Camping and hiking information with tips for parents
Navajo National Monument
This monument is one of the few I know of that does not charge admission fees. The location is convenient and the park staff is quite pleasant.
The facilities are excellent - but there isn't a great deal to do here if you have young kids who can't hike far.
Navajo National Monument has a lovely visitor center. You can find excellent displays of Indian artifacts and lovely photos. There is a fabricated Native American home in the visitor center and several fabricated smokehouses nearby. This park has no admission fees. Next door to the visitor center is a craft shop run by local Native Americans. The jewelry and Katchina dolls are quite impressive.
There are several places to enjoy a picnic in this park. Less than a mile from the visitor center is a free camping area with fire rings and picnic tables. This monument allows no wood fires - so bring charcoal if you want to BBQ. The back of the visitor center is cool and shady and has nice benches if you are looking for a comfortable place to sit.
Sandal Trail - The main ruin to be seen at this park is called the Betatakin. This ruin can be seen from quite a way off from an overlook less than .5 miles hike from the visitor center. Bring binoculars if you hope to see anything from here! You could use a stroller on this trail but I would recommend a backpack if you are carrying little ones.
Betatakin Trail - You can hike to Betatakin if you are willing to travel 7 grueling miles. I have not completed this hike but information at the visitor center made it clear that it was not a good hike for a three year old.
Aspen Overlook Forest Trail - This trail is only .8 miles round trip but is a bit strenuous. The first half of the hike is down into the canyon - and the return trip is straight back up again. There are no ruins visible from this trail but the various kinds of vegetation growing side by side in this area make it quite interesting. This trail is not for strollers or wheelchairs.
is free here. The campgrounds were very nice a few years ago when I paid
a visit to this park. On this visit the campgrounds were closed for repairs.
Fortunately, there is also an overflow area above the park and we were
able to camp.
This park is a convenient
free stop for travelers in Arizona. The park is located in northern Arizona
and is a comfortable drive from the GrandCanyon,
Flagstaff, SunsetCrater and Wupatki
National Monuments, Monument Valley, Hovenweep
National Monument, and more!