The Navajo people were masters of surviving in the harshest of climates deep in the deserts of what are today New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. The Navajo Nation reservation is the largest parcel of land reserved by any tribe through the Treaty of 1868. Navajos relied on their expert knowledge of the land to produce maize which was key to their survival in the harsh climates.
Their homes (called hooghans) were made from simple materials that they had readily available, such as, mud, sticks, and tree bark. Hogans provided for the Navajos a safe place to escape from the extremes in their environment. These homes were common until the late 20th century, when timber homes replaced the traditional style, but these structures are still used today.
Hooghans were once the primary Navajo habitations but now these ancient abodes are provided through the Spider Rock Campground as an unforgettable overnight experience near Chinle, Arizona. These earthen huts are furnished with beds, a wood stove, and chairs for a more modern take on the traditional hooghan style.
Spider Rock Campground lies on the Tse Ho Tso Plateau on the Navajo Reservation. Located on the breathtaking Canyon de Chelly National Monument, you can stay the night in these sacred structures, take a guided tour, hear stories of the Navajo, Hopi and ancestral Puebloan peoples from local cultural experts, and experience the gorgeous views that the canyon has to offer during the day or during the special moonlight walks with a Navajo guide.
- Beds line the perimeter of the hooghan while a woodstove in the center allows smoke to escape through a hole in the roof
- Small huts can house 1-2 people while large huts can contain up to 4
- Each campsite features an open fire pit; small fires are permitted if the weather is not too dry.
- Firewood is available at the campground for $6 per bundle. Wood collecting or breaking tree branches is not allowed
- Solar-heated showers are available for $3 per person
- Tents may be rented for $9.00 per night
- Cold sodas, drinking water, and snacks are available for purchase at the campground. (The nearest grocery store is in Chinle, outside the park.)
- Pets are welcome, but should be leashed at all times. The campground is located within an open grazing area; cows, sheep, horses, and wildlife may wander through camping areas