Visiting the Navajo Nation & Zuni Pueblo
Immerse yourself in the Native American experience with this 3-day itinerary.
The great thing about Gallup is it’s close proximity to an abundance of adventures just waiting to be discovered. Quench your wanderlust and plan a weekend trip exploring the Zuni Pueblo and Navajo Nation.
Day 1: Visit Zuni Pueblo
Located just 38 miles south of Gallup, is the Zuni Pueblo, the largest of New Mexico’s 19 pueblos. With archeological evidence dating back 1,300 years, this area is filled with history, heritage, and culture you won’t find anywhere else. Take in the scenery, explore the ruins, immerse yourself in the artisan culture, and be sure to check out these can’t-miss-spots along the way.
1. Stop by the Zuni Visitor & Art Center
Visitors are welcome seven days a week from dusk til dawn and tours are offered with an additional fee
2. Take a Tour
Choose from a variety of options including archaeology tours, artist workshop tours, as well as hiking/photography tours to take in stunning scenery on the back roads around Zuni Pueblo
3. OR Explore on your own
Make sure to stop by the ruins of the Old Zuni Mission
4. Talk first hand with the artists
Explore the Suni Pueblo Artwalk where on any given day you’ll find artists’ studios open for visitors to drop-in. Complete your immersive experience with a variety of tours ranging from a meet & greet with an artist to a 2 hour interactive demonstration with two artists of your choice for up to 4 people. Speak with the artists and hear personal stories about their work, its cultural significance, and learn more about the traditional techniques used in their exquisite artistry.
Stop into the ARTZ Cooperative to see who is open and to coordinate a demonstration or studio tour. Learn more here.
5. Grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant
Village Bistro- For an authentic meal in a welcoming environment, visit this little cafe and savor the creative versions of native and Mexican dishes.
Halona Plaza Kitchen- more than just chicken, this little restaurant right outside of the local bed and breakfast serves a variety of options. Try their blue corn pancakes for breakfast, a green chile cheeseburger for lunch, or order the dish they're most well known for, their fried chicken- some refer to it as the “best in the state.”
Paywa’s Zuni Bread- A true hidden gem, make a pit stop at Paywa’s for authentic brick oven Zuni sourdough bread made from recipes that have been handed down through generations. Run out of a private residence in Zuni, everything is baked on-site and if you’re lucky they will even show how their oven works.
Chu Chu’s- Head to this family-friendly restaurant to satisfy your entire group. From pizza to seafood, Chu Chu’s is a spacious place that has it all. It’s great for groups and also has RV and truck parking available for your convenience.
6. Take a load off
Complete your immersive Zuni experience with an overnight stay at one of the local accommodations. Book a room at The Inn at Halona where you’ll find unique decorations and indigenous decor, modern amenities, free parking, and breakfast is included. Or stay at the nearby Cimarron Rose B&B and feel right at home at this intimate mountain retreat.
Day 2: Spend the day in Gallup
1. Beat the heat with a morning hike
While you’re visiting Gallup, start the day with an early morning hike. Gallup is home to over 30 miles of hiking and biking trails that are great for all skill levels and abilities.
2. Wander around the Gallup Cultural Center
When the sun begins to warm up the desert air, cool off inside at the Gallup Cultural Center to learn more about the diverse heritages of the region.
3. Shop like a local
In the evening, do a little shopping. Check out the local trading posts, home to over 100 Native American artisans, and pick up a locally-made souvenir to bring home from your trip.
4. Sail up, up, and away
As the sun is setting, take a hot air balloon ride and take in the awe-inspiring scenery of red rocks, sandstone canyons, and towering rock spires.
Day 3: Explore Navajo Nation
After two full days of exploring, continue your journey to Window Rock to immerse yourself in indigenous culture and heritage. The Navajo Nation extends throughout Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico across more than 27,000 square miles. Just a thirty minute drive from Gallup, in Window Rock, Arizona —the capital of Navajo Nation — you’ll find the Navajo Nation Museum and incredible scenery.
1. Discover the Natural Landscape
Grab your camera and be sure to snap photos of the area’s main landmark, Window Rock. This arched window formation of sandstone located in the Window Rock Navajo Tribal Park, frames the rolling clouds in all its natural beauty. Walk around by foot or book a private tour around nearby Canyon De Chelly get a closer look by jeep and a more in depth history of the area.
If you’d like to explore more, just a bit further out (1-3 hour drive) you’ll find a plethora of hiking trails
2. Learn About the Heritage
Visit the Navajo Museum, Library & Visitors Center and spend a few hours walking through the exhibits. View artwork on display, cultural artifacts, and historical details about the Navajo Code Talkers who were vital during WWII.
3. Meet the Local Wildlife
Explore over 100 different animals and 50 different specials at the Navajo Zoo and Botanical Park. As the only Native American Zoo in the U.S., you’ll find a variety of animals native to NavajoLands. Admission is free and the zoo is open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM - 5 PM.
4. Visit the Flea Market
The town of Window Rock holds a daily flea market where you can find local artists with hand-made jewelry, pottery, and artwork selling their crafts.
Map Your Adventure
Get Directions215 S Third Street Gallup, New Mexico 87301 (505) 722-5992
Gallup Cultural CenterGet Directions201 E Highway 66 Gallup, New Mexico 87301 (505) 728-8048
X‑Treme-Lee Fun Balloon AdventuresGet Directions825 Outlaw Road Church Rock, New Mexico 87311 (505) 979-2012
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