C
anyon de Chelly Tours and Canyon del Muerto in Chinle Arizona
Tourist Information, Images and Virtual Tour
 located in the NE Corner of Arizona a few hours drive from the Four Corners, read more







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A unique and enchanting adventure into the past in the heart of Navajoland. Many world travelers have claimed Canyon de Chelly to be the most beautiful of all canyons. This is a photographers haven, with deep red walls, natural monuments, sculptured sandstone, steep cliffs and ancient dwellings. You can tour the Canyon by jeep or you can hike down accompanied by a Navajo guide, who can best relate the story of Canyon de Chelly, past and present.
 

 Virtual Tour of Canyon de Chelly
Click here for an additional slide show images of Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto  









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Canyon de Chelly
Area Services

Airports & Airlines
Southwest Airlines

Activities

bullet Guided Tours
bullet Hiking
bullet Backcountry Camping
bullet Horseback Riding
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4 wheeling

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virtual tour
 

Chinle Hotels
Pricing is subject to change
Best Western $99
Holiday Inn $81
Thunderbird Lodge/Restaurant/Gift Shop/ Jeep Tours $100

Hotels in Cities near Chinle

Ganado 30.9 miles
Quality Inn Window Rock $83

Kayenta 53.7 miles
Holiday Inn $139
Hampton Inn $116
Best Western Weatherhill $129
 
Holbrook 92 miles
Days Inn $72
Travel Lodge $58
Best Western Adobe $93
Econono Lodge Holbrook $50
Holiday Inn Express $98
Super 8
America's Best Inns $48
Comfort Inn $80
America's Best Value $45
Best Western Arizonian Inn $112

Tuba City 92 miles
Quality Inn Tuba City $118

Gas Stations in Chinle
Conoco
Chevron
Giant
Mustang
Pick and Run

Restaurants

bullet Changing Women Cafe
bullet More Dining Information

Junction Restaurant
Church's Chicken
Subway
Pizza Edge

Other
US Post Office 928 674-5609
Cellular One
Wells Fargo Bank
Chinle Comprehensive Care CR
Chinle Public Health Service

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Canyon de Chelly Visitor's CenterCanyon de Chelly Visitor's Center 
At the Visitor's Center located on Highway 7 from Highway 191 in Chinle, Arizona; you will find information about the park, exhibits about the history of the canyons, a well as a bookstore with maps and publications. You can also contact an authorized Navajo tour guide especially if  you plan on hiking the canyon and/or taking a jeep tour or using your own 4-wheel drive vehicle. The only areas you are permitted to tour on your own, is the drive with multiple views along the south or north rim of the canyon, and/or you may hike the White House Trail.
Park Info P.O. Box 588 Chinle, AZ 86503
 

  • South Rim Drive 37 Miles round trip view virtual tour
    This drive rises in elevation from  5,500 feet at the visitor's center to 7,000 feet at Spider Rock. The entire drive is plentiful with overwhelming panoramic views of the canyons, the Defiance Plateau, and the Chuska Mountains to the northeast.  Click here for slide show images of Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto
     

  • Tsegi Overlook, here you will be able to observe the magnificent scenery, as well as the Navajo farms along the canyon floor.



     

  • Junction Overlook, views of Chinle Valley and the confluence of Canyon del Muerto and Canyon del Chelly.
     



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  • White House Ruin, occupied about 1000 years ago by the Puebloan people. The name white house is for the long wall in the upper dwelling that is covered with white plaster. You can hike the 2.5 mile round-trip trail without a permit or an authorized Navajo guide.
    View Details

     

  • Spider Rock an awe inspiring 800 ft sandstone spire that rises from the canyon floor at the junction of Canyon de Chelly and Monument Canyon. You can view the volcanic core of the Black Rock Butte and the Chuska Mountains.



     

  • North Rim of Canyon de ChellyNorth Rim Drive 34 Miles round trip
    Along this drive you will find beautiful cliff dwellings and a Navajo historic landmark. Be alert for smaller sites that dot the alcoves and blend in with the canyon walls.


     

  • Ledge Ruin with living and storage areas, kivas, and a two story structure built more than 900 years ago by the ancient Puebloan people.
     

