16th Jun, 2011

Arrived in Canyon De Chelly National Monument on May 24, 2011

Total distance driven (includes in-city driving): 14,578.1 kms (9,058.4 miles)
Average gas consumption: 19.7 L per 100 KM

Canyon De Chelly (pronounced Shay) National Monument in the Navajo Nation was our next stop. You can imagine our surprise to learn that this hidden gem did not have an entrance fee! We also managed to get a spot at Cottonwood Campground – the onsite primitive campground – and were pleasantly surprised to find out that it was free too!

After setting up camp we headed out on the South Rim drive.

Unbelievable views like this one at Spider Rock Overlook…

…and this one at Slipping House Overlook. The amazing views just kept coming!

In many places the cliffs are 1,000 feet straight down. It’s a bit scary being this close to the edge.

The sweeping canyon views were not the only amazing thing to see. Zoom in on this picture you’ll see just one of many 1,000+ year old cliff dwellings visible from the roadside.

Here it is up close and personal…

This canyon is quite deep. To give a sense of size, check out this picture. Near the middle is a small ridge that rises on an angle.

On that ridge are about 20-30 mountain goats.

Canyon De Chelly sits on the Navajo Nation and they still farm on the lands at the bottom of the canyon. That means visitors can only see the canyon floor one of two ways: Hike the White House Trail, or pay for a Navajo guided hike or 4×4 drive.

We chose the free option – hiking down the White House Trail. After going down through a tunnel…

…and switchbacks…

…and another tunnel, we finally reached the canyon floor.

The view was worth it. The picture above shows a Pueblo dwelling from more than 1,000 years ago.

The white walls on the second level are the reason behind the name – White House.

In this National Monument one odd thing was seeing locals selling arts and crafts everywhere. Since this is Navajo land the Navajo sell their wares at makeshift stalls at every roadside stop and even at the end of the White House trail.

The Navajo in this area have open range land.

That means animals roam freely…like this horse ambling across the street…

…and cows…

…and packs of dogs…just roaming around…

After two days of enjoying the canyon views, we decided to hit the road. Next up…Monument Valley.

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