Summer days can be are hot, so thin cotton tops or t-shirts and light-weight trousers or shorts are your best option. You’ll want comfortable walking shoes if you plan to take the White House Ruins Trail, and ideally proper hiking boots if you want to join one of the longer guided hikes.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: This is desert country, so sunscreen with a high SPF is a must, and a hat would be a good idea too, especially if you plan to do much walking - there's only occasional shade from the cottonwood trees on the Canyon floor, and almost none at all on the rims. You can buy most basic medical items in Chinle, four miles from the Canyon.
Photo Equipment: Unless you’re planning to spend some time on the Canyon floor, on a hike or guided tour, you will need a good zoom lens to photograph all the ruins. A wider-angle lens is useful for capturing the scale of the Canyon.
Miscellaneous: Consider taking binoculars to get a good close-up view of the ruins. Even if you walk the White House Trail you won’t get right into the ruins, and the others are inaccessible unless you do a guided tour, and not all of them even then. If you plan on doing either or both of the Rim drives, pop into the Visitor Centre to get a leaflet detailing all the stops, as otherwise it’s easy to miss something.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: One of the most important pieces of gear you can bring if you travel with children is your baby/toddler backpack. Canyon de Chelly is a National Monument, and as much as possible has been done to protect your children, but there are many places where it is not appropriate to walk without parent supervision and physical restraint. Bringing the pack also made for a much more enjoyable trip for me, as it was much easier to have Anna contained on the rocky tracks down to view points.
Check the weather before you visit. The weather can change quickly here so plan for any possibility.
Photo Equipment: Make sure you bring all your required camera supplies (e.g. memory card; batteries; battery charger) etc.
Miscellaneous: Bring water too.
Photo Equipment: Bring your tele lense to make detail photos of the far away Cliff Dwellings and the beautiful nature of the canyon.
Miscellaneous: Bring some binoculars to have a better view on the far away Cliff Dwellings. These impressive pieces of architecture are sometimes hard to see.
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