  • Antelope House Ruin built in the 12th century with an unusual circular plaza was  excavated in the  1970's. It is named for the illustrations of antelope attributed to Navajo artist Dibe Yazhi (meaning little sheep) who lived here in the early 1800's.
     

  • Navajo Fortress an historic landmark used as a refuge by early Navajo's.
     

  • Mummy Cave Ruin This ruin is one of the largest ancient Puebloan villages in Canyon de Chelly.   The tower complex resting on the central ledge was built in the 1280's  by people who migrated from Mesa Verde. The east and west alcoves are comprised of living and ceremonial rooms; and  was occupied from earliest times to about 1300.
     

  • Massacre Cave was named for the 115 Navajo's killed here in the winter of 1805 by a Spanish military expedition led by Antonio Narbona.

Camping at Canyon de ChellyCamping
You will find year round camping available at Cottonwood Campground at the mouth of Canyon de Chelly. Campsites, with Grills, tables and restrooms are available on a first come first serve basis. Group sites for tent campers require reservations. There are no showers or hookups and RV's longer than 40 feet cannot be accommodated. For a minimal fee there is an additional campsite along the South Rim which includes, tent and small RV sites, as well as traditional hogans, with grills, outhouses and outdoor furniture. Prices range from around $10 - $49 depending on your choice of accommodations. You can also check at the mouth of the canyon with Changing Woman Cafe.

About Chinle Arizona
The town of Chinle Arizona hosting the gateway to Canyon de Chelly Park, has lodging, food, supplies and a bank. See Services for Chinle.

Dining and Restaurants
Chinle has few restaurants other than the Junction located at the Best Western Hotel along Hwy 7, a restaurant in the Holiday Inn and a third in the Thunderbird Lodge located to the right just before the entry to  the canyon. Prices start at around $5+ for breakfast. All serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is also a Church's Chicken and  Subway Sandwiches and a few gas stations that carry quick snacks, packaged sandwiches and bottled water and sodas. If you do not wish to eat out at every meal for moderate to high prices, than it is suggested you bring your cooler loaded with your favorite goodies, as any other dining options are more miles away than worth your while.

Changing Woman Cafe/Tours
The Changing Woman Cafe is a quaint little shaded stop located between the entrance to the North and South rims of the canyon. The cafe is owned and operated by Victoria Begay. You can find the best organic Latte and wonderful regular coffee, water, snacks and an array of amazing art, including custom T-shirts by Victoria; you can take home to add to your collection, or purchase a gift for someone you love. Besides running the cafe, Victoria  can arrange 4x4's , hiking, and camping.
Contact information for Victoria Begay and Changing Woman Cafe/Tours
928 797-8415
email

website

Flora and Fauna

  • Narrowleaf Yucca, (no photo available at this time) can be recognized by it's long stiff leaves with sharp ends that grow from a central clump. A single stalk of white flowers reaches four feet.
    Ceremonial: soap from root cleanse hair; fibers used for weaving baskets.
    Other: dyes; edible fruit.
     
  • Sumac, (no photo available at this time) this shrub also called lemonade berry plant, produces tart sticky berries.
    Food: berries, sugar and water make a beverage: dried berries mixed with cornmeal make a pudding.
    Other: dyes; fibers used in hoops and to weave water jugs and ceremonial baskets.
     
  • Prickly Pear Cactus Prickley Pear Cactus
     

  • This sprawling cactus with flat, waxy pads (leaves) grows throughout the canyon area. Flowers emerge along top edges of pads, forming plump red fruit.
    Medicinal: peeled pads reduce bleeding
    Food: edible fruit and pads.
    Other: fruits make bright red and pink dyes, stems make glue
     





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  • Snakeweed. (no photo available at this time) This short shrub has a dense halo of yellow flowers that bloom from July through September.
    Medicinal: heals cuts and bites.
    Ceremonial: used to make purifying incense
     

  • Sagebrush
    Sagebrush
    A silvery-green leaves and a strong aroma distinguish this shrub.
    Medicinal: roots, leaves and tassels used in healing remedies; tea relieves stomach problems.
    Food: flavoring
    Other: gold and yellow-green dyes
















     



  • Juniper Juniper Tree

  • This evergreen tree grows to 25 feet. The blue, fleshy berries are its cones.
    Medicinal: relieves headache and flu symptoms.
    Ceremonial: cleanses and purifies.
    Food: adds flavor and potassium and other minearls.
    Other: dried berries used to make necklaces, known to ward off nightmares.

