Chinle, Arizona

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Chinle, Arizona
Census-designated place
Location in Apache County and the state of Arizona
Location in Apache County and the state of Arizona
Chinle, Arizona is located in USA
Chinle, Arizona
Chinle, Arizona
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 36°9′17″N 109°34′45″W / 36.15472°N 109.57917°W / 36.15472; -109.57917Coordinates: 36°9′17″N 109°34′45″W / 36.15472°N 109.57917°W / 36.15472; -109.57917
Country United States
State Arizona
County Apache
 • Total 16.1 sq mi (41.6 km2)
 • Land 16.0 sq mi (41.5 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 5,506 ft (1,678 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 4,518
 • Density 282/sq mi (108.8/km2)
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP codes 86503
Area code 928
FIPS code 04-12770
GNIS feature ID 0002861

Chinle (Navajo: Chʼínílį́) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Apache County, Arizona, United States. The name in Navajo means "flowing out" and is a reference to the location where the water flows out of the Canyon de Chelly.[1] The population was 4,518 at the 2010 census.[2]


Chinle is located at 36°9′17″N 109°34′45″W / 36.15472°N 109.57917°W / 36.15472; -109.57917 (36.154718, -109.579040).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 16.1 square miles (41.6 km2), of which 16.0 square miles (41.5 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.16%, is water.[2]


As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 5,366 people, 1,358 households, and 1,076 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 334.7 people per square mile (129.2/km²). There were 1,644 housing units at an average density of 102.6 per square mile (39.6/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 91.28% Native American, 6.39% White, 0.19% Black or African American, 0.17% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.60% from other races, and 1.34% from two or more races. 1.83% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,358 households out of which 52.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.6% were married couples living together, 30.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.7% were non-families. 18.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.84 and the average family size was 4.43.

In the CDP the age distribution of the population shows 43.9% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 14.7% from 45 to 64, and 5.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females there were 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.9 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $27,324, and the median income for a family was $26,182. Males had a median income of $25,321 versus $22,663 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $8,755. About 40.4% of families and 43.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 52.6% of those under age 18 and 46.9% of those age 65 or over.


After a period of use for trade and war by the Spanish, Chinle was the site of the 1864 peace conference between Kit Carson and the Navajo people that ended the war between the Navajo and the U.S. The first trading post (only a tent at the time) was established here in 1882. This grew to a full-sized camp by 1885. A government school was established in 1910.[5]

Initially anglicized as Chin Lee, the name was changed to Chinle on April 1, 1941.[5]

Chinle serves as a gateway community for Canyon de Chelly National Monument, established in 1931 primarily to preserve the archaeological sites and record of human history. Canyon de Chelly NM is unique among the National Park Service units because the park is located entirely on Navajo tribal land and has a residential canyon community.


Chinle High School

The area is served by Chinle Unified School District.

Schools in the area and served by the district include Tsaile Elementary School (K-8), Many Farms Elementary School (K-6), Canyon de Chelly Elementary School (K-6), Chinle Elementary School (K-6), Mesa View Elementary School (K-6), Chinle Junior High School (7-8), and Chinle High School (9-12).[citation needed]

The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) operates the Cottonwood Day School in an area with a Chinle postal address.[6]

A branch of the Diné College is located here as well as a branch of Northern Arizona University and Navajo Technical University.


The Navajo AIDS Network is based in Chinle. Chinle Comprehensive Healthcare Center [Chinle IHS] is a full service Healthcare facility operated by the US Indian Health Service. It includes a hospital, emergency services, outpatient clinic, pharmacy, dental clinic and other health-related services. These services are reserved for Native Americans except in emergencies. The pharmacy is not open to the general public.



The Junction Restaurant in Chinle

Chinle is the home of several sit-down and fast food restaurants, most of which are located on the US 191 and Indian Route 7 that run through town. In terms of fast food, Chinle has a Burger King, Subway, Church's Chicken, and Pizza Edge. Serving American and some traditional Navajo foods, there are the Junction Restaurant at the Best Western; Garcia's Restaurant at the Holiday Inn; and Thunderbird Lodge Cafeteria at the Sacred Canyon Lodge. The King Dragon Restaurant serves Chinese cuisine.

Groceries and other Services[edit]

Several gas stations and convenience stores are in town including Shell, Chevron, and Conoco with Pic-n-run next door. At the center of town is Tseyi Shopping Center with a Bashas' Diné grocery store, Ace Hardware, U.S. Post Office, Wells Fargo Bank, and Chinle laundromat. Other services available are Jumbo Automotive, Uhaul, Ferrell Gas, BV Tires, CellularOne, Silvercoin laundromat, carwash, and video rental.

Native craft and souvenir items can be found at the motel gift shops or at the Navajo Arts and Crafts outlet at the junction of 191 and Route 7. A Visitor Center and bookstore are located at Canyon de Chelly National Monument.

Local facilities[edit]

Chinle has a large community center dedicated to serving the local community. Next to it is the Wildcat Den, a large sports complex where high school basketball games are played. The excellent swimming pool complex at the high school also serves the community with open swim time and lap swimming for a small fee.


Many religious organizations are represented in Chinle. There are services available at the Baptist Church, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Mennonite Church,Trinity Presbyterian Church, Grace Fellowship Community Church, Canyon Family Church, Foursquare Gospel Church, Chinle Potters House, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall and Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church.

Lodging and Camping[edit]

Chinle's Best Western

There are three sleeping accommodations in town, including a Best Western, Holiday Inn and Sacred Canyon Lodge (formally Thunderbird Lodge). All three offer dining and a gift shop. Best Western offers an indoor pool and Holiday Inn offers an outdoor pool.

Camping is offered for a fee at the Cottonwood Campground managed by the Navajo Nation, which features 90 sites, restroom facilities, dumpstation and potable water. No RV parks with utilities are available in town.


Several Federal, County and Navajo tribal agencies are located in town. The local government is located at the Chinle Chapter House. The Chapter House serves as a town hall with a Chapter President, Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer as elected officials.

Other departments include the Navajo Police Department, Navajo Housing Authority, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, Navajo Parks and Recreation, Apache County Office, Indian Health Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the National Park Service.

Nearby Attractions[edit]

Notable residents[edit]

Russell Means, as "a grandfather with twenty-two grandchildren", divided his time between Chinle and Porcupine, South Dakota."[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Chinle Chapter". Chinle Chapter of the Navajo Nation. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Chinle CDP, Arizona". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved April 17, 2013. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ a b Byrd H. Granger (1960). Arizona Place Names. University of Arizona Press. p. 8. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "National Directory June 2015" (Archive). Bureau of Indian Education. p. 16/44. Retrieved on June 16, 2015.
  7. ^ Means, Russell; Marvin J Wolf (1995). Where white men fear to tread: the autobiography of Russell Means. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9780312136215.