Canyon de Chelly National Monument Travel Guide

  • Ruins in the cliffside
    Ruins in the cliffside
    by BruceDunning
  • Sheer Cliffs of the Canyon mask White House
    Sheer Cliffs of the Canyon mask White...
    by richiecdisc
  • the stunning spire rises vertically from canyon
    the stunning spire rises vertically from...
    by richiecdisc

Canyon de Chelly National Monument Things to Do

  • 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 just some cleverly executed graffiti? Only an archeologist could tell for...

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  • 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 canyons that comprise the monument are protective of their privacy and of...

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  • 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 darned beautiful scenery. The overlooks are not difficult to walk to from the...

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Canyon de Chelly National Monument Restaurants

  • 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 ♥♥♥♥♫♪☺☺☺☺☺♪♫

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  • 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 site to be very small, but highly useable. There were several park benches...

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  • Great Food in Chinle

    The menu at The Junction Restaurant has a huge variety of food. They have local specialties like Navajo Burgers and other types of food. I had fish and it was great. My friend Brian and I enjoyed it so much we returned for breakfast. I had a Southwestern Omelet. Portions were big enough that we did not go hungry. The staff was efficient and...

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Canyon de Chelly National Monument Nightlife

  • leplaya's Profile Photo

    by leplaya Written Apr 30, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Not much going on around Canyon the Chelly at night, but if you're in the area, make sure you get out of your car and look at the sky. With the nearest large city being several hours away, the sky looks amazing.

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Canyon de Chelly National Monument Transportation

  • a bit out of the way but free once you...

    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...

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  • Canyon de Chelly- Planning

    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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Canyon de Chelly National Monument Shopping

  • Native American Goods

    At many of the stops along the Canyon De Chelly you will find Native Americans selling Native American art jewelry, etc. Native American artifacts. They may even be authentic. Bargin, bargin, bargin. You can probably get it cheaper if you try.

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  • Navajo Rugs - the best weaving

    Navajo are famous for fine weaving. Their rugs, in design and color, are renowned not only in US.According to the myths, when Navajo finally arrived in the Southwest ages ago, led by the Holy People, Spider Man taught them how to make a loom with sunshine, lightning and rain. Spider Woman taught them how to weave. The wool used is from the churro...

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Canyon de Chelly National Monument Local Customs

  • 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. Poverty is prevalent here, and this is the only means of living for a lot of...

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  • Salesmen out in force

    Be aware that you will run into Navajo folks trying to sell jewelry and art at almost every overlook you stop at. If you're not interested, politely decline, but be aware that they will probably ask you to come over and take a look at their artistic goods.

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Canyon de Chelly National Monument Warnings and Dangers

  • 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 washing or blowing away and give plant life a fertile, friendly place to...

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  • 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 sharp eye on 'em. This goes for big people as well: occasional gusty winds...

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  • Stray Babies!

    Canyon de Chelly is a wonderful place for children to enjoy some beautiful canyon views. Unfortunately, children sometimes have minds of their own and can wander away from you pretty fast. Only a handful of locations at the park are toddler safe, and mainly that is the visitors center and picnic area. Almost every single scenic outlook has...

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Canyon de Chelly National Monument Tourist Traps

  • Christophe01's Profile Photo

    by Christophe01 Updated Oct 21, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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"
    Cool!

    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.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Family Travel

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Canyon de Chelly National Monument What to Pack

  • What to pack depends on what you plan to...

    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. This is desert country, so sunscreen with a high SPF is a...

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  • Baby Backpack

    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...

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  • Tele lense for details of the canyon

    Bring your tele lense to make detail photos of the far away Cliff Dwellings and the beautiful nature of the canyon.

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Canyon de Chelly National Monument Off The Beaten Path

  • Chinle

    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 had been hit by a mystery flu-like illness which had claimed the lives of...

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  • 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 also a Hubbell home for tours on the hour. John Hubbell started the trading...

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Canyon de Chelly National Monument Sports & Outdoors

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    by richiecdisc Written Aug 5, 2009

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    ah, to walk through here alone
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Backpacking

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Canyon de Chelly National Monument Favorites

  • Some history

    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 Navajo, who have lived here for the last 300 years, and who still rear...

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  • hampering exploration led to less ties...

    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 preserved ruin. We arrived in perfect timing to do the ranger hike and liked the...

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  • graced with a rare lush beauty

    Canyon de Chelly National Monument is part of the National Park system of the United States though a visit there might leave you with a mixed impression. While manned by rangers, they seem to be made up entirely of Native American descendants. Not that there is anything wrong with that; who better to explain the area's unique history? What seems...

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