Canyon De Chelly National Monument covers a total area of 83,840 acres that is in northeastern Arizona and more specifically in Apache County and close to the small community of Chinle. Access to the visitor center at the national monument is relatively easy by driving about three miles along route 191 from Chinle. The national monument was established on February 14, 1931, and is governed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The Canyon De Chelly National Monument is a special place to visit for several reasons but primarily because of its historical significance. Essentially, people have been in this part of the land for almost 5,000 years making the area one of the places where people have lived for the longest amount of time uninterrupted anywhere on the Colorado Plateau.
Evidence of this are the ruins of Indian villages built between AD 350 and 1300 that can be found at the base of sheer red cliffs and in caves in the area. Today, the Navajo Indians still live and farm in the area. For visitors to the national monument, there is plenty to appreciate and enjoy. First, visitors can use the North Rim Drive to enjoy a 34-mile drive and see the spectacular Navajo cliff dwellings in the area.
Secondly, visitors can also access the South Rim Drive, which is a 37-mile round-trip drive, and appreciate some of the most scenic views of the Chuska Mountains, the Defiance Plateau, and the canyons in the area. Besides these attractions, visitors can also enjoy recreational activities in the protected area including, hiking, camping, auto touring, horseback riding, interpretive programs, and guided tours.
Some of the amenities at the national monument include a campground, lodge, picnic area, visitor center, restaurant/snacks, horse rental, groceries, exhibit, and jeep tours. If you have a dog, you can bring them to Canyon De Chelly National Monument, but your experience will be restricted by several rules designed to protect the habitat and the fragile ecosystem in the area. All tail-waggers must always be on a leash and must be kept away from the Welcome Center, (on the White House Trail) and from the canyon tours.