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Navajo National Monument, Shonto

#34 of 144 in Historic Sites in Arizona
Ruin · Lookout
Navajo National Monument is a National Monument located within the northwest portion of the Navajo Nation territory in northern Arizona, which was established to preserve three well-preserved cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloan people: Keet Seel (Broken Pottery) (Kitsʼiil), Betatakin (Ledge House) (Bitátʼahkin), and Inscription House (Tsʼah Biiʼ Kin). The monument is high on the Shonto plateau, overlooking the Tsegi Canyon system, west of Kayenta, Arizona. It features a visitor center with a museum, three short self-guided trails, two small campgrounds, and a picnic area.

The Sandal Trail is an accessible self-guided 1.3 mi (2.1 km) roundtrip trail that ends at an overlook of the Betatakin ruins across the 560-foot-deep (170 m) Betatakin Canyon. The overlook is the only point in the monument where visitors can view the cliff dwelling other than on the guided tours. Rangers guide visitors on free (3-5 hour long) tours of the Betatakin cliff dwellings and on 17 mi (27 km) roundtrip back-country hikes to the Keet Seel. The Inscription House site, further west, has been closed to public access for many years.

The National Monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.
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Navajo National Monument reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
264 reviews
  • Beautiful easy hikes and fabulous ruins. Very well done guides to native plants. The gift shop was very fun to shop in and the rangers also helpful. Can wait till Keet Seal is open again. Make the...  more »
  • My teen loved our visit to the Navajo National Monument. There was virtually no one at this free federal site and we enjoyed the silence and great photo opportunities. We took the short walk to view.....  more »
  • Gorgeous, amazing experience. There are three trails. I had only enough time for two. The Canyon View trail is exactly that and leaves you with a lasting impression. The Sandal Trail leads to an overlook of the monument across an easy 1 mile paved path. The visitor center has plenty to read and learn.
  • Wonderful experience. Incredibly peaceful and awe-inspiring. There are picnic tables and a small museum of artifacts. The staff were friendly and knowledgeable. I wish we had more time to keep exploring!

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