Ninety-eight miles northwest of Gallup and situated in the heart of the Navajo Nation, Canyon de Chelly—pronounced de-shay—is well worth the drive and a day of exploring. Amid its fascinating Anasazi ruins tucked high into alcoves in the red canyon walls—and spectacular formations like Spider Rock—Diné (Navajo) residents farm and raise sheep on the canyon floor. The visitor center and museum are open all year, and from there, or at nearby Thunderbird Lodge (928/674–5841 or 800 679–2473 www.tbirdlodge.com) you can book tours on the canyon bottom—by vehicle or, even more memorably, by horseback—with Navajo guides, or drive the canyon rim and take the self-guided 6-mi hike on White House Trail. A guide will cost about $40 per hour, per vehicle ($15 per hour on horseback), and is well worth hiring if your budget allows. Campgrounds and a couple of chain lodgings are in Chinle; there is also a campground at the monument visitor center.
NM/AZ 264 west (through Window Rock), then north on U.S. 191 30 mi, Chinle, Arizona, 86503, United States