are some small streams on the reservation but limited on fishing potential.

The nearby White River Apache reservation and the White Mountain area of Arizona is a resort area with many people traveling the 200 miles from Phoenix to fish there for trout in the lakes and some streams. Although most of the lakes are small again, they are in areas of incredible beauty.

If one wants stream action then the boundary of the reservation has some of the best in the US with the San Juan in New Mexico and the Delores and Animas in southern Colorado and the Colorado river (Lees Ferry) in Arizona. All of these rivers are nationally known and people drive from up to 1000 miles away to fish them in the prime seasons. You can look them up on the Internet for more information. Southern Colorado has so many small streams and small lakes as to defy description in a brief review such as this one. Summer is the best time there and the camping there can be wonderful during that season.

If you like big lakes then certainly Lake Powell and Navajo Lake will be well known to you. Lake Powell is one of the most beautiful and biggest lakes in the US and has most every species of warm-water fish in abundance. The red rock cliffs and blue water hold many visitors so spell bound as to not get much fishing done. These lakes are close to or on the Navajo reservation.


Hiking & Climbing

climber on side of a rock Hiking in the Great Southwest is one of its major attractions. Not only are there unlimited trails and country to explore but also geographic and climactic changes beyond compare. In addition there is the chance to experience this beauty in relative solitude, the only companions being the abundance of flora and fauna.

Within easy access one can hike in all of the seven distinct life zones of North America except tropical:
Lower Sonoran: below 5,000 feet
Upper Sonoran: 5,000-7,000 feet
Transition: 7,000-8,000 feet
Canadian: 8,000-10,000 feet
Subalpine: 10,000-12,000 feet
Alpine: above 12,000 feet
Each of these zones has its distinct blend of topography, weather, animal and plant life.

The Southwest has huge expanses of federal land designated for public use. For example Arizona has six national forest districts and New Mexico has five such areas. In addition the states of the four corners region (Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona) have several wilderness areas (accessible only by foot or horseback) along with national monuments to explore.

For anyone interested in taking a leisurely scenic walk or bagging the highest peaks, living in the Southwest offers unlimited hiking opportunities.



view of ranch The Four Corners area is one of the most diverse hunting areas in the United States and is an international travel destination for many hunters. The states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and especially Colorado represent excellent opportunities to get afield and are so extensive in opportunity that the state game and fish department should be called for detailed information. The Navajo Reservation itself is an excellent hunting area with several mountain ranges with elevations up to 9000 feet and over 500,000 acres of forested area. Hunting can be almost a year around activity here due to the variety of habitat and topography. The year would start with Spring Turkey season, which is available on the Navajo Reservation and all the states surrounding the reservation. In most locations except New Mexico, the permits are allocated by drawing which means fewer hunters in the field and covers some beautiful mountainous areas during April and May. Small game seasons start in September including dove, grouse, bandtail pigeon, teal season, and squirrel with the quail seasons starting in October in most states. In fact, Arizona has quail hunting into late February in some of the most beautiful desert country in the world. Seasons for pheasant are usually short and begin in November.

The big game seasons start in September also with archery deer and antelope hunts in all states and on the Navajo Reservation. The rifle hunts for mule deer and elk are the big draws to the Four Corners area as many Boone and Crockett records for both elk and mule deer have come from this area. In fact, the nearby Indian Reservations such as the White River Apache and Jicarilla Apache boast the best elk and deer hunting in the country but are very expensive. The Navajo reservation is also quite good and is a lot less expensive. Bear hunting is available on the Navajo reservation, which is better than the surrounding states but never a sure bet. This part of the country does not have a lot of antelope hunting and it is difficult to get drawn for a license but it is well represented in the B&C records. Sheep hunting is also limited in opportunity in all 4 states and it is very difficult to get drawn for one of the once in lifetime licenses. Another little known hunting opportunity exists for Coues Whitetail and Javelina in both New Mexico and Arizona, which are available for both archery and rifle hunts.

Although it is not a well recognized fact, there is a considerable amount of waterfowl hunting that goes on the Four Corners area whether on the reservation or in the surrounding states. Primarily located in the Pacific flyway, the area has both resident folks of geese and ducks and a fall migration going through the area just before freeze up. The season runs from October through mid January usually.

Regardless of success ratios, it truly can be said that hunting in this part of the country can be the adventure of a lifetime in some of the most beautiful country in the US.



view of Window Rock The Navajo Area provides great opportunities to explore and view the wonderful geological structures this territory has to offer. Some of these natural creations provide astonishing spectacles of what nature has created. In addition to the views, it is interesting to realize the historical and cultural significance of some of these natural phenomenons.

Monument Valley consists of world famous monuments such as the Mittens, Totem Pole, and the Three Sisters. This area extends approximately 100 miles south of the Canyonlands in Utah.

