No state has more national monuments than Arizona--18 federally protected areas. The state's monuments include some of the world's most famous sites including the Grand Canyon, Native American ruins, historic settlements and stark desert landscapes. Visitors to the parks participate in a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, bird-watching and tours.
Canyon de Chelly
Ancient Navajo dwellings at Canyon de Chelly are one of the longest continuously inhabited areas in the country. The terrain of one of Arizona's most popular monuments includes dwellings on the sides of steep cliffs and ancient habitats at the bottom of the Canyon. Ancient wall drawings grace the caves of Canyon de Chelly. Daily canyon hikes led by guides to the bottom of the canyon are available, as well as an on-site museum and visitor's center. Travelers can take part in educational programs and learn about the natural history of the area. Canyon de Chelly remains the home of Navajos who hold a Navajo Day celebration every Saturday from May to September. Unlike many other national park sites, there are no fees to enter Canyon de Chelly.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
PO Box 588
Chinle, AZ 86503
Pipe Springs gives visitors an up-close view into lives of Early Mormon settlers who arrived in the harsh desert climate of northwest Arizona in the mid-1800s. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) brought cattle with them and settled in the area naming it Pipe Spring. They broke away from the main LDS and were among the last to practice polygamy in the country. Due to conflicts with the Paiute and Navajos in the area, these settlers built a protective fort, Winsor Castle. Guided tours of the fort are offered throughout the day, as well as demonstrations of early life in the area. The grounds of the monument contain orchards with crops of fruit that the early settlers grew. The visitor's center provides an exhibit of Paiute culture. Pipe Spring became a national monument in 1923.
Pipe Spring National Monument
HC 65 Box 5
Fredonia, AZ 86022
The Grand Canyon and Skywalk
The Grand Canyon, every bit as majestic as its name, is considered one of the world's greatest natural wonders. Spanning over 277 miles and a mile deep, this internationally known gorge attracts approximately five million visitors per year. The intense color of its terrain comes from the course of the Colorado River, which exposes nearly two billion years of geological formations. Park visitors can hiking, take archaeological tours, ride horses, whitewater raft, bird watch, fish, and camping. The Grand Canyon Skywalk, a glass bridge suspended 4,000 feet above the Colorado River gives visitors the feeling of defying gravity when they venture out onto the glass.
Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce & Visitor's Bureau
PO Box 3007
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
Article Written By Lauren Miller
Lauren Miller has more than 10 years of experience as a reporter, writer, editor and Web designer. She has also worked as a paralegal. Her articles on technology, small business and legal topics have appeared in magazines, newspapers, anthologies and trade journals. She has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and is an avid gardener and sports fan.