Take a tour of this canyon for a less-crowded, more in-depth experience than at Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado is an archaeological gem thanks to nearly 5,000 ancient sites. Founded in 1906, the park preserves the heritage of the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived in the dwellings for almost 700 years.

For a more peaceful journey through indigenous history, head to Arizona’s Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Situated in the northeastern part of the state in the Four Corners region, Canyon de Chelly is only 150 miles from Mesa Verde, but it feels like a separate world.

This territory reflects one of the longest continually inhabited regions on the continent. Various indigenous peoples including the Ancestral Puebloans and the Navajo lived in these canyons for nearly 5,000 years. Today, more than 2,700 known archaeological sites can be found in the canyons, including hundreds of Ancestral Puebloan villages and cliff dwellings.

The monument also represents a first-of-its-kind collaboration among the Navajo Nation, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The entire park is located on Navajo tribal land, and 40 Navajo families still reside in the canyon. In 2018, the three parties signed an agreement that outlines their commitment to sustainably manage the monument together.

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