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“experience staying in a hogan”

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Spider Rock Campground
Reviewed May 2, 2014

While there are mixed reviews for the campsite, I couldn't turn down an opportunity to sleep in a hogan. I didn't book ahead and managed to get the last hogan available. The manager was friendly and efficient - he even offered to help light the fire in my wood stove. The hogan is rustic, which means it's a dirt floor (there are carpet pieces down for some comfort but I kept my slippers on. There was a clean sheet tacked over the ceiling over the futon so that dirt did not fall down. There was a desk, chair and kerosene lantern. I was only staying the night so aside from a quick visit to the loo in the dark, didn't see anything to complain about. I treated this as a camping experience and not a hotel experience. I had a lovely quiet restful night and was up early to see the sunrise over Spider Rock which was just 10 min away. If you look at this as camping upgraded - then you will have fun. If you prefer hotels, then there are hotels about 20 min away!

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled solo
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5  Thank tropicalnorth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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34 - 40 of 74 reviews

Reviewed April 19, 2014 via mobile

We stayed in a tent on loop D in April. The tent sites on either side of ours were vacant, so we had a quiet and secluded site amid junipers and pines--really lovely. As a tent camper, I hardly saw and RVs. A couple of other reviewers complained about the outhouses so I was not sure what to expect, but they were fine. Of course you want to get in and out of them as quickly as possible (they ARE outhouses after all), but they are actually fairly clean and airy as outhouses go. Perhaps the most notable thing about Spider Rock is Howard's kindness and hospitality. He was friendly and helpful every time we interacted with him.

  • Stayed: April 2014
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5  Thank KR17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 26, 2013

This was my third camping experience in the Hogan. I will be back again, if you enjoy primitive camping this is the only way to camp. Thanks Howard.
Canyon De Chelly is very beautiful and all the local Navajo people very friendly.
The private tour into the canyon with a local native guide was a great way to round out the whole trip.

Stayed: October 2013, traveled solo
6  Thank BigHornTours
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2013

The reviews for this campground are mixed. Some people seem to love it, some don't. We were prepared to camp there if it looked okay, but it didn't. Frankly, I find it difficult to believe there are so many positive reviews for this place on this site.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Cleanliness
5  Thank W M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 8, 2013

We spent 2 nights in the large hogan at Spider Rock campground in August 2013. Although it is rustic (roof partly open to the sky to allow for smoke from wood stove, dirt floor), we found it to be a wonderful and unique experience. We were comfortable on the futon bed (bring your sleeping bag and pillow), not too hot or cold and enjoyed having a campfire outside at night and looking up at the amazing stars. Howard is a warm host, a kind and gentle man who was helpful with everything we needed. His grand-daughter was also very welcoming and made delicious Navajo fry bread. We went on a four-wheel drive vehicle trip into Canyon de Chelly with Howard as our Navajo guide. His knowledge of history and legend and his wealth of stories made this and our stay in the hogan the highlight of our Grand Circle trip. Don't miss the lookout at Spider Rock, a few minutes' drive away from the campground. Thanks Howard for an unforgettable and rare experience, which we highly recommend.

Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
5  Thank Trish G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 20, 2013

We enjoyed our stay in the Medium Hogan at Spider Rock Campground. It was a unique, fun break from tent camping. It was plenty spacious for both of us and our gear and was a cozy, comfortable place to spend the night. Plus not having to set up / take down a tent meant more time for exploring the canyon. As long as you go into thinking of it as a camping experience as opposed to a hotel experience you'll enjoy it. The only concern I had with the hogan itself was that there was a deadbolt on the door that could be locked from the outside; i.e. you could theoretically find yourself locked in your hogan. Don't know who would do that, but it's a creepy thought.

They had some firewood available for sale which was handy because we had been unable to find any in Chinle and had been counting on a fire to make dinner. There were maybe three other groups at the campground and it was very quiet at night with beautiful stars.

As others have noted, the restroom situation is primitive. Essentially, you pour water into the bowl from a pitcher before using the toilet, and dispose of toilet paper in a garbage can because it is bad for their septic system. The restrooms themselves have no doors, just a plywood maze that hides you from the rest of the world and presumably would give you time to warn anyone else who was unsuspectingly walking in on you. I completely understand the lack of plumbing etc at this desert location, but I think a port-a-potty or two might actually be preferable in this case. Not a huge deal to us, but it is not clearly spelled out on the website so it might come as a surprise to some.

Overall we enjoyed our stay here. The location is fantastic, and I would definitely recommend trying out a hogan.

Room Tip: The medium hogan is a good size for two people with a few backpacks.
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank bce525
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 17, 2013 via mobile

I had read the reviews and was entirely happy and enjoyed this alternative overnight stay. I paid $29 for a small hogan, $7 for a (clean) sleeping bag/pillow/blanket, $2, 50 for a shower, $2 for 24hrs of Wi-Fi access and $6 for firewood. Took my own food/drinks, do this because other than excellent fry-bread ($2 ) there was none I could see. I was travelling from the UK (carry-on) and used my phone as a flashlight and t-shirt for a towel! It was fine for me and more fun than the very ordinary and expensive Thunderbird Lodge I had stayed at before. The camp is very rustic and basic and casually run. The toilets/shower again very basic indeed. If you know and accept this then the cost is low compared to a local motel. In the evening I ate my taken-in food, fry-bread, lit a campfire then slept well in the peaceful location. Loved it however would need to be better equipped for more than one night.

  • Stayed: May 2013
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6  Thank GlynCarre
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Spider Rock Campground

Address: South Rim Canyon Drive, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Chinle, AZ 86503
Location: United States > Arizona > Chinle
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Chinle
Number of rooms: 30
Also Known As:
Spider Rock Campground Hotel Chinle

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