Canyon de Chelly National Monument



Canyon de Chelly National Monument offers van lifers a journey through time and culture. Drive along the rim, witnessing ancient cliff dwellings and towering sandstone spires. Hike into the canyon, exploring sacred ruins and pictographs. Immerse yourself in Navajo traditions and stories shared by local guides. This sacred place delivers unforgettable experiences at every turn.


Canyon de Chelly National Monument, located in northeastern Arizona, is a hidden gem for van lifers seeking a captivating blend of natural beauty and Native American history. This awe-inspiring landscape boasts ancient cliff dwellings, intricate rock formations, and a vibrant cultural legacy waiting to be explored.


Embark on hiking trails that wind through the canyon, revealing hidden ruins and petroglyphs. The White House Trail is a popular route, leading to a remarkable cliff dwelling. Respect the sacred sites and soak in the spiritual ambiance while traversing these ancient paths.


For rock climbing enthusiasts, the park offers opportunities to scale the majestic sandstone walls within the designated areas. As you ascend, marvel at the panoramic views and immerse yourself in the sheer beauty of the canyon’s vertical cliffs.


Enjoy the tranquility of the park by camping at the Cottonwood Campground or Spider Rock Campground. Fall asleep under a blanket of stars, surrounded by the serenity of the canyon. Campfires are not permitted, but the experience of sleeping amidst this ancient landscape is unmatched.


Experience the true essence of van life by boondocking along the South Rim or North Rim overlooks. Be mindful of respecting the environment and the cultural significance of the sites. Enjoy the solitude and breathtaking vistas from your van’s comfort.


Learn about the deep-rooted history of the Navajo people who have inhabited the canyon for thousands of years. Engage with the local community and hear their stories, traditions, and reverence for this sacred land. Gain insights into the rich cultural heritage preserved within the canyon’s walls.

Park Information

Before exploring Canyon de Chelly, familiarize yourself with park regulations and guidelines. The park operates on Navajo Nation land, and certain areas may require a local guide for access. Be prepared for limited cell phone reception and stock up on supplies beforehand.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument beckons van lifers with its enigmatic allure and cultural treasures. Hike among ancient dwellings, climb soaring cliffs, and connect with the living legacy of the Navajo people. Camping or boondocking under the vast desert skies completes this journey into the heart of a timeless wonder.

It’s a privilege to have Canyon de Chelly National Momument for our enjoyment, so please practice Leave No Trace principles.


Directions from Gallup, New Mexico, to Canyon de Chelly National Monument:

1. Start your journey in Gallup, New Mexico.
2. Head east on Historic US 66 E/Santa Fe Ave toward S 2nd St.
3. Continue to follow Historic US 66 E for about 26 miles.
4. Turn right onto Indian Service Route 12 (ISR 12) toward Navajo, New Mexico.
5. After about 13 miles, turn left onto Indian Route 7 (IR 7) toward Chinle, Arizona.
6. Continue on IR 7 for approximately 55 miles, crossing into Arizona.
7. In Chinle, Arizona, turn right onto US-191 N/US-64 W.
8. Follow US-191 N for around 4 miles, and you’ll reach the entrance of Canyon de Chelly National Monument.

Note: Please keep in mind that road conditions and travel times may vary, so it’s a good idea to check for updates and plan your journey accordingly. Additionally, respect the local communities and adhere to all park regulations and guidelines while visiting Canyon de Chelly.

References and Links:


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