On Saturday, July 15, 2023, we departed Albuquerque for Ship Rock, New Mexico, to take in the sights at a place that few outside of New Mexico have ever heard of — much less traveled to.
Ship Rock, the land feature, is an incredible isolated ridge of rock that protrudes from the desert floor and stands over 1,500 feet tall. Formed by volcanic rock below the surface of the earth and then exposed over time by erosion, the volcanic rock appears sharp and out of place in this landscape.
The rock is said to play a significant role in Navajo religion, myth, and tradition, but talking to local Native Americans, including our friend Eugene at the local grocery store, it’s not such a mythical spot anymore. Tourists are usually allowed to drive right up to the rock and climb around, according to these locals.
However, on the day that we approached, the entire highway and access road to Ship Rock was closed off thanks to a television commercial crew that was filming that day. We weren’t able to approach it or stay around until sunset. Some local yokel deputies (with attitudes) made us feel unwelcome and ultimately the film crew ran us off. Bad luck for us.
This would be an epic monument to photograph with a good sunset. Perhaps next time!
Ship Rock, the community, is small and sparsely populated, with a small but well-appointed park along the San Juan River. A great place to grab a burger, despite its modest appearance, is the Chat and Chew.