Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
At the base of sheer red cliffs and in canyon wall caves are ruins of Indian villages built between AD 350 and 1300.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument offers visitors the chance to learn about Southwestern Indian history from the earliest basketmakers to the Navajo Indians who live and farm here. Authorized Feb. 14,1911. Boundary change: March 1,1911. Acreage- 83,840 all nonfederal.
Mailing Address: Superintendent
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
PO Box 588, Chinle, AZ 86503
The Visitor Center is 3 miles (4.8 km) from Route 191 in Chinle.
Auto tours, hiking, pictograph viewing, interpretive exhibits and talks, horseback riding (by prior arrangement), picnicking and photography. Concession jeep tours are available from Thunderbird Lodge, PO Box 548, Chinle, AZ 86503, phone 602-674-5841/5842. Facilities include hiking and auto trails, parking, restrooms, exhibits, concession canyon trips and horse rentals.
The Visitor Center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5p.m., October to April; and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., May to September. The inner canyons are impassable in winter and at certain other times of the year. For your safety: Quicksand, deep dry sand, cliffs, loose rocks and flash floods make the canyons hazardous.
No entrance fee. 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 $? per hour. 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 $10 an hour for 1 vehicle, $5 an hour for each additional vehicle with a 5-vehicle limit per guide. Autos should use paved roads only.
Some overlook areas are accessible.
Campsites are available at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis year-round. Reservations for group sites of 15 or more people can be made by contacting the Monument. No reservations are accepted for RV groups. Backcountry camping is allowed with an authorized guide. Lodging is available at Thunderbird Lodge. Make reservations in advance by writing Thunderbird Lodge, Box 548, Chinle, AZ 86503, or calling 602-674-5841/5842.
Other overnight accommodations are available in Chinle; Window Rock, AZ, Monument Valley, and Gallup, NM.
Food and Supplies
Meals are served at Thunderbird Lodge, but no food or supplies are available in the Monument. Food and supplies are available nearby in Chinle.
The Apache Maid Trail skirts the rim of Wet Beaver Creek Canyon, one of the scenic red rock gorges that cut the southern rim of the Colorado Plateau. The trail starts at the mouth of the canyon and continues up this picturesque drainage, offering glimpses of the clear, cool stream, until it branches off from the Bell Trail to climb the canyon’s north wall. Once atop the basalt flows that form a caprock in this area, the Apache Maid Trail winds along primitive jeep tracks across the grassy, juniper flats. From the trail, the canyon appears off to your right as an eroded rift in the ancient lava flow.
Some choose to hike just a part of this trail, enjoying overlooks of the canyon and a panorama that includes Casner Butte and the San Francisco Peaks. Others arrange a car-shuttle and continue all the way to trail’s end near the lookout tower on Apache Maid Mountain.
Length: 13 miles Rating: Moderate to Strenuous
Use: Light Season: April to November Hiking Time: 7 hours
Location: 43 miles south of Flagstaff on paved and all-weather graveled roads.
Access: Drive 40 miles south from Flagstaff on Interstate 17. Leave the interstate at the AZ 179 interchange. Turn east under the highway and drive about 1.5 miles east to the Beaver Creek Ranger Station turnoff. Turn north about a quarter mile to the parking lot and trailhead. USGS Map(s): Casner Butte
Notes: No motor vehicles, no mechanized vehicles in the Wilderness.
For more information contact:
Beaver Creek Ranger District, H.C. 64, Box 240, Rimrock, AZ 86335, (602) 567-4510
Long Valley Ranger District, P.O. Box 68, Happy Jack, AZ 86024, (602) 354-2216
THE GRAND CANYON IS A STANDARD FOR MEASURING THE WONDERS OF THE WORLD!
The abrupt appearance of the chasm in the Kaibab Plateau defines the term “awesome”. The Grand Canyon twists for 277 miles, is up to one mile deep, and boasts a rim-to-rim distance of from just one-half mile to 18 miles. The park’s boundaries encompass 1,215,375 acres. Endless and ever-changing views abound from both rims as well as inside the multicolored canyon’s walls. The climate and the vegetation vary greatly from top to bottom and on each side. Life zones range from the Canadian and Hudsonian at 8,000 to 9,000 feet on the North Rim, to the Lower Sonoran at 2,400 feet or less along the Colorado River. Forests of spruce, fir, and ponderosa pine cloak the high country, merging into juniper, pinyon pine, sagebrush, and other desert plants further into the canyon depths. The rarest mammal in the park is the Kaibab squirrel, which is found only on the North Rim. Many other animals inhabit the sculptured landscape, including deer, bighorn sheep, ringtail cat, bobcat, mountain lion, black bear, coyote, fox, and bald and golden eagles.
Unless you are an experienced backpacker, you will have a hard time getting away from the crowds. There are four types of backcountry management zones: corridor (the most heavily used), threshold (unmaintained trails), primitive (for those with proven route-finding ability), and wild (for those with extensive canyon experience in the other management zones). The more maintained corridor zone is recommended for first-time canyon hikers. Here the trail is clear and water supplies predictable-nevertheless 750 visitors required ranger assistance to return to the rim during a recent three-year period. During spring and fall and on holidays, there are always more requests for backcountry permits than are available. The North Rim is harder to reach and less developed. (It’s 215 miles by road between the North Rim and South Rim villages). If you can plan your trip from there, your chances of getting a permit are improved. Only expert boaters can run the Colorado on their own, and it is extremely difficult to procure a private boating permit. if you don’t mind giving up some independence, consider a commercial, non-motorized raft or dory trip on the Colorado. It is a special (though pricey) way to see the canyon.
Permits are required for overnight backcountry use. Permit requests are accepted only by mail, overnight delivery service, or in person, and permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Beginning with the first day of the month, permit requests will be accepted for trips starting any time that month or the following four months. On rare instances, permits may be obtained on a walk-in basis if there is space available in the area you request, but reservations are highly recommended. Submit at least three alternative routes. Flash floods, heat, and lack of water are important considerations in trip planning. Summer hiking is not recommended because of the extreme temperatures at lower elevations. Conditions are more pleasant during the off season. Fires are not allowed.
The park’s zone system and popularity make -it time consuming and confusing to figure out a backcountry trip plan, but it’s worth the effort to do more than merely gaze at the canyon, as do the majority of visitors. As you spend time below the rim, you will feel more a part of the canyon. You’ll also need to make arrangements for your stay before and after your hike. The park concessionaire (not the park administration) is in charge of campgrounds and lodging on the rims. If you can manage it, don’t rush through the ‘four comers’ area, where the borders of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona intersect. There are more than 25 national parks and monuments in this area. Before you go, read The Man Who Walked Through Time by Colin Fletcher, the first person to walk from Hualapai Hilltop east through the Grand Canyon to Nankoweap, covering the central portion of the canyon entirely on foot.
Grand Canyon Village (South Rim) is on U.S. 180, 80 miles north of Flagstaff. Air and bus service are also available from Flagstaff. In summer months, a concessionaire offers shuttle service between the North and South Rims.
For More Information:
Grand Canyon National Park, P.O. Box 129, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023; (520) 638-7888 (11 A.M. to 5 PM., MST, Monday through Friday). Thoroughly research some of the commercially available guidebooks, and then call the Backcountry Office for more advice. Obtain guidebooks and maps from the Grand Canyon Association, P.O. Box 399, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023; (520) 638-2481. For information on short-term volunteer opportunities, contact the park’s VIP coordinator