The Magnificent Canyon De Chelly National Monument Park

Canyon de Chelly is a fascinating historical destination at the heart of the Colorado Plateau in the far northeast region of Arizona. The canyon had been the home of tribal groups 5,000 years ago. Its walls are witness to the passing of time and countless stories that teach us about the past.

Today, the Canyon is still a place of residence for the Navajo Nation, who primarily earn a living by farming the lands and raising livestock. Both the Navajo Nation and the National Park Service administer and manage the park area. Despite being primarily barren, Canyon de Chelly has an uncanny beauty and tranquility about it. It consists of very wide empty valleys and mesas, adorned by scrubs.

The main town closest to the park is Chinle. It is equipped with a hardware store, a grocery store, laundromats, gas stations, restaurants, motels and gift shops. In other words, Chinle is the best place to replenish your supplies for camping, to communicate with the modern world or to have a nice bed to sleep in before you continue your journey into Canyon de Chelly.

One great thing about visiting Canyon de Chelly is there is no entrance fee. It makes more sense to stop by the park’s Visitor Center first. While here, you can view an orientation video, as well as pick up park maps and activity schedule, which will inform you about ranger led talks and activities. The center also has a bookstore where you can purchase books, souvenirs and other relevant items. The Visitor Center and the parking lot beside it closes at 5 pm.

Going for a scenic drive is one of the best activities to do while in Canyon de Chelly. You have the choice of driving along two paved rim roads that equally provide outstanding views of the canyon. Each rim canyon drive has their own lookouts. To be exact, North Rim Drive has two overlooks, while the South Rim Drive has seven. You will need at least half a day to cover all overlooks and drives, but it is definitely going to be time well spent.

If you are a hiking enthusiast, you can opt to tackle the self-guided public trail situated at the White House Overlook. The trail leads you to the White House Ruin, which is about 600 feet below. You will need approximately 2 hours to reach the end of the trail and go back. Restrooms are available at the bottom of the trail.

It is also possible to camp overnight in the park’s designated grounds however you need to pay a nightly fee to the park service. Take note that the 93 camping sites are not equipped with shower facilities and are on a first-come, first-serve basis.