Saturday, May 14, 2016
Canyon De Chelly National Monument
Canyon De Chelly has been the homeland of the Navajos for 400 years. Some families raise sheep and grow crops in the canyon during the summer and move to the top for the winter, following the patterns of their ancestors, but many more families live on top of the canyon year round. The national monument land is a small strip along the canyon rim; everything else is private property. Visitors have access to ten overlooks and a 2.5 mile round trip trail to White House ruins in the canyon floor. Other activities such as hiking, back-country camping, horseback riding, and 4 wheel drive tours require a guide.
The view from the overlooks of the sheer cliffs, the wide, green canyon floor, and the sunlit glow of the red rocks is spectacular. Puebloan ruins, deserted 700 years ago, can be seen in cliff alcoves.
A pretty little campground with good spacing between the sites and shade from large cottonwood trees is located at the west end of the park. I think this campground was part of the national monument at one time. It’s now managed by the Navajo parks department so half price camping fees do not apply.
Five of the overlooks are accessible. The campground has accessible sites which are no different from the other sites but are close to the restrooms. The visitor center is accessible.
Most of the overlook lots are roomy enough for RVs. The campground has a few sites that will accommodate large RVs.
Park 36.15173, -109.50004