10 Amusing Things To Do In Shiprock New Mexico

6 mins read
Shiprock Peak
By: Ben Townsend/flickr/ All Rights Reserved

Shiprock New Mexico is an inselberg standing nearly 800 feet over the Navajo Nation’s high desert plain in San Juan County, New Mexico. It is considered sacred for them, governed by the Navajo Nation and occupied by the old Pueblo.

Shiprock is the most prominent landmark in northwestern New Mexico. A prehistoric Native American culture of Southwest U.S. Shiprock was announced as a National Natural Landmark in 1975 by National Park Service.

Shiprock is known as “Tsé Bit’ A’í” or “the winged rock” to the Navajo. Its tip rests at 7,178 feet above sea level; the Shiprock pinnacle is visible 30 to 50 miles from the peak and is at the core of three volcanic pressure ridges that has pushed the skyward rock millenniums ago. Shiprock formation is the epitome of what is called a diacree.

Shiprock New Mexico has been used as setting for several film productions from 1946 western, ‘My Darling Clementine’ starring Henry Fonda. The name Shiprock comes from early pioneers who settled in the area and believed the peak on the rock had the shape of a clipper-style peak.

Things To Do In Shiprock New Mexico Guide For You

1. Shiprock Peak:

Shiprock, New Mexico
By: Joseph Novak/Flickr @All Rights Reserved

The name Shiprock comes from a bird named Shiprock as the rock formation resembles the bird wings, which can be observed from any direction.

Shiprock is an imposing, birds-like volcanic formation that can be observed from almost any direction. The ridge rises 7,178 above sea level and forms the center of three volcanic pressure ridges that sent rocks higher in the sky thousands of years ago.

As this rock formation is sacred in the Navajo culture – hiking or climbing Shiprock and its surrounding rocks are banned as it is considered a sacred peak to the Navajo people. Also, a climber tragic accident in 1970 caused the Navajo Nation to ban rock climbing.

Please view and photograph the pinnacle from the paved roadway (Paved Indian Service Route 13 or U.S. Highway 491). There are no facilities in the vicinity, and overnight camping is not allowed. Visit Google maps for directions.

Nearby attractions:

Farmington is a good base for exploring the region, so it is vital to consider this city for a 2-3 days stay. Shiprock New Mexico takes you several hours to visit, and it should be a point of interest to stay up for a few days.

Navajo Nation:

The Navajo Nation governs Shiprock formation, and since 1975 Shiprock has been a National Natural Landmark and the most prominent one in northwestern New Mexico. Navajo Nation is a sacred place. The Shiprock plays an essential role in Navajo religion, myth, and tradition. Ancient Pueblo People occupy this area and are located in the center.

2. Ship rock and Royal Arch:

Royal Arch, also known as Cove Arch, is a scarcely visited but Arizona’s most staggering architectural structure. Shiprock is often photographed, but Royal Arch is hardly seen. If you are traveling between Lake Forest Farmington (Twin Trees Badlands/Sweet Mountains) and Canyon de Chelly, you must visit the Royal Arc.

Royal Arch is a sunrise point. So, it gets early light, and it can be amazingly photographed at dawn. Royal Arch is in Navajo Nation, and you’ll require a permit if you want to hike there.

3. Trip to Four Corners Monument:

The Four Corners monument is an eccentric point where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet, which indirectly means that you are in four different states simultaneously. One can combine their trip to Ship rock in New Mexico with four Corner Monuments in Southwestern U.S.

The existing flatness of the Four Corners region is resulted by dozens of jagged, black peaks, once the magma depths of the prehistoric volcanoes, which have been abandoned long after the smoother surrounding rock crumbled off.

Royal Arch, seen from its southwest corner Royal Arch, also known as Cove Arch, is a superb rarely visited destination in the four corners area. This free-standing arch sits at 7,100 feet, well above the surrounding terrain.

The 1912 original marker was an unadorned cement mat which is now redone in granite and brass. The park is open for six months during summer and imparts a demonstration center featuring Navajo artists. You can spot Navajo selling handmade jewelry, crafts, and local Navajo food.

