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Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Canyon de Chelly National Monument

 

 

Location: Arizona   Map

Area: 83,840 acres (33,929 ha)

Info: (928) 674- 5500

Open: 8am- 5pm daily

Closed: Dec. 25

Official site

 

 

 

Description of Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Canyon de Chelly National Monument is located in north-eastern Arizona on the border with the Navajo Nation. First natives that left evidence for their inhabitants were the ancient Pueblo People who were later followed by the Navajo tribes. Canyon de Chelly National Monument is a spectacular combination of natural beauty created by erosion and human activity who lived here in dwellings spread all along the canyon. Tourists should not forget that Canyon de Chelly is also a sacred place for Navajo Nation that venerate people who once lived here. Please respect their culture and traditions and don’t take souvenirs from any archaeological sites.

 

To this day Navajo tell a story about several incursions by the Europeans. First attacks were led by the Spanish empire which resulted in a massacre at the Massacre Cave. More recent incursion were led by the army of the United States. First military expedition inside territory of the future Canyon de Chelly National Monument were led by future New Mexico governor Leutenant Antonio Narbona in 1805. It was largely short lived. However, in 1863 Colonel Kit Carson sent his troops to permanently defeat the Navajo tribes. Many natives were massacred and survivors were forced to surrender. Remaining tribes were moved to Bosque Redondo, New Mexico.

 

Spider Rock (Canyon de Chelly National Monument)

 

Spider Rock is easily recognized and serves as an icon for Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Thousands of tourists come here and make pictures of this iconic geologic formation. However according to the Dine (Navajo tribe) tradition this rock formation should be avoided. Natives scarred their children telling them that a terrible creature that is known as Spider Woman lives on its top of a Spider Rock. Those kids that misbehave are snatched at night and dragged up a narrow mesa. Legend also claim white bones of little kids litter the top of the Spider Rock.

Massacre Cave (Canyon de Chelly National Monument)

 

Massacre Cave has its own tragic story behind its name. It was here where local Navajos tried to hide from the invading Spanish troops under leadership of Lieutenant Antonio Narbona in 1805. The Spanish fired into a cave killing dozens of people. According to Spanish account about 115 Navajos were killed including 90 warriors. Native tribes claim that most of the killed were in face civilians. Most of the warriors were hunting elsewhere and escaped the massacre. The Navajo name of the cave is "Two Fell Over" is a reference to one woman who grabbed a Spanish soldier and dragged him over a cliff. Both plunged to the depth of the canyon and died, thus giving the local name.

 

 

 

Fees and permits

There are no fees to enter the park. 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 $15 an hour for 1 vehicle, $5 an hour for each additional vehicle with a 5-vehicle limit per guide. 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 $15 per hour.

 

Where to sleep

Lodging
Holiday Inn Canyon de Chelly and Best Western Canyon de Chelly Inn are nearby, between Chinle and Canyon de Chelly.

Thunderbird Lodge, ☎ +1 928 674-5841, +1 928 674-5842. Open year-round. This comfortable motel-style facility is at the canyon mouth.

Camping
A small campground with 15 basic units is at the monument itself; first-come, first-served, open year-round.r.

 

 

 

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