Visible from 50 miles away on a clear day, Shiprock is the throat of an ancient volcano, with a peak 7,178-feet above sea level. The iconic volcanic formation is part of the Chuska volcanic field. Geologists believe the crater of Ship Rock formed about 3,000 feet below the earth’s surface approximately 27 million years ago when lava solidified inside the feeder conduit of a large, ancient volcano. What we see today is literally the root system of that volcano, slowly revealed over millions of years as wind and water eroded the softer sandstone, mudstone, and shale surrounding the central vent and vertical dikes.
Directions: From Farmington, NM: It is about 41 miles. Take US 64 west to Shiprock and bear left at the intersection with US 491. Continue 7.1 miles on US 64, 491 and turn right (west) onto the paved Indian Service Route 13. Give yourself about an hour if you are timing the trip for photography and lighting.
From the Four Corners Monument: Takes about 50 minutes. Take US 160 south to the intersection with US 64 in Arizona. Head east into New Mexico and you will see Shiprock south of the interstate.