Canyon de Chelly National Monument Travel Guide
Ruins in the cliffside
Ruins in the cliffside
Sheer Cliffs of the Canyon mask White...
the stunning spire rises vertically from...
Things to Do
Too few places able to tour due to Navajo restrictions
In a nutshell
Landscape and people inter-twined
Voices of the Ancients
I found the overlook trails a little too confining in a few spots so went wandering off - being careful of any cryptobiotic crust - to take in some other viewpoints. One of my pootles turned up this small alcove with images painted on the back wall. Authentic pictographs or...
Good Stuff to know
As mentioned on my main page, Canyon de Chelly is a bit of an anomaly as it’s on land owned by the Diné so the NPS and Navajo Parks and Recreation Department share conservation and operational duties, and both tribal and federal laws apply. People who live in and around the...
Rim Drives and Overlooks
Two of the three canyons which comprise the Monument converge near the Visitor Center. The North Rim Drive follows Canyon del Muerto, and the South Rim Drive, Canyon de Chelly. Both have 5-7 overlooks respectively of ancient dwellings, important historical sites or just...
Hiking White House Trail
This is the only access into the canyon without a guide, and is a 600 ft. descent down a 1.25 mile (2.5 RT) switchback trail and across Chinle Wash to White House ruins. Trail rating is moderately strenuous. At about 80 rooms, this is one of the largest ruins in the canyon...
Either the Navajo guide you into the other parts of the park, or maybe Thunderbird Lodge also has that opportunity to access to White HOuse Ruins. They had a truck full of people drive through while we were down there. Navajo jeep tours are $175 for 3 hours with 1-3 people,...
Spider Rock is an 800-foot (240 m) sandstone monolith at the junction of Canyon de Chelly and the smaller Monument Canyon. According to traditional Navajo beliefs, the taller of the two spires is the home of Spider Woman, who lives at its top. Spider Woman (also known as...
BURGER KING: Unforgettable
A very good experience, a bit stressed by entering, we were four French tourists among Navajo Indians. Chinle is composed of 89% of American Indian.The staff was very friendly. An unforgettable stopover...
Canyon de Chelly Picnic Grounds: Picnic Lunch
Canyon de Chelly National Monument does not have any restaurants onsite, so your options are to either bring your own food or to head back in to Chinle, AZ which is the closest town with services. Since we were road tripping it, we opted for a picnic, and found the picnic...
a bit out of the way but free once you get there
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...
Navajo Selling Their Goods
At every overlook there are between 2-10 Indians selling jewelry, sandstone pieces, baskets and any other type of ancient looking artifact you can think of. I did not buy from them at every stop, but you really do feel for them and they look sad if you do not purchase....
Watch your feet
One of the reasons they encourage visitors to stay on the trails is so that they don't wander onto any cryptobiotic crust. "Cryptobiotic" means "hidden life" and these lumpy, living colonies of microorganisms, algae, lichen and whatnot help keep the desert surface from...
Overlook safety and whatnot
While the overlooks are beautiful, most are on the edge of long, long vertical drops. There are protective barriers around these spots but it's very, very easy for curious youngsters to wander off onto unprotected sides or to crawl up on the walls so you'll want to keep a...
Towards viewpoints of the circuit, Some Navajo exhibit some paintings on pieces of rock of Canyon de Chelly. After choosing a paint, the seller told me twenty-five. Well, twenty-five dollar it's reasonable for this stone. After having carefully wrapped it ,I give the money to the seller but SURPRISE he says me "not twenty-five, but one hundred and twenty five"
Unique Suggestions: Ask for price before!
tell yourself :it's for a good cause. and it's nice on a fireplace.
Fun Alternatives: Visit the Canyon early in the morning, they do not have time to settle.
Updated Oct 21, 2012
- Related to:
- National/State Park
- Family Travel
What to pack depends on what you plan to do ...
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...
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...
Chinle is the largest town in the area (though not very large) and is regarded as the gateway to Canyon de Chelly National Monument. There are a couple of motels and restaurants, but little of great interest in the town itself. When we visited in 1993 the Navajo Reservation...
Hubbell Trading Post
This is the oldest trading post still doing business. It is now under the supervision of National Park Service in order to maintain the premises and allow for visitations of tourists. The store having goods and gifts is open 8-6 in summer and 8-5 in winter months. There is...
this could be a backpacking paradise
Canyon de Chelly would be an ideal backpacking park if visitors were allowed in the canyon on their own. Obviously, quotas would have to be made to properly protect the natural balance of the canyon's ecosystem. As it stands, a Navajo guide must accompany anyone entering the canyon aside from the short walk to White House Ruin. Evidently, there have been some misuse along these lines as the park's website states that the backcountry system is currently under revision so it fits in with other National Parks. It seems a bit arbitrary to allow four-wheel drive vehicles into the canyon but so severely limit people from traveling on foot. While a tour with a guide would be interesting to many, others would prefer the solitude of hiking alone and taking in the ruins as part of the canyon, not the sole attraction.
Equipment: Along with the usual backpacking essentials, right now you need a Navajo guide which runs around $20 per hour.
Written Aug 5, 2009
- Related to:
- National/State Park
- Hiking and Walking
The Canyon floor has been inhabited for thousands of years: primitive peoples lived here 2,000 years ago; the Anasazi civilisation of the twelfth century dominated this whole region (before suddenly and inexplicably disappearing) and has left its remains here; and today the...
hampering exploration led to less ties formed
The good part is those manning the park are quite welcoming and much of what they offer is also free, including an infrequent ranger-led walk into the canyon. Luckily, there is one hike into the canyon that can be done sans guide, surprisingly to the canyon's best...
Explore Deeper into Canyon de Chelly National Monument