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Verde Valley Archaeology Center
Verde Valley
Verde Valley Archaeology Center
Excursion: Experience Canyon De Chelly

Excursion: Experience Canyon De Chelly
Registration Begins
4/11/2022 3:00 PM
Last Day To Register
5/16/2022 9:00 AM
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Day 1 Wednesday May 25th: Hubbell Trading Post & Home, Ganado

We start our visit in the afternoon, meeting at the oldest continuously operated trading post in the American Southwest, the Hubbell Trading Post. We will gather for an orientation by one of the National Park Service rangers, tour the historic Hubbel home and visitor’s center before heading to the Trading Post nearby.

Since 1878, this post has been showcasing the artistry of the local tribal peoples, where we will meet one of their expert traders. He will describe the importance of weaving to the Dine´ (Navajo) People, and present some of their extensive collection of Navajo rugs and other treasures for sale.

We will then drive about 40 minutes to Chinle, check into our lodgings. Once settled, we gather for dinner (on us!), get to know each other, and enjoy some traditional local foods or standard fare.

After our meal, we will meet with a traditional Dine´ storyteller and knowledge keeper, as we hear tales and cultural wisdom to connect us to this beautiful place.

Day 2 Thursday May 26th: Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Chinle                                                                          We will meet early, to be transported into this enchanting canyon, where we will spend the day with our Dine´ guides for a custom tour of this ancient place.

This 26-mile canyon of 30- to 1,000-foot cliffs is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Ancestral Puebloan people inhabited these peach-colored sandstone canyons for thousands of years, gradually replacing their pit house structures with ones of stone. Like many peoples in the area, the inhabitants left in the mid-1300’s A.D. The Hopi continue to have a relationship with this place.

Now part of the Navajo Nation, this canyon, Tseyi (“the place deep in the rock”), forms the backdrop for many of these ancient cliff dwellings, as well as for contemporary residences. Roughly 40 Navajo families make their homes, raise livestock, and farm the lands here. We will visit canyon residents, if available, who still live traditionally within these walls.

We will be returned to our inn to enjoy lunch on our own, explore Chinle for the remains of the day. At sunset, we will drive along the Canyon’s south rim, stopping at the overlooks to gaze down on where we had spent our morning, a photographer’s heaven. The light is breathtaking. A short drive further will take us to Spider Rock, a stone spire rising over 800 feet from the canyon floor, and the home of Spider Woman, sacred to the People. Dinner is on our own.

Day 3 Friday May 27th: Dine´Arts, Chinle

This morning, we will meet at the Canyon de Chelly Visitor’s Center to experience some of the fine arts the Diné are known for, as we chat with up-and-coming young artists. This may include silversmiths, weavers, moccasin makers etc. This is a wonderful opportunity to purchase directly from the source, and understand what goes into making their art pieces.

Afterwards, we will go to the historic Thunderbird Lodge shop to see examples of other arts of the area. Enjoy lunch on our own in the Thunderbird Lodge’s charming cafeteria.

After lunch, we will caravan about 15 miles to the Mummy Cave Overlook. From the overlook, we will view a 70-room cliff dwelling, the largest Ancestral Puebloan structure in Canyon de Chelly, nestled 300 feet above the canyon floor, and occupied for 1,000 years.  Dinner is on our own. Take this time to buy gas for our trip tomorrow.

Day 4 Saturday May 28th: Betatakin, Navajo Nat’l. Monument, Shonto                                     We will leave early and caravan about 97 miles to the Navajo National Monument.  With our archaeologist guide, we will hike the 3 mile round-trip trail to one of the three very well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings within this monument, high on the Shonto plateau.

Known as Betatakin, “house built on a ledge” to the Navajo, or Talastima, “place of the corn tassel” to the Hopi, it was built in an enormous overhang out of sandstone, mortar and wood. Its construction dates from 1267 to 1286, and housed about 125 people. Of the original 120 rooms, 80 rooms and a kiva remain.

We will follow our guide along the East/Tsegi Point Trail, a mildly strenuous hike with switchbacks, and a 600 foot descent to the site.  The trail starts at 7,300 feet elevation and will be a good workout, but with rests as needed! We will remain at the site for about an hour, take a break for snacks, while learning about the place and the ancient people who occupied it. After about 3 to 4 hours, we return to our vehicles to head home. Our visit ends here. May you be filled with beauty.

$615.00 per NONMEMBER
$550.00 per VVAC Member
Cancellation Policy
Cancellations must be made by May 16 in order to receive a full refund.

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460 W. Finnie Flat Road, Camp Verde, AZ 86322

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Center Offices and Museum
385 S. Main St., Camp Verde, AZ 86322

Native American Heritage Pathway & Garden
330 N. Homestead Parkway, Camp Verde, AZ