Hiking
Any hiking in the park must be with a Navajo guide and must be prearranged because any camping or hiking is on private property. White House ruin hike is the only exception. The Navajo people live and farm here so it is not appropriate to be wandering around on your own

It is a short trail, 2.5 mile, roundtrip, but very beautiful. The down hill descent on the way in is fairly easy, but the return is a consistent uphill climb. You should allow at least 2 hours for the roundtrip hike. On the descending path you will view many different perspectives on the orange and red cliffs.

In the spring, flowers and trees add magnificent color to the entire landscape. The trail passes through two rock tunnels, where if you look closely near the lower tunnel you will see footsteps carved out of the rock where the ancient trail existed. There is no drinking water so make sure to carry plenty of fresh water, as the temperatures can be extremely hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. Trails and rocks are very slippery when wet.






You will descend 500 feet to the canyon floor, cross the Chinle Wash and view the cliff dwellings, called the "White House Ruins", with two visible sections remaining, used by the Anasazi. Pictographs can clearly be seen along the wall between the two remaining levels.  You will also find restrooms, and a few Navajos selling crafts. It would be wise to bring some cash, as the prices are much better than in the gift shops.

The Chinle wash may contain water during the spring snow melt or rainy periods. Respect the fragile environment, and the privacy of the Navajo people who live and farm on the canyon floor. Do not enter, climb or disturb in any way the historical or natural features.  Pit toilets are available at the bottom.

Remember you will want to take along your camera, and probably sun screen is a good idea.
White House ruins can also be viewed from the South rim overview drive. Driving along the
North and South rims is permitted without a guide. You can take your time in your own vehicle.

Jeep Tours on the floor of Canyon de ChellyTour Guides, 4 Wheeling and Horseback Riding


Canyon Tours with authorized Navajo guides for private hiking, backcountry camping, horseback and 4-wheel-drive vehicle tours are available through the visitors center, Thunderbird Lodge, a park concession and Changing Woman Cafe/Tours.






Quick Facts

  • Established as a national monument in 1931

  • Canyon de Chelly is located near the town of Chinle Arizona on the Navajo Reservation aka The Navajo Nation.

  • Spans 84,000 acres

  • Administered by the National Park Service and belong to the Navajo people.

  • The Navajo Reservation observes daylight savings time, the Hopi Reservation and the rest of  Arizona does not.

  • The Navajo Reservation has it's own police department

  • Open range land, watch out for livestock on the roads and highways

  • The Reservation is private land, hiking and/or driving off established roads is not recommended.

  • You can tour both the North and South rim drives and hike White House Trail on your own. Anywhere else in the Canyon you will need to be accompanied by an authorized Navajo guide.

  • Only 3 restaurants with moderate to high prices, see details.

  • Hotel accommodations start at $100 for a double. It is wise to make reservations during the high summer season, as the few hotels fill up quickly and other options are very far away. See Hotel list

  • Two campsites, one free at the canyon entrance and another one along the south rim, see details.

  • Pets are not allowed on the White House Trail or on the Canyon floor tours.

  • Alcohol prohibited within the park and anywhere else on the Navajo Reservation.

  • No collecting of Artifacts or disturbance of archeological sites. All cultural and natural features are protected by both federal and tribal law.

  • Park Info 928 674 5500 or P.O. Box 588 Chinle, AZ 86503

    Safety Tips

  • Canyons are deep with steep vertical walls, falls can be fatal.  Use extreme caution on the canyon rims by staying behind the the protective walls. Stay on designated trails and keep children and pets under control. Pets must be on a leash.

  • Be aware of snakes, stinging insects and thorns.

  • Do not place your hands or feet on any area you cannot see clearly.

  • Secure your valuables out of sight in your car or take them with you, while hiking or viewing overlooks.

