Canyon de Chelly
National Monument

Canyon de Chelly National Monument was established on April 1, 1931, as a unit of the National Park Service. Located in northeastern Arizona, it is within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation and lies in the Four Corners region. Reflecting one of the longest continuously inhabited landscapes of North America, it preserves ruins of the indigenous tribes that lived in the area, from the Ancestral Puebloans (also known as the Anasazi) to the Navajo. The monument covers 83,840 acres (131 sq mi) and encompasses the floors and rims of the three major canyons: de Chelly, del Muerto, and Monument. These canyons were cut by streams with headwaters in the Chuska Mountains just to the east of the monument. None of the land is federally owned.  Canyon de Chelly is one of the most visited national monuments in the United States.

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The easternmost viewpoint on the South Rim Drive, and perhaps the best, is of Spider Rocks (shown in this picture and the next one - #6031), the twin towers of sandstone guarding the confluence of Canyon de Chelly with Bat and Monument canyons to the south. A 1/4-mile path leads to the overlook, which also has a good panorama back towards Face Rock and a V-shaped tributary ravine on the north side. A 'No Vending' notice warns against Navajo jewelry sellers, who are usually in residence at all the other overlooks. The surroundings are now quite overgrown, with pinyon pine and juniper bushes, and yucca, quite different to the open, sandy, desert-like conditions around Chinle. Although the wash on the canyon floor remains fairly level, the rim plateau steadily rises; the elevation at Spider Rocks Overlook is nearly 7,000 feet, 1,500 feet higher than the town.

Picture Number: CM1_6038

Date: May 2022

Camera: Nikon D7100

ISO: 140     Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec

F-Stop: f/8     Lens: 34 mm

Another view of Spider Rock from a slightly different angle.

Picture Number: CM1_6031

Date: May 2022

Camera: Nikon D7100

ISO: 200     Shutter Speed: 1/100 sec

F-Stop: f/11     Lens: 18 mm

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This is a picture of Antelope House Ruins. This is an ancient settlement in Apache County, Arizona. This Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) ruin was built (in several stages) and occupied between ~850 and 1270 AD. It can be viewed from the canyon rim and is also a stop on several private jeep tours that run along the canyon floor. There are two main building areas around a central, open plaza. It is estimated that the complex had about 90 rooms, although much of the structure has been washed away by flooding over the years.  The ruins are named for nearby historic (1830's) painted rock wall figures that include antelopes.  According to our tour guide the Antelope figures are Navajo while the rock carved figures are ancestral Puebloan.  He told us that this is the case because the ancestral Puebloans did not have paint with which to do such artwork so they did rock carvings; while the later Navajo people did have the paint to do the rock art.

Picture Number: CM1_6072

Date: May 2022

Camera: Nikon D7100

ISO: 125     Shutter Speed: 1/125 sec

F-Stop: f/11     Lens: 140 mm

Rock art at Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona, USA. This panel from the so called "Kokopelli cave" shows several hand prints, two of them as negatives, a snake as symbol of earth and fertility, as well as two anthropomorph figures. One is a humpback playing the flute while lying on its back, the other is in a squatting position. The humpbacked flute player is a shamanic symbol called "kokopelli" that is well known throughout the American Southwest.

Picture Number: CM1_6044

Date: May 2022

Camera: Nikon D7100

ISO: 720     Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec

F-Stop: f/5.6     Lens: 140 mm

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This is a picture of First Ruin in Canyon de Chelly. These well-preserved Navajo ruins in the Canyon are part of a National Monument established in 1931 as part of the National Park System in USA. It is in north eastern Arizona within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation. As one of the longest continuously inhabited landscapes of North America, it preserves ruins of the early indigenous tribes that lived in the area, including the Pueblo Peoples (also called Anasazi) and Navajo.

Picture Number: CM1_6056

Date: May 2022

Camera: Nikon D7100

ISO: 320     Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec

F-Stop: f/5.6     Lens: 140 mm

The ruins are called the White House Ruins because of the one building that apparently was constructed of a lighter (almost white)  material than the other structures.  (This one white building can be seen better in the following picture - #6087.)  Construction of the buildings at the White House site began around 1070, and the place is thought to have been abandoned in the late 1300s. The name derives from a whitish band across the nearby cliffs. The lower ruin, on the canyon floor, once comprised around 60 rooms, while the upper alcove site has 20, including four kivas; together, the dwellings were home to at least 50 people. Only around half of the lower ruin is visible today; the remainder was washed away as a result of several years of unusually high rainfall in the 1910s. Excavations in the 19th and 20th centuries revealed burial sites, tools, projectile points, and large amounts of pottery including several complete items.

Picture Number: CM1_6084

Date: May 2022

Camera: Nikon D7100

ISO: 200     Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec

F-Stop: f/10     Lens: 45 mm

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This is another view of the White House Ruins.  This one shows a close-up of the building that gives the ruins its name.

Picture Number: CM1_6087

Date: May 2022

Camera: Nikon D7100

ISO: 200     Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec

F-Stop: f/10     Lens: 40 mm