One of the most visited National Monuments in America, Canyon de Chelly preserves a series of canyons where people have lived for, and families have sustained themselves, for thousands of years. To accent this, while many different peoples have come and gone from a home inside the canyon walls (from the ancestral puebloans, to the present Navajo), some 40 families still call the canyons of the National Monument home. Living in the shade at the base of the cliffs, farming on the rich canyon floor, and capitalizing the present water running through the canyon. It is because of this present habitation that respectful visitation is doubly important, and why visitation to the canyon floor is regulated; with only one publicly open trail to a dwelling called “The White House”
The majority of the park experience is taken from overlooks accessible from the road, with stunning views of the ancient dwellings, and the fertile canyon floor. There are a few more was to saturate yourself in this place, the one hike to the “White House”, is down a 600 ft decent to the canyon floor, and then a short walk along the level bottom to the dwelling. Other options include jeep tours run by private Navajo companies. While there is a cost associated with the jeep tours, they do get you to the bottom of the canyons. There are also free ranger programs and hikes, for which all you need is proper timing, and sometimes reservations for some of the hikes to lesser known sites. You can find more information on the monument at their website: here!