At the Navajo Area Office, the town of Window Rock, Arizona is named for its monumental rock wall. The particular “window”, which is seen through the face of the wall, has been said to represent a venue through which the tribal leaders communicate with the heavens. An ever-burning torch provides an overall notion of a spirtual setting for the tribal administrative center. While admiring the natural beauty of the magnificent natural cliff, you get a sense of why this peculiarity once played an important part in Navajo celebrations.



view of skier ANGEL FIRE SKI AREA:
Location: 26 miles northeast of Taos (150 miles north of Albuquerque; 270 miles northeast of Gallup; 189 miles east of Shiprock). Season; Dec 12- Apr5. Snowfall: 140îaverage annual; snowmaking on 50% of mountain. Mountain Stats: Vertical Drop: 2,180; Terrain: Beginners 40%, Intermediate 45%, Advance 15%. 6 Lifts. Packages/Lodging 800/446-8117. Snow Phone: 800/633-7463.

Location: 36 miles northeast of Taos (165 miles north of Albuquerque; 175 miles east of Shiprock; 280 miles northeast of Gallup; 162 miles east of Crownpoint) Season: December 13-March 31 Snowfall: 188î average annual; snowmaking on 75% of mountain. Mountain stats: Ver Lodging: 1-800-348-6444. Snow Phone 505-754-2223

Location: 16 miles northwest of Ruidoso (60 miles north of Alamagordo); 260 miles east of Gallup. Season: November ñ April 19. Snowfall: 180î average annual; snowmaking on 33% of lower mountain. Mountain Stats: Vertical Drop: 1,900. Terrain: Beginners, 25%, Intermediate, 39%, Advance, 45%. 10 Lifts. Lodging available through Inn of the Mountain Gods, 1-800-545-9001.

Location: Twenty minutes from Santa Fe; 165 miles east of Shiprock; 175 miles northeast of Gallup; 125 miles east of Crownpoint; Private shuttle service available from Santa Fe ski area. Season: November 28- April 12. Snowmaking on 30% of the mountain. Mountain Stats: Vertical Drop: 1,650. Terrain: Beginners, 20%; Intermediate, 40%; Advance, 40%. 7 lifts. Packages: 1-800-982-SNOW; in New Mexico 505-983-8200. Snow Phone: 505-983-9155.

Location: About 20 miles from the town of Taos: 180 miles east of Shiprock. 145 miles east of Crown Point; 265 miles northeast of Gallup. Season: November 28 ñ April 5. Snowfall: 312î average annual; snowmaking on 85% of Beginners and Intermediate terrain. Mountain Stats: Vertical Drop: 2,612; Terrain: Beginners, 24%; Intermediate, 25%; Advance, 51%. 10 Lifts. Packages/Lodging: 1-800-821-2437. Snow Phone: 505-776-2916.

Location: 45 Minute drive from downtown Albuquerque; 121 miles east of Gallup; 250 miles east southeast of Shiprock; Season: December 14 ñ March 15; Snowfall: 183' average annual; snowmaking on 30 acres; Mountain Stats Vertical Drop: 1,700. Terrain: Beginners, 35%; Intermediate, 55% Advance, 10%. 6 Lifts. Lodging: 1-800-284-2282. Snow Phone: 505-242-9052

Location: 28 miles north of Durango; 93 miles northeast of Shiprock; 174 miles north of Gallup; 228 miles of Tuba City. Season: November 28 - April 5; Snowfall: 300' average annual; snowmaking on 100 acres. Mountain Stats: Vertical Drop: 2,029. Terrain: Beginners, 20%; Intermediate, 50% Advance, 30%. 9 Lifts. Lodging: 1-800-525-0892. Snow Phone: 1-800-525-0892.

Location: 6 miles east of Telluride Regional Airport; 298 miles east northeast of Tuba City; 230 miles east of Kayenta; 270 east of Chinle; 230 miles north of Crownpoint; 240 miles north of Ft. Defiance and Gallup; 165 miles east of Shiprock and Dzilth; Season: November 27 - April 5. Snowfall: 300î average annual. Mountain Stats: 43 trails. Vertical Drop 3,522. Terrain: Beginners, 24%; Intermediate, 51%; Advance, 25%. 10 Lifts. Lodging 1-800-525-3455, in Colorado, 303-728-4431. Snow Phone: 303-728-3614.

Location: 63 miles west of Alamosa; 80 miles east of Durango; 173 miles northeast of Shiprock; 255 miles north of Gallup; 310 miles east of Tuba City; 281 miles northeast of Chinle; Season: November 8 ñ Early April. Snowfall 465î average annual. Mountain Stats: vertical Drop: 1,425. Terrain: Beginners, 20%; Intermediate, 35%; advance 45%. 6 Lifts. Lodging Referral Referral/Snow Phone: 303-731-5605.