Thunderbird Lodge Canyon de Chelly Arizona

The American West is one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, and Canyon de Chelly National Monument is a great example of why. Here you can see amazing geological formations and learn about the mysteries of past cultures.

The Canyon de Chelly National Monument covers 83,840 acres and was established as part of the National Park System in 1931 to preserve ruins of Native American villages that were constructed in deep-walled canyons between A.D. 350 and 1300. The monument is made up of two major canyons — Canyon de Chelly (pronounced “shay” from the Navajo word tsegi, meaning “rock canyon”) and Canyon del Muerto (Spanish for “Canyon of the Dead”) — as well as several lesser canyons.

The only place to stay overnight inside the monument is Thunderbird Lodge, a 73-room motel built in the style of older adobe structures. The lodge has a gift shop and rug room with some of the finest Native American jewelry, crafts, and Navajo rugs in the region as well as mementos, clothing, and other items. The dining facility located in the original trading post offers both continental and Navajo-style meals seven days a week.

With the exception of exploring the White House Ruin path, only a park ranger or another authorized guide, such as Canyon Tours handled by Thunderbird Lodge, is permitted to go into the canyons.

The visitor center of the National Park Service is three miles east of Chinle on Tribal Route 7. The Visitor Center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., October through April; and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., May through September.

The monument does not have an entrance fee. Except for the White House Ruin route and the North and South Rim Drives, hikers may only go into the canyons with a park ranger or other authorized guide. Horseback riding trips are also accessible.

Located in: Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Address: Rte 7, Chinle, AZ 86503, United States

Phone: +1 928-674-5842