Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Seriously!?! Is it Shea or Shelly? Come visit, leave with much more than a pronunciation lesson
Under the authorization of President Herbert Hoover, Canyon de Chelly was established as a National Monument to preserve the incredible history of an area which has been occupied by humans for over 4,000 years. Canyon de Chelly is jointly managed in a partnership between the Navajo Nation and the National Park Service. Below is a quick list of what you can do and see when you encounter this area whic has captivaed small communities for millenia.
Don’t miss Spider Rock. This distinct natural feature stands as sentinal at the intersection of Canyon de Chelly and Monument Canyon. The taller of these two towers rises up from the canyon floor to a height of 750 feet.
Things to Do:
- Welcome Center – Watch the orientation video to set your expectations.
- Scenic Drives – Why choose between the 2 scenic drives (North RIm Drive and South Rim Drive) when you can just do them both. You will need to allow 2 hours per rim to really take in the wonders of the 10 overlooks scattered thourghout the drives.
- Hiking – No need to make decisions, there is only one hike starting at White House Overlook. The trail does drop 600 feet into the canyon and you should probably plan 2 hours for this adventure.
- Ranger-led Programs – When you check in at the Welcome Center, ask about current ranger-led activities
- Canyon Tours – Authorized, local Navajo guides can take you on a tour of the canyon by hiking, horseback, or vehicle.
- Camping – There are a few first-come, first-serve campsites available at Cottonwood Campground. Give Navajo Parks and Recreation Department (928-674-2106) for more details.
For nearly 5,000 years, people have lived in these canyons – longer than anyone has lived uninterrupted anywhere on the Colorado Plateau.
Visitor Center: open daily (except Dec 25th); specific hours vary by season
Trails are open during daylight hours
Fees: Free to visit with a National Parks Pass