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Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Canyon de Chelly
Millions of years ago, huge desert sand dunes were compressed to become sandstone rocks - over time these red and black rocks red formed the walls of Canyon de Chelly. More than a thousand years ago, the Anasazi people came to live in the area – they planted fields on the canyon floor and built stone houses in the cliffs. Today when you visit Canyon de Chelly, kids can feel a harmony between the ancient rocks and Navajo people, living and grazing sheep in the canyon.
Canyon de Chelly Photo Album
      To explore Canyon de Chelly, you can drive around the north and south cliff rims, hike, ride horses, or take jeep trips through the canyon. The only place you can hike down in the canyon without a Navajo guide is the White House Trail.
    Stop at the Visitor Center to get maps of Canyon de Chelly (South Rim) and Canyon del Muerto (North Rim). You can arrange for Navajo guides at the visitor center (call in advance 928.674.5500), and also at the Holiday Inn gift shop in Chinle.
White House ruins
  White House Trail – A hike down to the see the prehistoric cliff dwelling, called the White House ruins, is a must do. It’s a wide, well-maintained trail to the bottom of the canyon. Along the way, don’t miss the traditional Navajo hogan and sheep grazing (and respect their privacy, the canyon is their home). The trail, 2.5 miles round trip, is easy for kids and it’s a totally great experience down in the canyon. Be sure to bring some water along.
Spider Rock
  Rim Drive South – Spider Rock Overlook – Kids will really appreciate Spider Rock. It’s a spectacular spire poking 800ft up from the canyon floor. In Navajo belief, the deity Spider Woman lives here at Spider Rock. She taught people how to weave and when children are naughty, Spider Woman might eat them. (Use your binoculars to see if there are any bones at the top of the rock …)
    Horseback riding – What an experience for kids to ride through the canyon on horseback. Totsonii Ranch has rides along the canyon rim (2 hours) or rides around Spider Rock (4 hours), for kids 8 and up. (The ranch is located down 1.6 miles down the dirt road at the end of Rim Drive South). Call 928.755.2037 for reservations.
    Canyon tours – To drive down in the canyon, hire a guide or arrange for a jeep or truck tour. There are private jeep tours (3 hour minimum), or at the Thunderbird Lodge, there are half-day tours inn big trucks with padded seats. Navajo guides can also be hired for hiking and overnight camping tours.
family hotels canyon de chelly

There's plenty of fun things to do with kids at Canyon de Chelly, but you'll need a fun place to stay. Here's hotels in Chinle (3 miles from the canyon), near to places you'll want to explore, with amenities for families:

Best Western Canyon de Chelly InnIndoor heated pool and jacuzzi; rooms with two double beds (sleep 4), with extra bed (sleep 5); coin-operated laundry; rollaway bed (fee per day) available; on-site restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with children's menu; outdoor picnic tables and barbeques.
Holiday Inn Canyon de Chelly Outdoor swimming pool; guest rooms with two double beds (sleep 4), suites, connecting rooms are available; rollaway bed or crib available (fee per day) upon request; on-site restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with family-friendly food.
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