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Canyon de Chelly, Arizona


Visitor Services

Self-Guided Year Round Activities:

Rim Drives: Enjoy the sight of Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto by driving the north and south rim drives. Allow approximately two hours for each rim drive. Guide books are available at the Visitor Center.

White House Ruins Trail:

An excellent way to experience Canyon de Chelly is to hike the White House Ruins trail. This scenic trail descends 600 feet to the canyon floor on a well maintained, moderate trail. Be prepared to wade across the Chinle Wash. Respect the privacy of canyon residents and do not wander off the trail. A trail guide brochure is available at the Visitor Center. Approximately two (2) hours - 2 1/2 miles round trip. Carry Drinking Water. Pets are NOT allowed on this trail.


Cottonwood Campground is located 1/2 mile from the Visitor Center. The campground is open year-round with no camping fees. Camping is limited to 5-days per visit and 14 days per year. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The maximum length for RV's and trailers is 35 feet. From April through October facilities include restrooms, picnic tables, water and a dump station. From November through March the facilities include portable toilets and picnic tables. Water is not available during the winter months. There are no shower facilities.

Reservations are accepted for group camp sites only. Group sites area available from April 1st to October 31st for a minimum of 15 people and a maximum of 25. Trailers and recreational vehicles are not permitted in the group site area. Call (928) 674-5500 for reservations.

Wood gathering in the campground and in the park is not permitted.

Stray dogs and cats are a problem in the campground during the summer months. For your safety do not feed or approach strays as they may bite or transmit disease.

Panhandlers are also a problem. Do not encourage panhandlers by giving them money.

Camping outside of the designated area is not permitted.

Please report any campground problems to a ranger immediately.


The Thunderbird Lodge is located 1/2 mile from the Visitor Center. The lodge is open year round and offers reduced rates from November 1 through February 28. The Thunderbird Cafeteria is open from 6:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. and the Gift Shop is open daily from 6:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Gift Shop features souvenir items and Indian arts and crafts. Check with the lodge for winter rates. Call (928) 674-5841, 674-5842 or FAX to (520) 674-5844 for information.

Canyon de Chelly Motel is located in downtown Chinle, one block east of Highway 191, 3 miles from the Visitor Center. The motel is open year round at competitive rates with a full service restaurant, gift shop and indoor swimming pool. For reservations or more information call (800) 327-0354, (928) 674-5875 or FAX (928) 674-3715.

Holiday Inn is located 1/2 mile from the Visitor Center. The hotel is open year round and offers reduced rates off-season as well as a swimming pool and a variety of services. Call (928) 674-5000 for information. Office Hours - Open 24 hours. Garcia Restaurant hours - 6:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. (thru November).

Canyon Tours:

The Thunderbird Lodge offers tours into the canyon with four and six-wheel drive vehicles. The tours are led by Navajo guides.

  • All Day Tour: Late Spring to Early Fall - Departs at 9:00 a.m. and returns approximately 5:30 p.m. (includes lunch)
  • Half-Day Tour: Departs at 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Tour is approximately 3 1/2 hours long.
  • Winter Schedule: 1/2 Day Tours only - 9:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m. Minimum 6 people required.
Tour Rates:
  • 1/2 Day Tour Per Person $32.71
  • Children 12 years and under $24.27
  • All Day Tour Per Person $52.75. The rate for children and adults on the all day tour is the same price. Lunch is provided.
  • Reservations are recommended. Call (928) 674-5841 or 674-5842

Guide Service:

Explore Canyon de Chelly on foot or by 4-wheel drive vehicle with authorized Navajo Guides who provide firsthand knowledge of their homeland. Guides may be hired at the Visitor Center information desk.

Free Permits are REQUIRED and available at the Visitor Center. You must provide your own 4-wheel drive truck or jeep.

Guide Service Fees:

  • Your own 4-Wheel Drive: 1 vehicle $10.00 per hour. two or more vehicles: additional cost (1 guide per 5 vehicles is required.)
  • Hiking: $10.00 per hour (1 guide per 15 people is required)
  • Bus Tour Group: $50.00 per rim. Advanced reservations are recommended.
All Fees Are Paid Directly To The Guide In Cash!

Horseback Riding:

Guided tours on horseback are available from three Navajo owned horse operators.

  • Justin's Horse Rental is located at the mouth of Canyon de Chelly. Reached at P.O. Box 881, Chinle, AZ 86503 or call (928) 674-5678. Summer hours: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Open all year.
  • Tohtsoni Ranch - 3 hour tours down Bat Trail in Spider Rock Area. For details call (928) 755-6209
  • Twin Trail Tours is located on the North Rim Drive, 9 miles north of the Visitor Center. Experience Canyon de Chelly on horseback. Call (928) 674-8425 for reservations or write P.O. Box 1706, Window Rock, Arizona 86515. Available schedules: Full day, 3 hour, and 2 hour rides. Overnight and other group adventures available on request.

Other Services:

In the town of Chinle you will find fast-food outlets, service stations, grocery stores and laundromats. No banks or ATM's in Chinle.

Southwest Parks and Monuments Association: Located at the Visitor Center. SPMA is a nonprofit organization providing interpretive and educational material for visitors. All net proceeds support the interpretive and research programs at Canyon de Chelly National Monument.

Spider Rock RV and Camping Too is located 10 miles east of the Visitor Center on the South Rim Drive. The RV Park and Camp Too is 100% Navajo owned and is now taking customers at a Flat Low Rate. 50 RV sites and 20 regular camp sites are available on natural raw landscape. There are no hook-ups available but in the near future the area will be fully developed with hook-ups. For information or reservation, call (800) 817-2702 or (928) 674-8261

DeChelly Tours, 4-wheel & Hiking Tours. Ask about Jeep Rentals. For information contact: P.O. Box 2539, Chinle, AZ 86503 or call (928) 674-3772 or (928) 674-5433

Canyon Hiking Service, daily hiking tours, Night walk and other special tours. Located 1/4 mile north Thunderbird Lodge. P.O. Box 362, Chinle, AZ 86503

Coyote-Pass Hospitality Hogan: Bed & Breakfast: Caution: We are not for everyone... Brochures are available and/or for reservations by writing Will B. Tsosie Jr., P.O. Box 91, Tsaile, Arizona 86556, or by calling (928) 724-3383. Custom tours. (Groups limited to maximum of 15 to ensure attention). Navajo Cultural Enrichment Consulting (prior arrangements required.

Reprinted from the "Canyon Overlook Guide, 1995 - A visitor's guide to Canyon de Chelly National Monument"

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Thunderbird Lodge Trading Days at Canyon de Chelly