EXPERIENCE CANYON DE CHELLY
Visitors to Canyon De Chelly National Monument “experience” this powerful place with its rugged beauty, history and Navajo culture.
Self-guided tours take visitors for a drive along the north and south rim roads for spectacular views from the overlooks, and a hike leads tourists to the White House Ruins. But, for the true “experience,” Navajo guided tours on horseback or in heavy-duty jeeps are a must. An overnight stay at Thunderbird Lodge and delicious food in the restaurant and shopping in the trading post adds to the lasting memories.
The Canyon De Chelly experience takes tourists on an exploration through the canyon bottom in the midst of Anasazi ruins, petroglyphs where you will even see Navajo dwellers of the canyon floor who raise livestock and farm the land. The towering monolith of Spider Rock is viewed from below—this spot the center of the Navajo universe is steeped in stories and Navajo traditions and the lore of Spider Woman.
Within the 84,000 acre monument, Canyon De Chelly has experienced eons of existence, even today Navajo residents continue to dwell in the canyon and raise livestock and farm the land.
Visitor Center—The National Park Service offers a world of information, interpretive programs and a museum of the history of Canyon De Chelly. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, a variety of interesting daily activities and programs are offered.
North Rim Drive—Four overlooks give visitors unique views and spectacular sights, including Ledge Ruin, Mummy Cave and Massacre Cave. At Antelope House Overlook, visitors are able to follow a rugged trail and see antelope rock art, and view the Antelope House ruins, which were abandoned around 1260.
South Rim Drive—As the drive climbs higher above the canyon floor, Tunnel and Tsegi Overlooks takes visitors on to Junction Overlook where Canyon De Chelly and Canyon Del Muerto meet where kivas and ruins can be seen along the curving cliff walls. From White House overlook, visitors can take a 2-hour round trip hike down to the site. Visitors are advised to carry water, stay on the trail and respect Navajo residents of the canyon. Sliding Rock, Face Rock, Spider Rock and Speaking Rock overlooks nearly dizzying views of the sights.
Navajo Guided Tours—Access to the canyon floor is restricted to guided tours. Experienced Navajo tour guides give visitors the true “Canyon De Chelly experience.” Navajo guides can put together the perfect tour package to best suit the needs of visitors. These Navajo tour guides offer a unique perspective on the history and cultural significance of the canyon. A list of tour providers is available at Thunderbird Lodge and the Visitor Center.
Sacred Canyon Lodge, Restaurant and Trading Post—Make your stay in Canyon De Chelly an enjoyable experience.
Note: The Navajo Nation is in the Mountain Time Zone. During the period of daylight savings time from May through October Canyon De Chelly is on the same time as New Mexico, not Arizona time! In non-daylight savings months, time is the same as Arizona