While many families are traveling across the country on vacation, one of the main attractions continues to be historic national parks in the Southwest. If you plan on visiting any area surround the Four Corners, you should make plans to stop at the one spot which will allow you and the kids to be in four states at one time. That spot is the Four Corners Monument. Here’s a list of five things to see and do in the Four Corners area, including Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah.
Four Corners Monument
Of course your first stop should be at the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Park which houses the monument. The Visitor Center is open year round, and is a great place to have lunch and browse the local Navajo vendors crafting and selling their traditional items. There’s no running water and it is very remote, so best to bring your own food, water and other supplies when visiting.
Location: Highway 160 and NM State Highway 597, set your GPS to Teec Nos Pos, AZ
Park fees: $3 per person, Free for ages 6 and younger
Hours of Operation: May 1 to Sept 30, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Daily
Oct 1 to April 30, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daily
Closed on major holidays ‘” Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years
Navajo Nation Botanical and Zoological Park
This is the only Native American Zoo in the U.S. They have over 100 animals of 50 different species which are native to the Navajo Nation. Most of the animals were orphaned or found injured. Families are welcome to enjoy the Zoo at no cost, to learn about the animals. Funding for the operation of the Zoo is provided by the government of the Navajo Nation and outside contributions.
Located in Window Rock, Arizona, on the border of AZ and NM; see their website for more information
Entrance fees: Admission is free to everyone
Hours: Mon to Sat, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and most major holidays
Durango Silver Company
The Durango Silver Company is considered to be one of the most historic Trading Posts of Native America jewelry in the American Southwest. The company is housed in a large log building with an interesting architectural arch of over 3,600 deer antlers to greet you at the front entrance.
17897 Hwy 160, Durango, CO 81301
Hours of Operation: Call ahead for hours
San Juan River
If you’re thinking about camping, hiking or paddling, the San Juan River provides the great outdoors. The river is 84 miles from Bluff, Utah to Clay Hills Utah. Guided tours on the San Juan River are restricted to those who have a permit. Check the website for more information from San Juan River Outfitters and the Northern Arizona University ‘” San Juan River Program. Permits are required for non-Navajos as this is a Federal Indian Reservation.
Location: see website, set your GPS to Bluff, Utah
Park Camping fees: $5 per person per night
Backcountry Hiking fees: $5 per person
Fishing and Hunting Licenses: contact the office ‘” Ph: 928.871.6451 or www.nndfw.org
Photography and Filming Permit ‘” see the website
Contact the park office at Four Corners Monument or Window Rock, AZ office to obtain permits for camping and hiking at 928.871.6647
Office Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
This park is said to be one of the most photographed points on the earth. The park has a beautiful 17 mile scenic drive, 3.2 mile hiking trail and a campground. There are many local tour companies who are approved to provide guided tours, see the website for more information. Nearby are the Visitor center and a small museum. While you’re there you’ll want to check out The View Hotel and Restaurant to see their intrinsic designs of Native American designers in addition to the history of the valley.
Location: set your GPS to Monument Valley, Utah
Entry Fees: $5 per person, Free for ages 9 and under
Hours: May 1 to Sept 30, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily; Scenic Drive hours are 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Oct 1 to Apr 30, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daily; Scenic Drive hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Thanksgiving Day: 8 a.m. to Noon, closed on New Years and Christmas day