|Subject: Grand Canyon to Canyon de Chelly|
I just got back last night from a fabulous and thorough tour of northern
Arizona, so i can offer some assistance here. From the north rim ( i was
not able to visit since it is still closed) you should take Alt 89 east to
marble canyon and Lees Ferry and don't forget to stop at the Navajo bridge
and walk across it. From here you should continue on the 89 towards Page.
This is an amazingly beautiful drive, by the way! In Page, I can highly
recommend a restaurant called Strombolli's:
Take the 98 east out of Page, Antelope canyon is an amazing slot canyon with easy access and unbelievable colors. Its right off the 98, take the Antelope Canyon turnoff and go to the lower canyon called Corkscrew. Its 17 bucks a person and worth every penny.
Also on the 98 is the Navajo National monument. We had passed this up on a prior trip to this area and this time we visited. This is beautiful country, worth a visit if only for the amazing Betatakin Ruins. There are fully guided tours to the actual ruins as well as a nice easy hike to an nice overlook:
Continuing on the 98 east you will come to Kayenta. This is the entrance to Monument valley, not to be missed! Take the 163 north to the monument. We stayed at Gouldings lodge http://www.gouldings.com/ and hired a private Navajo guide to take us through for a sunset and full moon tour, which was amazing and magical.
A fun side trip from here would be to continue on the 163 north. At Mexican hat take the 316 to Goosenecks State park http://parks.state.ut.us/parks/www1/goos.htm Continue on this road, it turns into the 261 and passes the Valley of the Gods http://www.canyonlands-utah.com/pages/valln.html where there is a wonderfully isolated B&B http://www.zippitydodah.com/vog/default.htm Valley of the Gods is a beautiful area, try not to miss driving the loop road. Continuing on the 261 you will suddenly reach the Moki-Dugway Switchbacks, a road that requires steel nerves but yields unbelievable views http://www.so-utah.com/souteast/powerdrv/mokidgwy/homepage.html At the top of the switchbacks, don't pass the Muley point overlook http://www.canyonlands-utah.com/pages/mulen.html You can continue on this road to Natural Bridges National monument (via highway 95) or turn around and go back. Interestingly, driving back yields better views of monument valley.
>From Kayenta, the drive to canyon de chelly is quite scenic: take the 160 east to the 59 which passes Rough Rock and ends at Many Farms. Here you should take the 191 to Chinle which is at the entrance of Canyon de Chelly. We stayed at the lovely Thunderbird Lodge http://www.tbirdlodge.com/ which is the nicest and most inexpensive hotel in the area--we paid 45 bucks a night for an incredible room with tons of charm. Also, take the tour associated with this lodge rather then the others that are offered because you get much more for your money. We paid $42 per person for a 4 hour tour that was ( in my opinion) more than enough. This tour visits some interesting ruins and the Navajo guides tell some illuminating stories and tales. Its a beautiful place. Unfortunately, the food in Chinle leaves much to be desired and i really cannot recommend any place, sorry!
Amelia Hesson Los Angeles