Continuously inhabited for almost 5,000 years, Canyon de Chelly’s sheltering cliffs, rich soil and natural water sources have attracted a variety of peoples to settle among its sheer sandstone walls including the Basketmakers, the Anasazi, the Hopi and, most recently, the Navajo. We spend the next two days discovering Canyon de Chelly on foot accompanied by a local Navajo guide who enlightens us on the history of the canyon and the cultures that thrived here over the centuries. During our visit we enjoy fabulous views of the canyon and soaring Spider Rock from both the rim and the canyon floor, explore the dramatic White House Ruin and other Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) cliff dwellings and ruin sites, and search for mysterious prehistoric rock art carved into the canyon walls. Although we’re in the desert, part of our hike follows the sun-drenched canyon bottom and weaves back and forth across a creek bed through lush riparian habitat. As the sun drops below the canyon rim each evening and darkness falls across the landscape, we settle into our cozy tents and imagine what life must have been like for those who called Canyon de Chelly home through the millennia.
Hiking: up to 8 miles on Day 6, up to 10 miles on Day 7; Elevation gain/loss: 1,000’ loss on Day 6, minimal on Day 7 as we hike at the bottom of the canyon; Terrain: dirt trails and sandy washes. All meals included.