This is hilly area with enormous boulders that tower as high as the buildings downtown. With the yellow-green lichen growing on them, they look like something from another world. Every time you crest a ridge you're treated to a new vista, and you get some of the best views of the Superstitions, Weaver's Needle and Four Peaks that you've ever seen.
Enormous coveys of quail make their homes here, as do javelina, deer, and hundreds of birds and smaller mammals. In spite of the lengthy drought, springs continue to provide water year-round. Ruins of old mining shacks dot the landscape here, and scattered along the hillsides are piles of stones put there by Spaniards to mark their mining claims.
A permit is required for this trail. It’s easy to obtain and free. Carry it with you at all times. This is a highly sensitive area and subject to closure. The trail passes through scenic Sonoran Desert with views of Goldfield and Superstition Mountains. Several short, steep rocky climbs that require careful tire placement and some driving skill. Suitable for aggressive stock SUVs with high ground clearance. Go with a friend and carry a tow strap.
- PO Box 588
Canyon de Chelly is unique among National Park service units, as it consists entirely of Navajo Tribal Trust Land which remains in the ownership of the Navajo Nation and is home to the canyon community, while park matters are administered by the National Park Service. Access to the canyon floor is restricted, and visitors are allowed to travel in the canyons only when accompanied by a park ranger or an authorized Navajo guide. The only exception to this rule is the White House Ruin Trail.
Most park visitors arrive by automobile and view Canyon de Chelly from the rim, following both North Rim Drive and South Rim Drive. Ancient ruins and geologic structures are visible, but in the distance, from turnoffs on each of these routes. Tours of the canyon floor can be booked at the visitor center and at lodgings in the vicinity of the canyon. There is no fee to enter the canyon, apart from any charges imposed by tour guides.
Accommodations for visitors are located in the vicinity of the canyon, on the road leading to Chinle, which is the nearest town.
The National Monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 25, 1970.
The park's distinctive geologic feature, Spider Rock, is a sandstone spire that rises 800 feet (240 m) from the canyon floor at the junction of Canyon de Chelly and Monument Canyon. Spider Rock can be seen from South Rim Drive. It has served as the scene of a number of television commercials. According to traditional Navajo beliefs the taller of the two spires is the home of Spider Grandmother.