At Homolovi State Park, you can learn a lot and have a great time while you’re doing it. Homolovi State Park was established to protect the sacred ancient land of native Hopi people, and today park visitors are invited to immerse themselves into history while enjoying the fresh air, scenic hiking trails, and a number of high-quality park facilities.
Interested? Keep on reading! This article will tell you all about what Homolovi State Park is known for, the must-see spots, hiking trails, park and camping information, and nearby accommodation options.
1. What Homolovi State Park is Known For
In the ancient Hopi language, Homolovi means “Place of the Little Hills”. And that’s exactly what Homolovi State Park is. Today, the park serves as a center of research for the late migration period of the Hopi people from the 1200s to the late 1300s, and a place where visitors can come to learn about the rich history of these ancient Arizona people. As archaeologists study the sites of the Hopi people, visitors are simultaneously invited to hike out to these sites and utilize park facilities including a museum and observatory.
Way, way back in northern Arizona during the fourteenth century, an ancient group called the Hopi made a home along the Little Colorado River. However, as new settlers appeared, like the Navajo Indians and the Europeans, the Hopi watched as their homeland became occupied by others. Eventually, they also saw these people begin destroying their ancient homes and digging among their sacred sites for items to sell.
Therefore, Homolovi State Park was established in response to public concern about the devastation of these sacred Homolovi sites by illegal collectors of prehistoric artifacts. Today, Hopi people still consider Homolovi State Park, as well as other sites in the southwest, to be part of their homeland. They work with the Arizona State Parks department to guide careful archeological research and preserve their sacred land.
There are five different hiking trails at Homolovi State Park. Each of these trails is intended to give visitors the opportunity to explore the historical sites found within park limits. Over time, more than 300 different archeological sites have been identified within the park boundaries, and many of these trail experiences will lead you right to them. As you hike, please be extra cautious and careful around these areas. And remember, you can always ask a Park Ranger to help you interpret the significance of what you find!
At the Homolovi State Park Visitor Center, you’ll find a museum that includes several educational exhibits regarding the archeology of the ancient Hopi people who once inhabited Homolovi State Park. There’s no better way to understand the Hopi people and the history of the surrounding land than perusing the Homolovi museum and exhibits. We recommend stopping by before you go out to explore, so you have a better understanding and appreciation when you’re out in the wild.
Exhibits display several examples of ancient Hopi art and also dig deep into the continuing tradition of Hopi pottery, carving, and other art forms to modern times. In addition, Homolovi State Park displays a curated collection of artifacts from around the greater Winslow, Arizona area. Items on display include prehistoric pottery and tools.
The Winslow Homolovi Observatory is located within the state park and offers incredible insight into the sky above for both extreme astronomy enthusiasts and novices who simply enjoy pondering what’s going on up there.Ask a Park Ranger about the daytime and nighttime telescopes available here to get a closer look.
2. Top Spots to See in Homolovi State Park
If you’re visiting Homolovi State Park, you’ve got to experience the park’s ancient cultural sites and the Sunset Cemetery, which is the last known remnants of a Mormon settlement community who called the area home in the late nineteenth century. Homolovi State Park wouldn’t be what it is today without all of its incredible history!
Homolovi State Park is home to more than 300 archaeological sites. Among these, there are four major pueblos (Native American settlements) and numerous smaller structures. These sites feature ancient architecture ranging in size from one-room homes to 1,200 room pueblos, as well as several panels of petroglyphs with depictions of ancient symbols.
Visitors are welcome to visit two of these historic cultural sites. Trails are provided with educational signage and sidewalks for easy walking and wheelchair access. If you want to further your educational experience, you can even listen online or download an audio tour of the second Homolovi cultural site.
Visitors are invited to explore the early Mormon pioneer Sunset Cemetery while visiting Homolovi State Park. A short trail leads to the cemetery site, which contains early Mormon pioneer gravestones dating back to the late 1800s.
Sunset cemetery sits on a hill above the Little Colorado River. The Mormon pioneers buried here were attempting to build a settlement named Sunset Fort, at the direction of Brigham Young in 1876.
3. Hiking and Trails Information
If you’re looking to put your hiking shoes to use, you’re in luck. Homolovi State Park offers five different trails, some for educational purposes and some for pure recreation, for their visitors to utilize and enjoy:
- Nasungvö Trail – A 1.2-mile primitive hike across high prairie grasslands.
- Tsu’vö Trail -The name means “Path of the Rattlesnake” in Hopi. But don’t worry! As long as you keep an eye out, this half-mile loop trail between the twin buttes within the park is perfectly safe.
- Diné Trail – A 1.5-mile trail leading directly to Diné Point, which provides a scenic view of the whole park.
- Homolovi I Trail – An easy quarter-mile walk on a dirt road that leads to the first Homolovi archeological site. Please follow the flagged route to avoid damaging sensitive structures.
- Homolovi II Trail – A half-mile paved trail that is wheelchair accessible and leads to the largest of the park’s archaeological sites that contains an estimated 1,200 to 2,000 prehistoric rooms.
No matter which trail you take, remember to prepare for the intense Arizona sunshine. In addition to letting someone know where you’re headed, you should always take sun protection and a lot of water.
4. Park and Camping Information
Park and Facility Hours
Homolovi State Historic Park is open 8:00 am – 5:00 pm every day except Christmas. On Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, the park is open from 8:00 am – 2:00 pm.
Park Entrance Fees
- Per vehicle (up to four adults): $7.00
- Per individual/bicycle: $3.00
Please note that park entrance fees should be paid with self-pay envelopes when the park’s visitor center is closed. The campground fee includes the use of all of the park’s day-use recreation areas, plus use of the showers and dump station.
Homolovi State Park Visitor Center and Park Store
The Homolovi State Park Visitor Center is open every day except Christmas from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm and includes educational exhibits, a fully stocked gift shop, and restrooms. Homolovi’s gift shop offers a terrific selection of books about the natural and cultural history of northeastern Arizona as well as a collection of Hopi and Navajo artwork in addition to other collectible souvenirs available to remember your trip for years to come.
Most of the Homolovi State Park programs and special activities take place in their visitor center. For more information on park programs and events, visit their state park webpage.
Picnic tables with shade are located at the park visitor center and spread out throughout the park. These areas are great spots to catch your breath, enjoy a snack, and take in the scenery. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Homolovi State Park has dozens of campsites available. Most of these sites come with electric hookups and accessible water. However, campsites #7, 14, 16, 40, 41, 42, 44, & 46 do not have electric hookups available. There is a dump station inside the campgrounds.
Campsite reservations can be made online on Homolovi’s state park website or by calling the reservation desk at 1-877-MY PARKS (697-2757) during normal office hours. The campsites are $5/night to reserve ahead of time and there is a $15 per night fee for second vehicles.
5. Where to Stay Near Homolovi State Park
If you don’t want to camp out, but would like to stay near Homolovi State Park, we recommend checking out the nearby town of Winslow, Arizona. There are a number of quality lodging options to be found here. One of our favorites is the historic La Posada Hotel. This beautiful hotel was built in 1929 as one of the grand railroad hotels and offers extensive gardens, historic rooms, and fine dining!
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you stay inside the park or outside of the park because you are sure to enjoy spending the morning learning about history, enjoying a quick picnic for lunch, and hitting the Homolovi State Park trails in the afternoon no matter what. Next time you’re aching to get outside and enjoy the Arizona sunshine, go see for yourself!