This drive forms a loop between Shiprock, Chinle, and Window Rock. One will traverse a range of elevations and plant ecozones from pinion-juniper woodland, ponderosa pine, and desert scrubland.
Navajo Nation Route 13
This 45 mile route goes by Shiprock Pinnacle and over the pass of the Lukachukai Mountains. At the end of NN 13, turn south onto NN 12 and then west on NN 64 to reach Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Part of NN64 forms the northern loop drive of the park.
This prominent landmark rises 1,800 feet above the desert plain on the Navajo Nation. A remnant of volcanic activity millions of years ago, Shiprock plays a significant role in Navajo religion, mythology, and tradition. It is a point of interest for photographers and several film productions and novels, including the movie "The Lone Ranger." The rock formation is near the community of Shiprock, home to the Northern Navajo Fair, the oldest and most traditional of the Nation's fairs, held every October.
At the pass of the Lukachukai Mountains is a scenic stop known as Buffalo Pass Overlook. To the east one can observe Shiprock Pinnacle and the San Juan Basin.
Photo by EMKotyk
Sheltered at the base of sheer red cliffs and in canyon wall caves are cliff dwellings and villages built between 350-1300 A.D. by Ancestral Puebloans. Visitors learn about Native American history from the earliest basketmakers to Navajo Indians, who still live and farm in the canyon. Tour the canyon individually (by vehicle along the North and South Rims), via special tours conducted by park rangers or by paid Navajo guide services.
Feel the old wooden floor give slightly and squeak beneath your feet as you enter the oldest, continuously operating trading post on the Navajo Nation. You will experience history first hand at Hubbell Trading Post. John Lorenzo Hubbell purchased a trading post here in 1878, ten years after Navajos returned to their homeland from their terrible exile at Bosque Redondo, Ft. Sumner, New Mexico. Hubbell family members operated this trading post until it was sold to the National Park Service in 1965. The trading post store is still active. Now operated by Western National Parks Association, a non-profit co-operating Association they carry-on the trading business the Hubbell family established.
Named after a particular rock formation, Window Rock functions as the capital of the Navajo Nation. Accommodations, restaurants and Native American arts and crafts are abundant here.
The Navajo Nation Museum is located in Window Rock and is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the rich and unique culture of the Navajo Nation.
Also worth visiting in Window Rock is the Veteran's Memorial Park and the Navajo Nation Zoo. The Veterans Memorial is located at the base of Window Rock and was built to honor the many Navajos who served in the U.S. military. The Navajo Zoo provides natural habitats for many animals which are native to the Navajo Nation.