Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Promoting community wellness, lifelong fitness and youth empowerment in communities across the Dine' Nation



The mission of NavajoYES is to promote community wellness, lifelong fitness and youth empowerment in communities across the Dine' Nation.

Outdoor Adventure

Our Backcountry Treks includes amazing wilderness adventures at Little Colorado Rver Gorge, Grand Canyon, Navajo Mountain, Rainbow Bridge, Havasupai and the Chuska Mountains.  We offer epic backpacking trips in the Grand Canyon throughout the year on established routes and remotes regions alike.
The Little Colorado River Gorge adventures are among the most extreme and rewarding treks in Dine' Bikeyah, and our treks there have included multi-day backpacking trips, challenging trail runs and extreme Little Colorado River trips.  One of the most remote and stunning places on the Nation, LCR treks are always an adventure.

This school year we are leading a "Four Seasons atop the Rez" series on Navajo Mountain, which includes a fall hiking, winter snowshowing, spring hiking and summer trail running trip. 

We sponsor year-round outings near T'iis Nazbas to Twin Falls, the highest waterfall on the rez.  This amazing spectacle in the Carrizo Mountains offer an excellent venue for adventure and an opportunity for community service.


Trails & Environmental Stewardship


Offering youth the empowering feeling that comes through service has been a long part of the mission of NavajoYES.  We work with schools, communities and families on service projects, such as trail-building, tree-planting and park restoration across the reservation.

Our ongoing project at Buffalo Pass Picnic Area in the northern Chuskas is one example of empowering youth to make a difference in their own communities.  We also have put in major efforts at Narbona Pass and Squirrel Springs in the southern Chuskas, have done irrigation work in Monument Valley and have provided maintenance on the Rainbow Bridge Trail for over two decades.  

Since 2008, NavajoYES has partnered with the T'iis Nazbas Chapter in restoring the Twin Falls Trail leading to the highest waterfall on the Navajo Nation.  The Tour de Rez began work this summer to undertake the next stage of the Carrizo Mountain trail project, with work on a mountain trail leading from T'iis into the highcountry of the Carrizos.  This will be an ongoing project for the next several years, and we hope to add trailheads, signeage, benches and do wildflower seeding throughout the area.

Other trail projects have been undertaken over the past two decades and NavajoYES hopes to provide support and inspiration for communities across the Nation over the next decade.  We also strive to provide leadership in the development of a Navajo Nation Trails System over the coming decade.

It's All About the Bikes

Beginning in 2015, we created an initiative to bring good quality mountain bikes to communities across the Dine' Nation.  Simply titled "Chapter House Bikes", the program seeks to offer youth and community members the opportunity to stay active and fit, utilizing the ever-expanding Navajo trail system.  The program will continue to grow over the next decade, with the goal of five mountain bikes in each of the 110 chapters, along with a maintenance team of trained local riders and a stable of basic bikes tools and supplies.

 Since 1995 Y.E.S. has sponsored the Chuska Challenge, the largest mountain bike event on the Navajo Nation.   The Chuska brings together students and families from around the rez for a weekend of awesome riding, positive activities and stunning scenery in the northern Chuskas near Red Valley, Arizona. 

The Tour de Rez is a summerlong journey that for 25 years has combined outdoor adventure, unique learning experiences and meaningful community service for students across the reservation.  The journey incorporates mountain biking, backpacking treks at Grand Canyon and Rainbow Bridge, and more.  In addition, the Tour riders conduct hundreds of hours of service work each summer, leaving a better rez in our wake. Kids and families from across Dine' Bikeyah take part in the Tour each year.

Running the Nation!

With some of the most amazing country in the Southwest, the Navajo Nation decided in 2015 to share some of this country with runners through the newly-established Navajo Parks Race Series.  The Series will feature some of the most stunning landscapes of Dine' Bikeyah - the red sandstone buttes of Monument Valley to the sheer canyon walls of the LCR to the mountain country to Asaayi and the unqiue sites that are Shiprock, Rainbow Bridge and Window Rock.  We will have more information on this site as the Series develops, as well updates on facebook (NavajoYES).


Asaayi Mountain Run 20K & 10K - September 

Code Talkers 29K & 10K November (moving to August in 2016)

Monument Valley Marathon & Half - December

Little Colorado River Gorge Marathon & Half - February

Shiprock Marathon, Half & Relay- May

Four Corners Marathon - October (beginning 2016)

Rainbow Bridge Trail Ultra - November (beginning 2016) 


Education & Outreach

Our school programs include classroom presentations and activities that encourage students to find their "natural high" and promote a healthy, drug-free lifetstyle.  We also strive to instill a sense of pride in Dine' Bikeyah through our school-based programs and lead activities related to rez geography, local wildlife and landscapes.  We also sponsor star parties at schools and dorms across the rez.

Since one of our missions is celebrating the wonders and beauty of Dine' Bikeyah, we have published a calendar since 2009 which seeks to honor some of the special places of Navajo country.  Hundreds of the "Wonders of Dine' Bikeyah" calendar can be found in schools, homes and chapter houses across the rez!

College students have been engaging in educational, mentoring and service projects on the reservation through NavajoYES Alternative Spring Break project since 2000.  Washington University in St. Louis, University of Maryland, Grinell College and University of Pennsylvania have all been involved in the project.  We're eager to expand the project to encompasss more Navajo Nation schools and communities in the future.  

We publish a newletter, "Tales from the Trail", which is available periodically throughout the year in print format and, soon hopefully, online. 

We partner with local schools, churches and organizations in implementing and supporting a litany of activities and projects for youth and families across the Navajo Nation.  These community activities include Red Ribbon Week, literacy events, community runs, book drives, elder projects, cross country races, tournaments, sports contests, food drives, service projects and more.  We love to be involved in positive, community-based projects, so please contact us if we can play a role in your community.

Some past accomplishments: The organization has been involved with a lively mix of other commnunity projects across the reservation over the past 20-plus years.   NavajoYES' involvement in a Writer's Project  has led to reservation visits by such renown authors as Sherman Alexie and student presentations at the Nothern Arizona Book Festival.  NavajoYES has also sponsored a martial arts program in Black Mesa and a boxing club in Kayenta.  Our Tour de Rez Treks' project initiated the Cove Classic mountain bike race and the 2-day Paradise Loop Ride evenin in 1995.  NavajoYES also operated the Rainbow Sky Ropes Challenge for seven years before handing the day-to-day operations over to the local Kayenta school district in 2003. NavajoYES teamed with the IHS to operate the Tall Mountain Wilderness Camp, while a new partnership with the IHS was formed in 2003 in running the summertime Adventures in Medicine program for high school students interested in medical professions.  Music Programs as diverse as varied as flutist R. Carlos Nakai, world beat group Burning Sky, reggae artist Walt Richardson, Dine' guitarist Clarence Clearwater and Navajo folk singer Vincent Craig have all performed under the NavajoYES banner over the past 15 years.  Lynn Lynton and NavajoYES speahheadeded the production of the 1999 'Voices of the People' C.D. and in 2000-01, NavajoYES sponsored a reservation-wide tour of the native rock trio, Blackfire.