South Rim Overlooks ~ Canyon De Chelly National Monument

South Rim Overlooks ~ Canyon De Chelly National Monument

Visiting the ancient native heritage sites of the Southwest certainly can add a gratifying cultural experience to the vacation itinerary.  There are many ancient archaeological sites in this region, so it can take a lifetime to see them all, yet this is what many people set out to do.  Interest in learning from the ancient past is the motivation that sets the wheels in motion in most cases.  In order to see some of the ancient pueblos in remote locations, a visitor must either be willing to take on a long hike or horseback ride through rugged territory and lug plenty of water.  There are also plenty of protected native heritage sites are located within a short walk from the road and alternate methods of touring the ancient site may be available too.  

Canyon De Chelly is a World Heritage Site that is relatively easy to get to by automobile.  From the Four Corners, Grand Canyon, Kayenta or Gallup it only takes a couple of hours to get to this place.  Canyon De Chelly is located in the heart of the Navajo Nation near the border of Arizona and New Mexico.  Any trip to Canyon De Chelly is guaranteed to be a memorable one, because the unique landscape of this region can turn the journey into a pleasurable scenic drive with many native artisan trading posts to check out along the way.

As mentioned in a previous article about the North Rim Overlooks, the town of Chinle is the gateway to Canyon De Chelly.  Chinle offers modern accommodations, good food and plenty of opportunities to shop for native works of art.  Many modern Native American nations and tribes have ancestral ties to Canyon De Chelly, so a shopper at a local trading post in Chinle can expect find fine works of art from the local native people.  Each work of native art has a story to tell and many of the local artisans focus upon the spiritual heritage of Canyon De Chelly when designing their crafts.

The town of Chinle is also where guided tours of Canyon De Chelly can be booked.  The modes of guided tour transportation include ATV trams, 4×4 vehicles and horseback rides.  The horseback tour is the most natural way to experience this vast canyon complex and it is highly recommended.  The off road vehicle tour options are a bit more comfortable and this mode of transportation allows even those who have mobility challenges to access this ancient heritage site.  The choice of comfort level for the tour transportation mode is quite important, because Canyon De Chelly is a very big place and a short tour lasts about a half a day. Welcoming all that wish to experience the spirituality of Canyon De Chelly is what Navajo Tourism is all about and the tour guides do provide insight that can be gained nowhere else. 

For those who are on a budget or are just passing through, there is a way to experience Canyon De Chelly without booking a guided tour.  There are many roadside scenic overlooks on the north and south rims of this canyon the provide bird’s eye views of the deep canyon. The views of Canyon De Chelly from the high canyon rim vantage point are nothing less than spectacular! As mentioned earlier, Canyon De Chelly is a very big place and many of the distant features will be barely visible to the naked eye. For this reason, it is best to pack high power binoculars or a telephoto lens when touring the scenic overlooks.

The views from the South Rim Secic Overlooks provide more insight into the nature of Canyon De Chelly.  The geology of Canyon De Chelly is intriguing to view and it is all too easy to spend hours gazing at this majestic landscape!  Views of the canyon floor from high on the canyon rim provide insight into how this fertile land has been farmed for thousands of years.  The ancient pueblo cliff dwellings that can be seen provide clues to the lifestyle and daily routines of the ancestors from long ago.  Gazing upon Canyon De Chelly from the canyon rim can be quite a spiritual experience too, that can provide a total escape from the modern world.  

For those who wish to experience the nature and spirituality of the ancient past, Canyon De Chelly definitely is the place to go!  This World Heritage Site offers an opportunity to escape from the modern world to a simpler time, when humanity lived in harmony with the natural world.  The lessons learned from a visit to Canyon De Chelly will provide many pleasant thoughts to ponder over for a lifetime!