Canyon de Chelly National Monument is a bit off the beaten path, even if you are traveling around the Arizona/Utah National Parks. In the far east of Arizona, the park had eluded me on two previous trips to the area. It is about a 170 miles and nearly 4 hours to Mesa Verde National Park n Colorado. It is about 100 miles and 2.5 hours to Monument Valley. It's a good 4 hours and 200 miles to Arches National Park in Utah. The Grand Canyon? Depends on how you go, but count on 5 hours to get there.
It is currently free to enter Canyon de Chelly National Monument. I am not sure why that is but imagine it has something to do with a conflict of it being in the National Park system but also being entirely on Navajo Tribal Lands. I like free things as much as the next person but without funds coming in, it cannot be good for the area. It seems they want to let you in free but charge you to explore the canyon but we didn't care to do that and did the free ranger hike and free day hike to White House twice. We also stayed at the free campground. So, Canyon de Chelly was free for us. How long will this last in the National Park system is anyone's guess.
You can download a pdf-map of the canyon beforehand you start yor travel, so you can plan a little your day in the park of Canyon de Chelly.
Also check the main page of the park for information about directions. It is a great help and I can't stop to express my respect for this great web presence!
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