Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Towering Cliffs of Canyon de Chelly

Before heading to the Zion and Bryce Canyon area, we did one of our minute decisions of where to go next. We wanted to stop at Gooseneck State Park, which we had recently read about in the Wheelin It blog. Then Joe was reading about Canyon de Chelly and said let's go there and so we did. It is located in northeastern Arizona within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation. Canyon de Chelly National Monument is owned by the Navajo Tribal Trust of the Navajo Nation and is managed with the cooperation of the National Park Service, the only park done in this manner. There have been people living in this area for 5,000 years and there are now around 40 families still living in the park. We stayed at Cottonwood Campground, which is a first come first service park with no hookups but only $10 a night. It is a pretty nice campground with a lot of trees. We decided to stay two days and do our exploring all in one day. Most of the trails need to be done with a Navajo guide. There is only one trail, the White House trail, that can be done on your own. There are also many overlooks that can be explored on your own. That is what we decided to do. We brought Savannah along. We thought we read that dogs could go on that trail but turned out to not be the case. They are allow on all the overlooks which were nice shorter walks in which we were able to enjoy the magnificent beauty of this place. There are two rim drives, north and south. We took the south rim first that starts from the visitor center right near our campground. It is 34 miles around trip. The first overlooks were Tunnel and Tsegi Overlooks.


Tsegi Overlook provides views of Navajo farmlands on the canyon floor.



We took the overlook trail at White House Ruins. It was buil by the Puebloan people around 1,000 years ago. Even though we couldn't do the trail, it was a nice walk to the overlook.



Spider Rock is a 800 foot sandstone spire that rises from the canyon floor. A must see. You can also see the volcanic core of Black rock Butte and the Chuska Mountains. Juniper trees, sagebrush and sumac are some of the plants in the area adding to the beauty.







We went home for lunch and then went on the 34 mile north rim drive. More beautiful views, including more cliff dwellings.




Antelope House Ruin is named for the illustrations of antelope attributed to Navajo artist Dibe Yazahi, who lived here in the 1800's.





Savannah is a good little hiker but likes to find a place in the shade to rest once in awhile.




Mummy Cave ruins and Massacre Cave were other spots we hiked to.

What a great day. We have had a wonderful time in Arizona. Now onto Utah, a state we have spent time in before and love.

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