Tuba City, AZ


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Location / Description
Tuba City is the Navajo Indian Reservation's largest community. It is located within the Painted Desert on the western side of the Navajo Nation. The town is on US Route 160 near Route 264. It lies 50 miles from the eastern entrance to Grand Canyon National Park. Most of the residents are Navajo with a small Hopi minority.

Population / Elevation

Population: 9116 (2003)
Elevation: 4940 feet above sea level

Area: 8.9 square miles




The name Tuba City comes from Toova, a Hopi headman from Oraibi and in Navajo translates as "tangled water" - Tonanes dizi. This refers to the many springs below the surface of the ground which or the source of several nearby reservoirs.

The town's written history goes back more than 200 years when Father Francisco Garces visited the area in 1776 and recorded Indians cultivating crops. It was settled by Mormons late in the 1870s, but in 1907, it was discovered to be Native American land, and the United States government bought out the improvements to the town.

The Tuba City Trading Post dates back to 1905.

The state of Arizona does not observe Daylight Savings Time. However, the Navajo Nation does. Thus, for half the year Tuba City and its Navajo community neighbors are a different time than the rest of the state.

Things To Do

  • Boating
  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Offroad Activities
  • Shopping
  • Fishing


  • Every Friday Night - Flea Market behind the Chapter House offering Navajo and Hopi arts and crafts plus food.
  • October - Navajo Western Fair - authentic Navajo crafts, rugs, pottery, foods.


Resources & Nearby Attractions


Cities & Towns

Parks & Monuments

Recreation & Wilderness Areas

Historic & Points of Interest

  • Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff (56 miles) 
  • Sunset Crater National Monument in Flagstaff - eruption took place in the winter of 1064-1065 and formed a cinder cone. Just east of Flagstaff.
  • Dinosaur Tracks - on Route 160 just before Tuba City on top of a Mesa. 
  • Monument Valley


Other DesertUSA Resources
Gem Trails Guides Book
Related Books & Gifts - Trading Post
Desert Rocks, Minerals & Geology Index
Desert Survival Primer
Desert Survival Kit

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Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyon de Chelly NM offers the opportunity to learn about Southwestern Indian history from the earliest Anasazi to the Navajo Indians who live and farm here today. Its primary attractions are ruins of Indian villages built between 350 and 1300 AD at the base of sheer red cliffs and in canyon wall caves.

Glen Canyon Dam

Held behind the Bureau of Reclamation's Glen Canyon Dam, waters of the Colorado River and tributaries are backed up almost 186 miles, forming Lake Powell. The dam was completed in 1963. Take a look at this tremendous feat of engineering - the Glen Canyon Dam.

Lees Ferry

Due to the shale deposits which slope gently to the river here, Lees Ferry was the only place to cross the Colorado River for 260 miles until the Navajo Bridge was built across Marble Canyon in 1927. Join DesertUSA as we explore this historic site.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
The movie Stagecoach, in 1939 introduced two stars to the American public, John Wayne, and Monument Valley. Visiting Monument Valley gives you a spiritual and uplifting experience that few places on earth can duplicate. Take a look at this spectacular scenery in this DesertUSA video.

Oatman AZ & the Wild Burros
Oatman is a fun place to visit -- an authentic old western town with burros roaming the streets and gunfights staged on weekends. The burros are tame and can be hand fed. Enjoy an exploration!


We have a online Wildflower Field Guide that is designed to help you identify desert wildflowers by color, scientific name, region and common name. The pictures are sized to work on the iPod, iPhone and similar devices. With your iPod or phone you will easily be able to identify wildflowers while in the desert. Links for downloads are on the bottom of the Wildflower Field Guide page.