Canyon de Chelly is co-managed by the National Park Service and the Navajo Nation. Because of this all hikes and tours through the canyon floor must be accompanied by a park ranger or Navajo tour guide.
Canyon de Chelly has two paved rim roads that lead to overlooks that give a magnificent view of the canyon. The overlooks and drives are open year-round and take at least a couple hours. Each overlook gives visitors a chance to take remarkable shots of the exquisite landscape.
Outside of the guided canyon floor tours, there is one public trail for guests: The White House Overlook. The trail is located on the south rim and descends 600 feet and then continues back up the switchbacks to the White House Ruin.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day there is a Ranger Program open to all guests for free, not including other special events outside of those months. The program includes talks and hikes from park rangers. The talks range from the Park’s Birthday in April to a Halloween Costume Contest. During the on months of the Ranger Program there are several summer activities and special programs about the Navajo Long Walk.
Because Canyon de Chelly is on Navajo Tribal Land, tours on the canyon floor must be led by a ranger or Navajo guide. Theses tours offer a special view at the beautiful canyon floor that photographer Ansel Adams made famous. The tours are conducted through private companies and can be done via hiking, horseback or vehicle. The tours require backcountry permits and other fees.
The park has a wonderful primitive campground: Cottonwood Campground. The campground gives guests the opportunity to extend their stay and discover the beautiful contrast of the red rock and green flora.
Canyon de Chelly isn’t the only beautiful archeological site in the region. The canyon is close to the Petrified Forest: 146 square miles of petrified wood. The petrified fossils are nearly 225 million years old and give a great look into the unique geology of the past. Recent backcountry trails have been opened offering areas never before seen like the Red Basin and Martha’s Butte.