4. Morgan Lake:

Morgan Lake is spread over 1200-acres on the Navajo Reservation. One can experience Windsurfing and fishing in 75-degree water. For the mentioned fishing, a special fishing license is required. Morgan Lake is used as a source of a cooling pond for the APS power plant.

Fishes like Largemouth Bass, Channel Catfish, and Spotted Bass are found here. One can visit here after visiting Four Corners Monument as both these places are close to each other.

5. Hiking in Bisti Badlands:

Bisti Badlands
By: John Fowler/Flickr @All Rights Reserved

Bisti was created through water deposition by rivers, seas, and swamps over 550 million years and shaped over the last 2 million years by erosion and deposition. Bisti Badlands is considered as part of the San Juan Basin.

People interested in hiking should not miss this place, not only hikers but also an attraction for photographers and explorers from around the world. The main crowd-pleasers of Bisti Badlands are the hoodoos, desert spires, natural arches, and unique fossils.

Traveling along the Bisti Badlands Wilderness is like entering a remote primeval world of bizarre rock formations and desolate desert. Reaching any trail is very difficult.

6. Flowing Water Casino:

Flowing Water Casino is only 5 miles away in the East from Shiprock New Mexico. Flowing Water Casino is a hub of Navajo’s historical traditional heritage art and architecture.

Flowing water offers gripping and unforgettable games, and your winning is in the hands of an electric bingo system. Flowing water is a fantastic blend of culture and games.

7. Riverview Golf Course:

This Golf course was built nearly 60 years ago by El Paso Natural Gas Company. The park was built in parkland style on flat terrain. This course was later donated to San Juan College, and they converted it into an 18 hole golf course.

One can enjoy a Links-style course on natural terrain and beautiful vistas of Shiprock New Mexico and the surrounding area. Golfers of all ages play here and are also provided with training

8. Sage Hill Bed & Breakfast:

The name Sage Hill is given after the piece of land it stands on. The restaurant is settled among amazing coral-colored sandstones, and behind it rests the Chuska Mountains in Red Valley, Ariz. It offers a variety of down-to-earth amenities surrounded by eye-pleasing natural vicinity of silver-green sage and pinon trees etched against the rolling hills with a fresh breeze of air.

This place is filled with numerous books, which people can read. The colorful terrain of Red Valley turns into a picture-perfect retreat that rejuvenates your mind, soul, and body. You’ll quench yourself.

You’ll find ultimate sheer relaxation with hints of cultural beauty at Sage Hill B&B. Peace and tranquility are at their best here. It’s a mingling of modern luxury and the Navajo tradition. It’s undoubtedly a hidden haven of solace.

9. Chaco Canyon National Historical Park:

Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Shiprock New Mexico
By: GPA Photo Archive/Flickr @All Rights Reserved

Chaco Culture National park is like a landscape that captures the imagination of the moon or a prehistoric past of the dinosaurs. The Bisti Beast, an early tyrannosaur, first cousin of the noted Tyrannosaur Rex, was discovered in this park by Paul Sealey in the year 1997. The Bisti Beast was excavated at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Chaco Canyon National Historical Park is located 105 miles southeast of Shiprock New Mexico. Chaco Culture National Historical Park safeguards a prime center of inherited Puebloan culture dating between 850 and 1250 CE. Chaco is an extraordinary place.

10. Where to stay when visiting Shiprock in New Mexico?

The Navajo Nation forbids camping in the area. But visiting Shiprock is something you don’t want to miss. So, staying in Farmington is the best decision.

One such resort is Best Western Plus the Four Corners Inn. It has sizeable, spotless rooms and good service. The hotel offers furnished rooms with free Wi-Fi and a cable T.V. It has the provision of an indoor pool and a jacuzzi.

You will also find shopping spots and various restaurants in Farmington too. In addition, it’s a great spot not only for visiting Shiprock but also for exploring this particular part of New Mexico.

Shiprock New Mexico in Short:

Shiprock New Mexico is an excellent spot to let your adventurous side out, accompanied by the Navajo Culture and Navajo people. The Winter months are a great time to visit Shiprock.

One can explore the nearby Framington town and the museums there. You’ll find a mix of wildlife and cliffs to explore on, lakes, and some hiking to do.

Make sure you stay energized and hydrated throughout your trip to Shiprock New Mexico.

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