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Monument Valley or Canyon de Chelly: where to stay?

Monument Valley or Canyon de Chelly: where to stay?

Old Jun 6th, 2009, 09:17 PM
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Monument Valley or Canyon de Chelly: where to stay?

Hubby and I will be touring around the southwest in mid-Sept. Fly into Vegas, pick up a car and go to Bryce Canyon (2 nites), the Capitol Reef (1 nite), drive down to Monument Valley (been there before, stayed at Goulding's) and then over to Canyon De Chelly ( 2 nites) before we meet friends (staying 5 nites) in Santa Fe. Anyone prefer staying at Monument Valley vs. Canyon de Chelly ? I hear "The View" is very pricey ,and most of the the reviews of motels/hotels in Chinle (town near Canyon de Chelly) are "dumpy".
Not looking for the Ritz, just some basic clean/comfortable lodging recommendations from those who have been there. Also, should we do a jeep tour at Canyon de Chelly ?
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Old Jun 6th, 2009, 09:54 PM
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The Best Western in Chinle -
http://www.bestwesternarizona.com/ho...de-chelly-inn/

At the front desk they can arrange a jeep tour with pickup at the hotel. We were VERY glad we took this option (rather than the shake and bake tour in the park). Excellent Navajo guide. Highly recommend the hotel (not fancy, but definitely clean), the tour service offered by the folks the front desk people know, and the restaurant/diner at the hotel.
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 07:05 AM
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we stayed at both Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley last year when we were touring that area. And i'm glad we did as even though they are not that far apart it was nice to finish our long days at the place we had just toured. We were coming from the Petrified forest so first we were 2 nights at Canyon de Chelly, stayed at the Holiday Inn. It was fine accommodations and their dining room was okay. Then we drove to Monument Valley and stayed at Gloudings for 1 night. we were late in making a reservation and Gloudings was full and the View was not finished yet. Glouding's campground has 4 little cabins and we stayed in one of those. it was half the price of the hotel room and just fine for us.
We spent a whole day in Canyon de Chelly doing a private 8 hour jeep tour, it was very worthwhile and we were able to go through both canyons and see a lot. In Monument Valley we did a 3 horse back ride, and it was one of the highlights of our whole road trip.
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 08:41 AM
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Because this trip is mid-September, wouldn't it be super hot to go on an all-day jeep tour in these areas ?
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 09:37 AM
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There are three good places to stay in Chinle. The Junction Best Western is closest to the main highway, OK place and good restaurant. Probably built in the 1960's or 70's. Up the road a bit is the Holiday Inn Express, which is the newest and probably nicest, probably built in the mid-1990's. Near the campground is the Thunderbird Lodge, which is the oldest (probably 1940's or so) but fine. This one is the quietest, Junction has the most street congestion.

Have stayed at all three places, all are acceptable. Not quite Gouldings but definitely not "dumps".

Jeep tour is a fine idea, I think the half-day tours go up the left fork of the canyon (Canyon del Muerto or Canyon of Death, where the Spanish massacred the women and children years ago) and then to White House ruins on the main fork, and the full-day tours go those places plus up the main fork to Spider Woman rock.

Typically not all that hot in the canyon because of the elevation and shade from the canyon walls. You will get a lot more from your visit if you do a tour of the inner canyon than you would get from just staying on the rim and the few canyon overlooks.
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 10:35 AM
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We had a good experience at Gouldings in December a few years back. The spakling snow from Canyon De Chelly to Monument Valley was magical! We had reservations at Thunderbird but had to leave due to horrible fumes from a recent pesticide application. We took the tour of the canyon in the greenhouse on wheels mobile and used blankets...you won't need that in September. During the 3 hours we were gone my MIL sat outside with the doors open trying to ventilate the room but it still smelled bad! They refunded our money and we went to the Best Western. Much better.
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 11:00 AM
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To correct my mistakes, it's apparently no longer "Junction Best Western", now it's "Best Western Canyon de Chelley Inn". There have been at least three name changes over the years, sorry. First time I stayed there was 1986 and it was just "Junction Inn", then a couple of name changes after they became affililated with Best Western.

Also, it's just a basic Holiday Inn, not the Holiday Inn Express. Main difference is you don't get a free breakfast at the Holiday Inn.

Here are the web sites for Thunderbird and HI in Chinle, also the link to the tripadvisor reviews. Seems like a lot of people liked the hotels, a lot of people found fault. All seemed OK to me but nothing special.

http://www.tbirdlodge.com/
http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/hi/1/en/hotel/chnaz
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g6...na-Hotels.html
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 11:49 AM
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Like Bill H comments the elevation is quite high and it should not bee too hot for the jeep tour in Canyon De Chelley. We were there in early Oct. last year and it was actually very cold at night and still pretty cool during the day. I just looked at my pictures and i was still wearing my jacket mid day. I didn't warm up again til we go to Monument Valley.
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Old Jun 17th, 2009, 05:18 PM
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I have been to Canyon de Chelly three times in the past five years. The first time we wanted to tour the Canyon floor, but could not due to flooding. Canyon de Chelly had such an impact on me though, I knew that I would go back.

