This ancient peak is the remains of a lava core from a dormant 40 million year old "volcanic plug" as refered to by geologists. It rises about 1800 feet above four corners New Mexico plain with an elevation of 7,178 feet above sea level, and has two volcanic dikes extending to the north and south for many miles. The traditional Navajo name for this peak is Tse' Bit' A'i, meaning "rock with wings" - relating to the two dikes extending north and south. The name Shiprock came into use in the 1870s as indicated by US Geological Survey Maps because it resembled the 19th Century Clipper sailing ships of that time. It is prominantly visible within a 30 - 50 mile range in most directions, and lies near where the four corners states intersect, about 13 miles southwest of the Navajo Nation town of Shiprock, off US 491, and about another 6 miles west on Navajo (BIA) Route 13. This prominant peak, held sacred to the Navajos, provides a very photogenic opportunity for family vacation pictures, with mesas and mountains in the distance that typify the four corners region.
There are dirt roads that lead up close to the peak, but it is important to remember that these intersect private Navajo properties, and the area near the peak is considered sacred to the Navajos. While hiking is possible in the area, it is advised to be respectful of it's rural residents, and wary of stray dogs, snakes and other considerations typical of wilderness areas. Navajo Route 13 over the Chuska Mountains to the community of Lukachukai on the Arizona side, is one of the most scenic drives on the Navajo Nation contrasting pine trees and brilliant red sand stone cliffs, and provides a magnificant view of the four corners region from the top of the mountain.
Accessible generally year round, with occassional snow concerns in the winter, if you wish to go west on Navajo Rt. 13 over the mountain to Lukachukai on the Arizona side.
ADA Accessibility Notes
Can see from your car. Shiprock pinnacle is very visable from US 491, which has a pull out to observe or take pictures of the peak. Navajo Rt. 13 which goes west from US 491 is paved and comes very close to the peak, perhaps only a mile or two from it - but any roads leading up to the peak are dirt, and it would be best to check with the Navajo Nation Tourism Dept., about venturing on these roads, as they are to private homes and property.
Pet Friendly Notes
Most areas or view pull outs are on open range, so pets are generally not a problem