Except for a hike to one ruin, visitors can only tour the canyon with a Navajo guide. You can, however, view it from the rim. The rim drive has many view points that give great canyon views.
Nature favored us with some beautiful skies when we arrived so I feel justified in linking this post to SkyWatch.
From the rim you can look across the canyon and see many ruins left by the Anasazi now referred to by the politically correct term of Ancestral Pueblo peoples. Whatever you choose to call them it is amazing that they could live on those cliffs. Some Navajo will say that when these ancient people lived here the canyon floor was higher and it wasn't such an achievement.
Theses tall spires are called "Spider Rock". In the Navajo belief system it is believed that Spider Woman made her home here. Spider Woman was said to have taught the Navajo how to weave.
One version of the myth can be found here.
The following day we hired a Navajo guide and went into the canyon itself. The river meanders back and forth across the canyon and so does the road, such as it is. Our guide knew just where to cross in her 4x4, often driving in the river for long stretches.
Down in the canyon we got a much better look at the ruins.
We also saw a great many petroglyphs. Our guide was very informative and tried to answer our questions. There was, however, a decidedly ethnocentric slant to her commentary. She wasn't an anthropologist.
Canyon De Chelly is a hybrid park, a National Monument but on Navajo land. The park service has rights to the site which will soon expire and there is talk of turning it over to the Navajo Nation. Our guide wasn't sure it would get the protection it deserved if that were to happen.
See more wonderful views of the sky at SkyWatch, Friday; hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren and Sylvia.