Our next journey there, was with my husband and two teenage boys. I had called ahead of time to check on the condition of the Canyon floor and thankfully was able to continue and find a guide.
Our guide Oscar, with Canyon de Chelly Spider Rock Jeep Tour. Oscar took what was already a magical and enchanted place and told stories and showed us things, that at least for me solidified the desire to go back to the canyon. I did go back with my 18 year old son and we were fortunate to spend two days with Oscar once again. So I guess that is a long way to say "hire a guide and a good guide".

I have stayed at The Thunderbird Hotel and the Best Western in Chinle, and I have to say that the Best Western was a little nicer, although don't expect luxury -somehow that would seem inappropriate anyhow. We have eaten at the Holiday Inn several times. The food was straight ahead (try the fry bread though). Also the restaurant at the Best Western was fine.

I have researched the entire Navajo reservation quite a bit over the last few years, and although I have not had the opportunity to visit Monument Valley, the hotels seem comparable, but I think that you might want to stay at Canyon de Chelly longer because of the depth of history there.
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Old Jun 17th, 2009, 07:17 PM
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The drive from Bryce to Torrey on Highway 12 is one of the most beautiful I know, and 24 from Torrey to Hanksville is also spectacular.

We stayed at The View in May, 2009, paying $240 for a fabulous view from a very standard motel room. The dining room serves up basic grub at reasonable prices.

You may want to spend the night in the Holiday Inn in Kayenta, which, a few years ago, was pleasant and the dining room was cuts above the one at The View.

If you have never been to Zion, I suggest you include it in your itinerary. You can stay in one of the pleasant motels in Springdale.

Everything considered, I would give Canyon de Chelly the edge over Monument Valley. The Holiday Inn near the entrance to the park is just fine. Enjoy.
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Old Jun 17th, 2009, 08:03 PM
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There is something magical about Canyon de Chelly. I almost liked it more than the Grand Canyon. GC is big but Canyon de Chelly offers some beautiful hikes. Since I've read all the Tony Hillerman books I got a kick out of feeling like I "knew" the area from his descriptions.

We stayed at the Best Western and as others have said, not luxury but it was comfortable and clean.
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Old Jun 17th, 2009, 08:13 PM
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I really enjoyed this recent article about the Gouldings in Vanity Fair -
http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/fe...t-valley200903

An excerpt - Harry started courting his future wife in the early 1920s. Her given name was Leone, but Harry couldn’t spell it worth a damn in the letters he wrote to her, so he just started writing “Mike” instead and that’s what stuck. She first saw him in a hotel in Aztec, New Mexico, called the American. “He had his old jumper, his Levi’s and boots, and a western hat. I just liked the looks of him” was the way she put it in Tall Sheep. They got married in 1923, right after she turned 18. He was 26. Two years later, they saw their opening to settle in Monument Valley.

From any perspective, it was an act of utter insanity, reflecting what Richard E. Klinck called Harry Goulding’s “desire to get away from civilization.” If that was the goal, then he picked the perfect place. Much of the valley was part of the massive Navajo Indian reservation that took up northeastern Arizona. But there was also a small section right above the Utah line that had belonged to the Paiutes. The Paiutes had been offered a somewhat more fertile section of land to the north when the government wanted to open the area for oil exploration. This northern strip of Monument Valley became available for homesteading. Harry sold the ranch he owned and settled his affairs, and he and Mike started out for the valley.

Harry took a one-and-a-half-ton Graham Brothers truck outfitted with extra-large tires and a special auxiliary transmission to wade through the red sand and loose rock. Mike followed behind in a soft-top 1922 Buick that also had outsize tires to handle the unpaved terrain. They came with some merchandise, because Harry had been licensed to do business as a trader. The trip was difficult, particularly when Mike had to thread through Snake Canyon between Bluff and Mexican Hat in the Buick, the path a perilously narrow labyrinth filled with big boulders that had come loose from the rain.

Harry claimed 640 acres at the base of what the Indians called Big Rock Door Mesa. Later, when he bought the land outright from the state of Utah—paying just $320 for the full square mile—Harry became, according to Klinck’s book, the first white man to own land in Monument Valley. The rock cliff, some 800 feet, offered needed protection from wind and heat. Water was accessible, and the view was arguably the best in the 48 states.
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Old Jun 17th, 2009, 08:15 PM
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I loved CdeC (thanks, UtahTea), liked the location and staff of the Best Western and was VERY pleased with the jeep tour arrangements they made for us with pick-up at the hotel.

But, next time, I will stay at Gouldings -
http://www.gouldings.com/english/index.htm
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Old Jun 17th, 2009, 08:20 PM
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As you leave MV / CdeC, make sure to stop by the Hubbell Trading Post (as you head to Santa Fe) -
http://www.nps.gov/hutr/
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Old Jun 24th, 2009, 03:19 AM
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I loved Canyon de Chelley and would go back in a heartbeat. My only regrets: I should have taken a guided tour. I have heard only positive comments about this. I should have stayed in Chinle (I had no idea lodging would be available, as I was flying by the seat of my pants)and I would have stayed longer. We definitely rushed through this.... and more time is needed to fully experience and appreciate the area. Here's a report of that day: (and links to the parks are at the bottom of the page) http://swroadtrip.wordpress.com/2009/04/30/
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