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ILNP Park Review
Our Visit We visited Canyon de Chelly as part of our 8-Park Southwest tour in March 2004. We actually spent the night at the Monument’s nice, quaint “Thunderbird Lodge” and spent the next morning touring the canyons.
Our Weather Very nice and unseasonably warm at 85 degrees
Overall Impression Canyon de Chelly is considered by many to be the heart of the Navajo Nation. This phenomenal canyon and the ancient ruins in its shadows lie in stark contrast to the surrounding desert landscape. The views from the canyon’s rim rival those in ANY National Park. There is one thing that immediately sets this area apart from most National Parks and Monuments–the canyon is home to many Navajo families who still live and farm on the canyon floor.
Visiting Plan on spending at least 1/2 a day in Canyon de Chelly. The Monument is divided into two major areas for visitors, Canyon de Chelly to the south and Canyon del Muerto to the north. Both canyons are spectacular, but if you only have time to see one, Canyon de Chelly is your better bet. There are 7 overlooks along the southern road. Our favorite, by far, was Spider Rock Overlook. This area is also home to many Navajo artists who make their living selling artwork, jewelry and pottery at the Monument’s overlooks. Other favorites included White House Overlook and Sliding House Overlook. Unlike other Indian ruins sites, you can’t get close to many of the ruins. The only trail in the Monument is the 2.5-mile trail down into the canyon and the White House Ruins. The draw of Canyon de Chelly, however, is the canyon itself more than the ruins. If you have more time, take the north road to view Canyon del Muerto where you get slightly better vantage points of the ruins inside this canyon.
Nearby Towns Chinle (Arizona)
Other Nearby Attractions Four Corners, Petrified Forest NP
Official NPS Website Canyon de Chelly NM
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