Archaeological evidence indicates that Canyon de Chelly has been continuously inhabited for nearly 5,000 years. Near the mouth of the canyon in the West, the red sandstone walls are only about 30 feet high, but deeper into the canyon they rise to over 1,000 feet above the cottonwoods and winding stream on the canyon floor, creating a striking and majestic focal point for the Navajo Nation and National Park Service which jointly administer this national monument. The name “Chelly,” pronounced “shay,” is a Spanish / English approximation of the Navajo word “Tséyi,” pronounced “SAY-ih,” which means “canyon” or more literally “inside the rock.”
Spider Rock and Canyon de Chelly. The canyon walls are of de Chelly Permian sandstone and the rim is a harder Chinle conglomerate, which is also Permian. The elevation varies from 5,500 feet at the visitor center near the mouth of the canyon to 7000 feet at the rim of the canyon near Spider Rock.
Lichen habitats: boulders, tallus, and loose sandy soil with pinyon-juniper woodland on the upper slopes of the trail to the White House Anasazi ruins.