Canyon de Chelly Access & Resources
Getting There: Canyon de Chelly is located in Chinle, Arizona, a four drive from Albuquerque or six hours from Phoenix. Canyon de Chelly National Monument is open year-round, though the winters are cold and tours run less often.
Where to Stay: Campsites within the monument are free and are first-come, first-served, while backcountry camping is allowed only with an authorized guide (928-674-5500, nps.gov/cach). Built on the site of a former trading post, the Thunderbird Lodge is located a quarter mile from the canyon’s mouth. The cafeteria-style dining room serves up both Navajo and continental fare, and its canyon tours are popular. Doubles from $102 in summer and $59 in winter; tbirdlodge.com; 800-679-2473.
Rules and Regs: With the exception of hiking on the 2.5-mile White House Ruins Trail or drives on the North or South rim, an authorized Navajo guide and Park Service permit are required for drives or hikes into the canyon. Guides for your SUV or hikes into the canyon are $15 an hour. Advance reservations with an outfitter are highly recommended, though the National Monument Visitors Center will arrange impromptu tours; 928-674-5500, nps.gov/cach.
Outfitters: Leon Skyhorse Thomas leads three-hour tours that span 24 miles in the company’s jeep, your own SUV, or a 12-passenger Mercedes Unimog ($50 per adult for Unimog tour; $175 for a four-person Jeep tour). The season runs March 1 to November 1, but tours are available year-round (canyondechellytours.com, 928-674-5433). Horseback tours and overnight camping trips are available through Totsonii Ranch (totsoniiranch.com, 928-755-6209).