window rock

Window Rock, its entire shape and form magnificent, the blue sky seen through its opening, is a part of a larger landform standing on the Navajo Reservation in northeastern Arizona at Ni’Alníi’gi (“Earth’s Center”). Navajos call it Tségháhoodzáni, “Rock with a Perforation.” Tségháhoodzáni is one of four places where Navajo singers (healers) collect water for use in the Waterway ceremony. Created by chemical weathering and freeze-thaw cycles in minute cracks in the rocks, the window is a 47-foot-wide opening in a 200-foot-high wall of red Entrada Sandstone. According to Navajo mythology, it was created by a giant snake passing through the formation. While most visitors talk about the “hole,” most tribal people talk about the rock itself, perhaps because they recognize the life in land. Native people, then, often refer to the feature as a rock bridge or a rock rainbow, not a “pothole natural arch” as some geomorphologists have it. Another window rock, Grandfather Mountain, exists in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Boone, North Carolina. While its archway is not completely open, another formation called Denim Rock is visible through the opening.

Linda Hogan