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Dine' Tah

Basics
Length:
100.3 miles (161 km)
Time:
3 hours
Fees:
There are fees for commercial campgrounds and guided tours.

Description

The Dine' Tah "Among the People" Scenic Road consists of two roads in the Navajo Nation, from Chinle east to the NM border, and from Lupton north through Window Rock to the NM border. Telling the history of the Navajo Nation with cliffside dwellings and cliff art, the Dine'Tah gives a picture of what life was like centuries past. The route passes massive limestone arches carved into the rugged desert outback, and mountain peaks enveloped in pine forests and canyons. Spend the entire day driving or hiking the area to get a full picture of the different aspects of the Navajo culture.

The town of Chinle, with history dating back to the mid 19th Century, is also the gateway to the Canyon de Chelly National Monument, home to several Anasazi ruins. The first roadside view is Massacre Cave Overlook, named for its dark history of a Spanish assault on Navajo women and children. From this overlook, visitors see a soaring cliff-ledge, broken in places by the green of a few hardy trees that tenaciously remain among the cliffs. Continue on horseback along the southern rim of the national monument where several more overlooks allow impressive views of the ruins, streams and vegetation in the canyon's bottom.

Hike along the narrow canyon pathways and admire the leaping antelope that adorn the cliff walls at the Antelope House Ruins. Many of the other ruins can be viewed either on foot or horseback on an old Anasazi trail from the Canyon's edge; the view along the canyon is immense. As the sunlight reflects off the white plastered walls of the cliffs, the ruins stand out and are clearly seen from the bottom of the trail. Visit the town of Window Rock to visit the Navajo Tribal Headquarters and as you hike the mile and a half trail to the dramatic arch, take in the dramatic view of the protruding red rocks around the town. The famous landmark claims prominence as one of only four areas where Navajo medicine men sought water for the Tohee or Waterway ceremony.

Visit the century old building of St. Michael's Mission, located above a verdant meadow on the slopes of Black Creek Valley. One of the earliest schools and missions, it was constructed to serve the Navajo people and the only Catholic school on the Navajo Nation. Now a museum, the building houses exhibits about the region's missionary and reservation life at the turn of the 19th century. The town of St. Michaels offers information and opportunities to tour many of the regional historic sites and purchase a souvenir of your trip.

Open land stretches out, accented with striking rock formations that break the endless sky along the byway. Full of stunning canyon art and the remnants of an ancient Navajo culture, see countless wonders along the Diné Tah "Among the People" Road.

Points of Interest

Points of Interest Along The Way

Antelope Ruins (AZ)

Ancient ruins of the Anasazi, named for the pictures of antelope on the cliff walls near the ruins.

Canyon de Chelly Monument (AZ)

Canyon de Chelly National Monument encompasses several ancient Indian ruins as well as museum exhibits featuring the cultural history of the area. Located at the base of sheer red cliffs and within canyon wall caves are the ruins of several Indian villages built between AD 350 and 1300. Visitors to Canyon de Chelly National Monument have an opportunity to learn about local Southwestern Indian history through the centuries as it ranges from the earliest basketmakers to the Navajo Indians who live and farm here today.

Chinle (AZ)

Chinle is a small but important Navajo city with a history dating back many years.

St. Michael's Mission (AZ)

Small city and location of one of the earliest schools and missions constructed to serve the Navajo people. Today it also includes a museum displaying early artifacts used by the priests and nuns.

Tsaile (AZ)

Tsaile is the home of the main branch of Dine' College, the oldest and largest tribally controlled college.

White House Ruins (AZ)

These ruins are what is left of the home of one group of the Anasazi, the "Ancient Ones" of the Navajo.

Details

Length:
100.3 miles (161 km)
Time:
3 hours
Main Roads:
Indn Route 12
Fees:
There are fees for commercial campgrounds and guided tours.

Map + Directions

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