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Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Canyon de Chelly National Monument was established on April 1, 1931 as a unit of the National Park Service.  It is located in northeastern Arizona within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation. It preserves ruins of the early indigenous tribes that lived in the area, including the Ancient Pueblo Peoples (also called Anasazi) and Navajo.  The monument covers 131 square miles and encompasses the floors and rims of the three major canyons: de Chelly, del Muerto, and Monument.  These canyons were cut by streams with headwaters in the Chuska mountains just to the east of the monument.


PO Box 588
Chinle, AZ 86503

Phone: (928) 674-5500

Name
The name chelly (or Chelley) is a Spanish borrowing of the Navajo word Tséyiʼ, which means "canyon" (literally "inside the rock" < tsé "rock" + -yiʼ "inside of, within").  The Navajo pronunciation is [tséɣiʔ].  The Spanish pronunciation of de Chelly [deˈtʃeʎi] was adapted into English, apparently through modelling after a French-like spelling pronunciation, and is now pronounced /dəˈʃeɪ/ (dəˇshā′).


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Description
Reflecting on
e of the longest continuously inhabited landscapes of North America, the cultural resources of Canyon de Chelly include distinctive architecture, artifacts, and rock imagery while exhibiting remarkable preservation integrity that provides outstanding opportunities for study and contemplation. 

Canyon de Chelly National MonumentCanyon de Chelly also sustains a living community of Navajo people, who are connected to a landscape of great historical and spiritual significance.  Canyon de Chelly is unique among National Park service units, as it is comprised entirely of Navajo Tribal Trust Land that remains home to the canyon community.  NPS works in partnership with the Navajo Nation to manage park resources and sustain the living Navajo community.

Majestic canyons of Canyon de Chelly National Monument protected prehistoric Pueblo Indians for 1,000 years and served as an ancestral Navajo Indian stronghold.  The ruins of these prehistoric Indian communities are nestled below towering cliffs or perched on high ledges.

Located in the center of the Navajo Reservation, Canyon de Chelly extends from the highlands of the Defiance Plateau and Chuska Mountains in the east to the arid expanse of the Chinle Valley in the west. Although established as a national monument in 1931, Canyon de Chelly continues to support a living community of Navajo families.

An excellent way to view Canyon de Chelly is to hike the moderate, 2.5-mile White House Ruins trail, which descends 600 feet to the canyon floor. To hike anywhere else in the canyons, visitors must be accompanied by a park ranger or authorized guide. The park offers guided tours on foot or horseback or by 4-wheel drive. Visitor's can view Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto by driving along the north and south rim drives.

The monument has a campground and lodge. Park rangers offer talks throughout the summer on geology, Navajo history, culture and other topics.

ACTIVITIES

Auto tours, hiking, rock art viewing, interpretive exhibits and talks, horseback riding (by prior arrangement), picnicking and photography. Concession jeep tours are available from Thunderbird Lodge, PO Box 548, Chinle, AZ 86503, Phone 928-674-5841/5842. Facilities include hiking and auto trails, parking, restrooms, exhibits, concession canyon trips, and horse rentals.

CAMPING
Open All Year

Campsites are available at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis year-round. Reservations for group sites of 15 or more people can be made by contacting the Monument. No reservations are accepted for RV groups. Backcountry camping is allowed with an authorized guide.

  • You'll find a picnic area at the visitor center

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