  • All emergencies dial 911
     

Spider Rock Monolith at Canyon de ChellyHistory of Canyon de Chelly
The original residents did not construct any permanent structures. Their stories are told by the remains of campsites and images etched or painted on the canyon walls. Later, the people known as the Basketweavers constructed more complex accommodations, including household compounds, storage facilities and social and ceremonial complexes high on ledges in the walls of the canyons. They co-existed in small groups, hunted game, grew corn and beans and created paintings on the walls all around them.

The Basketweavers were followed by the ancient Puebloan people, often called Anasazi (Navajo word meaning ancient ones) ; predecessors of the modern Pueblo and Hopi Indians.
These Puebloan people are responsible for the multi-storied villages, small household compounds and kivas with decorated walls that dot the canyon alcoves and talus slopes.  Most of them departed approximately 700 years ago, with only a few remaining in the canyons.

After the Puebloan people, the canyons were inhabited by migrating Hopi Indians and other tribes who spent the summers hunting and farming here. Finally, the Navajo arrived at the end of a long journey. They built homes in the canyon, learned new crafts and new ways of farming and added their own designs to the canyon walls.  Click here for slide show images of Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto

Wildlife

  • Golden Eagles

  • Turkey Vultures

  • Peregrine Falcon

    During the spring and fall

  • pinyon and western scrub-jays

  • juniper titmouse

  • bushtit

  • Bewick’s wren

  • white-breasted nuthatch.

    During summer

  • ash-throated flycatcher

  • western and Cassin’s kingbird

  • black-throated gray warbler

  • gray and plumbeous vireos.

    Reptiles and amphibians

  • prairie rattlesnake

  • gophersnake

  • glossy snake

  • terrestrial gartersnake

  • eastern collared lizard

  • ornate tree lizard

  • many-lined skink

  • plains and Mexican spadefoot

  • red-spotted toad

  • Woodhouse’s toad

    Map Locators for Canyon de Chelly and Chinle Arizona
    Canyon de Chelly and Chinle Arizona Map Locator

    Directions By Car to Canyon de Chelly in Chinle, Arizona
    From the Northeast
    Directional Map from Cortez Colorado to Chinle Arizona
    From Cortez Colorado to Chinle Arizona

    Estimated Time: 2 hours 24 minutes Estimated Distance: 139.84 miles
    Turn SLIGHT RIGHT onto US-160 Passing through NEW MEXICO, then crossing into ARIZONA
    Turn LEFT onto US-191
    LEFT onto BIA 7/MAIN ST


    From the Northwest Kayenta, Arizona (Monument Valley) to Chinle, Arizona (Canyon de Chelly)

    Estimated Time: 1 hour 50 minutes Estimated Distance: 107.43 miles

    Blue Line Route on Map
    Start out going WEST. 0.0 mi
    Turn LEFT. 0.1 mi
    Turn RIGHT onto US-163. 1.4 mi
    Turn LEFT onto US-160. 41.3 mi
    Turn RIGHT onto US-191. 32.5 mi
    Turn RIGHT to stay on US-191. 30.1 mi
    Turn LEFT onto BIA 7/MAIN ST. 1.6 mi
    Turn LEFT onto BIA 102. 0.2 mi
    Turn RIGHT onto 4TH AVE. 0.1 mi

    Red Line Route on Map from Kayenta to Chinle
    A few miles east from Kayenta along Hwy 160 is an alternate scenic route to your right. There is no Hwy or road number marking other than signs for the towns of Chilchinbeto, Rough Rock and Many Farms. This route is a good 2 lane paved road and definitely the more scenic route.  There can be a few high wind gusts in certain areas and some spots where the wash runs along the road only if it is raining. It is not recommended if it is raining or predicted rain, otherwise there are no concerns. Saves time and gas.






