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Canyon de Chelly
Canyon de Chelly (pronounced d'Shay) is located in Northern Arizona just outside the town of Chinle. The National Monument actually consists of several canyons, and there is no entrance fee to the National Monument, the canyon overlooks, or the White House trail. However, guides are required to enter the canyon itself, and many tours are offered for a fee. The Canyon presents many dangers such as quicksand and flooding, so knowledgeable guides are necessary for safe travel. The guides are Navajos who still work in and farm the Canyon.

Most of the ruins were built by the Anasazi. The Hopi spent some time here as did the Navajos who arrived in the 1700s. Spaniards who visited the area fought the Navajos. The Navajos climbed hundreds of feet up cliff faces using wooden pegs which were inserted into the cliff face and pulled out by the last person on the way up to a small fortress. The Spanish Cavalcade is depicted by a pictograph above Standing Cow Ruins.

In 1864, the US Army drove thousands of Navajo from their homes and forced them to march 300 miles to Fort Sumner.

White House Ruin was supposedly named by a US Army Lieutenant in the 1800s who named it for the color of the plaster. The one exception to the no-entrance-without-a-guide rule is the White House Ruin Trail.

Overlooks enable visitors to see many of the ruins in the canyon.

Antelope House was built on the north side of the canyon and has white painted designs. It is named for some pictographs of antelope, believed to be painted in the 1830s.

Mummy Cave Ruin is located on the east wall of Canyon del Muerto, and is one of the oldest structures in the canyon. Two mummies were found here in 1882 by an archeological expedition. The mummies were wrapped in fibers from the yucca plant.

Massacre Cave is the location where a Spanish-led expedition in 1805 killed 115 Navajos.

Other ruins and features: Junction Ruin, First Ruin, Big Cave, Mummy Cave, Yucca Cave Ruin, Ledge Ruin, and Sliding House Ruin.

Another major feature is Spider Rock, which is an 832 ft. rock spire. A Navajo legend says that Spider Woman lives at the base of the formation.

Three Turkey Ruin is also located in the area.

The National Parks web page for Canyon de Chelly National Monument has a little more information.

Location: Due east of Chinle, Arizona (6-7 hours from Phoenix depending on route)


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