Chinle, near the geographic center of the Navajo Indian Reservation in northeastern Arizona, is at the entrance to Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Chinle became a center for population growth and trade after 1868 when the United States signed a treaty with the Navajos. The first trading post was established in 1882, the first mission in 1904, and the first government school in 1910.
Canyon de Chelly, a geological and historical wonder, is Chinle’s greatest scenic attraction. The Canyon was a Navajo stronghold during Colonel Kit Carson’s Navajo Campaign and was designated a National Monument in 1931. Evidence of Indian habitation as early as 2000 B.C. is found in artifacts and prehistoric cliff dwellings. As the angle of the sun changes, the colors in the rock formations change from brilliant red-browns to orange, pink, and even purple.
Thirty miles south of Chinle lies Ganado, site of Arizona’s most famous Indian trading post, Hubbell’s. In operation for nearly a century, it has been designated a National Historic Site. At Hubbell’s and other trading posts on the reservation, the famed handcrafted Navajo silver jewelry and hand-woven woolen rugs may be purchased.
Trout, bass, and catfish fishing is excellent at nearby lakes. Other area attractions include Window Rock, headquarters of the Navajo Tribe; the Painted Desert; Petrified Forest National Monument; Monument Valley; and the Hopi Indian Reservation.