Shiprock, New Mexico

  • Shiprock itself, an ancient volcanic plug that is one of the Navajo Holy Mountains
  • The Shiprock campus of Diné College
  • A residential area in Shiprock
  • Coming into Shiprock from the south

Shiprock is home to the Shiprock Chapter of the Navajo Nation. Also nearby is Shiprock, a Navajo sacred mountain. Every year in the first week of October the Northern Navajo Nation Fair takes place in Shiprock. The Fair is a 7 day event with rodeo and dancing. Diné College (formerly the Navajo Community College, founded in 1968 as the first tribally-controlled community college in the United States) has one of its' eight campuses in Shiprock.

For folks visiting Mesa Verde, the Four Corners, the Grand Canyon and many other touristic sites, Shiprock is at a main road juncture: US Highways 64 and 491. However, there is not a single hotel or motel in town.

Tse Bit'a'i (Shiprock: "the Rock with Wings"), a Navajo sacred mountain, is the remnant of an almost volcanic eruption from some 30 million years ago. It is the basalt core, the volcanic neck, of an extinct volcano. The smaller pinnacles around the main peak are the remains of smaller auxiliary vents. I say "almost volcanic eruption" because the magma never made it to the surface. When this volcanic plug solidified, the formation was half-a-mile or more underground and has been exposed by surface erosion over that last 30 million years. The mountain is composed of volcanic breccia, a form of magma composed of smaller sharp, irregular rock fragments cemented together by hot ash. There are also six dikes (solidified lava walls) radiating outward from the central core of Shiprock. These dikes are where vertical cracks in the ground were filled by the magma as it flowed upward.

In 1939, a California Sierra Club team climbed the mountain but it was declared off-limits to climbers in 1970, in deference to the Navajo Nation. It's actually a reasonably dangerous challenge because the composition of the rock is soft, what experienced climbers call "rotten rock."

Fast Facts about Shiprock, New Mexico
Shiprock, San Juan County, NM 87420
Latitude: 36.7928°N
Longitude: 108.6873°W
Census Designated Place
Elevation: 4,892'

High School or Higher: 66.6%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 6.6%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 2.7%
Cost of Living Index for Shiprock: 84.5

2014 Estimates:
Median Household Income: $30,120
Median Home Value: $68,500
Median Resident Age: 24.9 Years
Major Industries:
Health Care, Construction, Educational Services, Government, Utilities, Lodging & Food Services, Natural Resources, Social Services, Arts & Entertainment
Unemployed (August 2014): 6.8%
Population Demographics: 2010
Total Population 8,295
Males 3,976
Females 4,319
Population by Age
Under 18 2,711
18 & over 5,584
20-24 635
25-34 1,185
35-49 1,496
50-64 1,298
65 & over 662
Population by Ethnicity
Hispanic or Latino 132
Non Hispanic or Latino 8,163
Population by Race
White 124
African-American 9
Asian 17
Native American 7,979
Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 1
Other 7
Two or more 158