Canyon de Chelly

The most famous feature of Canyon de Chelly is Spider Rock, a 750 feet (229 m) tall sandstone spire. So I will start this blog post with it, even though it is not the first thing visitors entering Canyon de Chelly encounter.

Canyon de Chelly, part of the Navajo Nation, is located in the Four Corners region of Eastern Arizona.

The name Chelly is a Spanish borrowing for the Navajo word Tséyiʼ, which means canyon.

So … Canyon de Chelly technically is the Canyon of Canyon…

The Navajo inhabited Canyon de Chelly when US forces invaded in the early 19th century. Many bloody events ensued, but the Navajo held out, aided by the fact that the narrow western entrance into the canyon made it easily defensible.

But in 1863 Kit Carson’s troops found their way in from the East, massacred many and destroyed Navajo dwellings and crops. After that the Najavo were exiled from Canyon de Chelly.

Today Canyon de Chelly is part of the Navajo Nation.

The tour map above shows that the Spider Rock Overlook lies at the end of the southern rim road. There are many magnificent overlooks as well as a two hour hike into the canyon one can take as a regular visitor on the way to Spider Rock. And then there are views from the northern rim road too. I will share images from those stops as well.

Starting with a video taken at the first southern rim stop, Tseyi overlook:

At Junction Overlook:

At White House Overlook:

The White House hiking trail.

The next three pics close in on the White House, remainders of an approx. thousand year old settlement.

We hiked the trail down to the White House.

The trail is partly hewn into the rock at the upper level.

A Hogan, a traditional Navajo dwelling, can be seen near the tree at center.

A closer look at a Hogan; this one was by the visitor center:

Ed and I had spent the previous night in a modern hogan via air bnb:

Back to our hike to the White House:

The White House

Modern graffiti, although “modern” in this case may mean from the 19th Century…

Much older, these petroglyphs:

After the hike, moving on to the next overlooks:

Until we reach Spider Rock.

Next, the views from the northern rim route:

The Antelope House:

Then we drove north by northwest, towards the Arizona/Utah border, and Monument Valley, a future blog photo post…

About dannyashkenasi

I'm a composer with over 40 years experience creating music theater. I'm also an actor, writer, director, producer, teacher and general enthusiast for the arts.
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