Shiprock New Mexico serves as a popular destination among travelers who are exploring the Southwest. This has something to do with the town’s location in the Four Corners region. Shiprock is actually the closest New Mexico town to the Four Corners Monument. It also offers proximity to such regional attractions as Mesa Verde National Park, Monument Valley, and Grand Canyon National Park. Even closer to town is the eponymous rock formation that inspired its name.
Town of Shiprock New Mexico
The town of Shiprock New Mexico is commonly referred to as a census-designated place. It is the largest settlement in the entire Navajo Nation territory, boasting a population of approximately 8,000 people, and comprises part of the Farmington Metropolitan Statistical Area. Among the main fixtures in the town of Shiprock is the Dine College campus. This college was formerly known as Navajo Community College, and it has a total of seven different Navajo Nation campuses. Also found in Shiprock are a Bureau of Indian Affairs agency, a Chapter House for the Navajo, an Indian Health Service hospital, and a branch of the Farmington Public Library. Shiprock’s location at the intersection of Highway 64 and Highway 491 help to explain its popularity as a travel stop. Also helping to attract visitors to Shiprock is the annual Northern Navajo Fair, which takes place in October.
Shiprock – The Winged Rock
Shiprock – The Winged Rock
As mentioned in the opening paragraph, the town of Shiprock New Mexico takes its name from a nearby rock formation. The Shiprock rock formation, which is also commonly referred to as the "Rock with Wings" or "Winged Rock," is approximately 13 miles southwest of town. It is the most prominent landmark in New Mexico’s northwestern region and has long served as a major focal point for Navajo religion and mythology. The fact that Shiprock rises approximately 1,580 feet above the high-desert plain adds to its majestic allure. Its peak elevation above sea level is 7,178 feet. Photographers commonly visit Shiprock to capture its glory, as do general sightseers, and the famous formation has been featured in a number of films and novels. It is very important to note that while rock climbers have been known to make Shiprock ascents, the Navajo Nation forbids any such practice by non-Navajo people. Monuments like these are sacred.
Shiprock New Mexico Hotels
There are no hotels or motels in Shiprock New Mexico. As such, many of the town’s visitors end up staying at lodging establishments that can be found in such other regional destinations as Farmington, New Mexico and Cortez, Colorado. If you wish to stay closer to Shiprock and its eponymous rock formation, it is possible to camp in the area. Permits for area camping must be obtained from the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department. Permits are also commonly required for other pursuits within the Navajo Nation boundaries, so it can be a good idea to inquire about permits in general when visiting the region.