At the base of sheer red cliffs and in canyon wall caves are ruins of Indian villages built between AD 350 and 1300. Canyon de Chelly National Monument offers visitors the chance to learn about Southwestern Indian history from the earliest basketmakers to the Navajo Indians who live and farm here. Authorized April 1, 1931. Boundary change: March 1, 1933. Acreage- 83,840 all nonfederal.
Auto tours, hiking, pictograph 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 520-674-5841/5842. Facilities include hiking and auto trails, parking, restrooms, exhibits, concession canyon trips, and horse rentals. The Visitor Center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., October to April; and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., May to September. The inner canyons are impassable in winter and at certain other times of the year. For your safety: Quicksand, deep dry sand, cliffs, loose rocks, and flash floods make the canyons hazardous.
No entrance fee. Hiking within the canyon requires a Park Service permit and an authorized Navajo guide, except along the 2.5-mile (4-km) White House Ruins Trail. One guide may take up to 15 people for $x per hour. To drive on the canyon bottom, a 4-wheel drive vehicle, a Park Service permit, and an authorized Navajo guide are required. The fee is $x an hour for 1 vehicle, $x an hour for each additional vehicle with a 5-vehicle limit per guide. Autos should use paved roads only.
Camping and Lodging
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. Lodging is available at Thunderbird Lodge. Make reservations in advance by writing Thunderbird Lodge, Box 548, Chinle, AZ 86503, or calling 520-674-5841/5842. Other overnight accommodations are available in Chinle; Window Rock, AZ, Monument Valley, and Gallup, NM.
Food and Supplies
Meals are served at Thunderbird Lodge, but no food or supplies are available in the Monument. Food and supplies are available nearby in Chinle.