Canyon de Chelly

This park is in the Navajo Nation, and nestles in the northeast corner of Arizona.

Physically its deep canyons were carved over eons by two rivers into an 800-foot-thick layer of de Chelly sandstone. As a result of the erosion, the deep valleys are  rich with fertile soil that offers abundant crops.

The canyons have been occupied for as long as 3,500 years. From about 200 B.C. to A.D. 1300, the valleys were occupied by a sophisticated society of Anasazi. The Anasazi became famous for weaving baskets of reeds and textile out of wool and cotton.

Several famous ruins are located in the canyons, usually nestled under sheer stone walls rising up to 800 feet. Of these ancient villages, the most well-preserved are the White House, Antelope House and the Mummy House. Each of these is visible from the rim drives along the top of the canyons, as well as by Navajo tour trucks which drive in the valleys.

In the late 1700s, the Navajo migrated from New Mexico and settled in the canyons. The Navajo were both farmers and raiders of other settlements, so they were subjected to punitive expeditions by the Spaniards in 1805. A famous massacre at Massacre Cave occurred during that expedition.

For similar reasons, the U.S. Army  mounted expeditions commanded by Kit Carson after the Civil War.

Today, the Navajo  farm in the deep valleys and entertain visitors interested in the scenery and cultural history. Sites such as the towering spires of Spider Rocks enchant photographers. While I was there, I met tourists from all over the world looking at the colossal vistas the Canyons offer.


We download a small library of images to display on each of these gallery pages. That takes a number of seconds, but we think you will very much enjoy the result

Canyon del Muerto in the North A beam of heavenly light
Southern Canyon de Chelly White Rock using Telephoto lens from Overlook.

A YouTube Video of Canyon de Chelly!

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Modified 07.19.10