Kayenta

Kayenta is a dusty little city in the burning emptiness of the last great American desert. It’s the gateway to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park (about 25 miles to the north), and has three motels for the weary traveler. There’s a Basha’s supermarket, a pizza joint, a Sonic drive-in, and a few other restaurants as well.

The surrounding scenery is run-of-the-mill southwest spectacular, with distant buttes and mesas, red rock, sand dunes, and big vistas. The Navajo Nation has offices at the local chapter house, and new housing developments nearby promise prosperity for local Navajo families.

The highlight of the town and a must see if you end up here is the Code Talker Exhibit at the local Burger King. It has a lot of stuff from World War Two and tells the story of how the Navajo Code Talkers helped bring the war to conclusion in the Pacific Theater. They also have some actual hogans next to the parking lot that have new expanded exhibits. Best of all, it’s Free!

The restaurant at the Hampton Inn has better than you would expect Navajo cooking. The gift shop at the Hampton Inn also is very good as it carries many Navajo crafts and items. It (along with the Holiday Inn and the BK) are owned by a CodeTalker family who are very nice folks to deal with.

If visiting Monument Valley, it would be advisable to take the tour in a Navajo vehicle instead of driving yourself as there are no roads in the Valley, only rocks and sandy surfaces which are extremely hard on your car.

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