Canyon de Chelly

Going to the Canyon
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Canyon de Chelly, Northeastern Arizona
Canyon de Chelly, Northeastern Arizona

The best way to see Canyon de Chelly is from within, however. To do so, you'll need to rent or bring your own four-wheel-drive vehicle and hire a Navajo guide; stop by the visitor center at the canyon's entrance to make arrangements. You can also take a motor tour of the canyon by signing on at the Thunderbird Lodge a good place to stay if you're not inclined to camp out and the site of a better-than-average cafeteria.

Led by Navajo guides who drive a fleet of natural-gas-fueled flatbed trucks frankensteined into ungainly buses, these tours venture into the canyon on reasonably priced half-day and full-day trips. Canyon entry gives you the opportunity to see the ruins up close, and to learn about the area from people who know it well.

You may even get a chance to talk about Active X, Javascript, and insurance premiums while you're taking in the ancient sights.

Getting There

To reach Canyon de Chelly National Monument from Flagstaff, take I-40 east to Chambers, then U.S. 191 north to Ganado, where the road detours west for six miles. Continue on U.S. 191 for another 47 miles to Chinle. The entrance to Canyon de Chelly National Monument lies two miles east of Chinle on Indian Route 7.

Contact Information:
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
P.O. Box 588
Chinle, AZ 86503-0588
(520) 674-5510
(520) 674-5500; Visitor Information

Gregory McNamee is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books, including A Desert Bestiary and Gila: The Life of an American River. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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