    From the Southeast Gallup New Mexico to Chinle, Arizona
    Directional Map from Gallup, New Mexico to Chinle, Arizona
    Estimated Time: 1 hour 47 minutes Estimated Distance: 91.85 miles
    Start out going WEST on W HIGHWAY 66/I-40 BL/NM-118/W HISTORIC HWY 66 toward S 2ND ST/NM-610 N. 0.0 mi Map
    Turn RIGHT onto N 2ND ST/NM-610 N. 0.2 mi
    Turn LEFT onto W MALONEY AVE. 0.9 mi
    Turn RIGHT onto US-491 N/US-666 N. 7.1 mi
    Stay STRAIGHT to go onto NM-264 W (Crossing into ARIZONA). 51.2 mi
    Turn RIGHT onto US-191. 30.4 mi
    Turn RIGHT onto BIA 7/MAIN ST. 1.6 mi
    Turn LEFT onto BIA 102. 0.2 mi
    Turn RIGHT onto 4TH AVE. 0.1 mi

    From the Southwest Flagstaff, AZ to Chinle, AZ
    Directional map from Flagstaff, Arizona to Chinle, Arizona
    Estimated Time: 3 hours 19 minutes Estimated Distance: 213.18 miles
    Start out going EAST on W SANTA FE AVE/W US-66/I-40 BL/US-180 toward S BEAVER ST. 1.3 mi
    Turn RIGHT onto N ENTERPRISE RD. 0.2 mi
    N ENTERPRISE RD becomes E BUTLER AVE. 0.4 mi
    Merge onto I-40 E/PURPLE HEART TRL via the ramp on the LEFT. 134.7 mi
    Take the US-191 N exit, EXIT 333, toward GANADO. 0.2 mi
    Turn LEFT onto US-191. 38.0 mi
    Turn LEFT onto AZ-264/US-191. 5.9 mi
    Turn RIGHT onto US-191. 30.4 mi
    Turn RIGHT onto BIA 7/MAIN ST. 1.6 mi


    From Canyon de Chelly to Shiprock

    Estimated Time: 2 hours 12 minutes Estimated Distance: 122.48 miles

    Blue Line Route
    Start out going NORTHWEST on 4TH AVE toward 1ST ST. 0.1 mi
    Turn LEFT onto BIA 102. 0.2 mi
    Turn RIGHT onto BIA 7/MAIN ST. 1.6 mi
    Turn RIGHT onto US-191. 30.1 mi
    Turn LEFT to stay on US-191. 32.5 mi
    Turn RIGHT onto US-160/US-191. Continue to follow US-160. 30.5 mi
    Stay STRAIGHT to go onto US-64/AZ-504 (Crossing into NEW MEXICO). 26.1 mi
    Turn LEFT onto US-491 N/US-64 E. 0.9 mi
    Turn LEFT onto US-491 N. 0.2 mi
    Turn LEFT onto BIA-531. 0.1 mi
    Turn LEFT. 0.1 mi
    Turn LEFT. 0.1 mi
    End at Shiprock, NM

    Red Line Route From the North Rim of Canyon de Chelly to Shiprock
    A far more scenic  route, saving time and gas, this is a two lane paved road all the way crossing a mountain pass from Lukachukai  to Redrock. (not recommended in winter months, nor for RV's over 29 ft., as the first mile or two are steep switch backs) Take the north rim road along Canyon de Chelly to Tsaile, Az., make a left to Lukachukai, turn right and follow to Redrock, then a right to Shiprock.

    Sheep Open grazingYou can stop along the North rim to view the overlooks along Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto and then proceed to Lukachukai where the mountain crossing begins at the east end of town.

    This is open range land, so be cautious and drive slow, as you will see horses, cattle and sheep grazing alongside the road. 








    Redrock Monolith along road from Canyon de Chelly to ShiprockThe views are incredible, beginning with the red rock monoliths at the start, ascending into the Alpine forest, with a picnic table or two where you can stop for awhile to relax in the cool shade of the pines.






     





    Redrock Valley overviewThis road is definitely the route for those of you who are not in a hurry and can appreciate the overwhelming need to  stop and snap photos all the way. The photo to the right is along the descent from west to east, overlooking the town of Redrock.












     

    Shiprock
    Once through Redrock, you will cross the border into New Mexico and  travel along the highway coming closer and closer to the  breathtaking view of Shiprock, a huge rock monolith solely ascending to the heights of the deep blue skies.
     

    Return to Canyon de Chelly

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