Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly National Monument is one of the most recognized sites in the American Southwest. This is the spiritual and geographic center of the Dineh, also known by their common name, Navajo.
The tower in the center of the image is Spider Rock. This is the home of Spider Woman. She helped rid the world of monsters and gave the Dineh the gift of weaving; an art form at which these people excel.
Speaking Rock or Talking Rock is at the tip of the butte on the left on the image. The Dineh have a children’s story where it is said that Speaking Rock will tell Spider Woman which children have been naughty. Spider Woman will take these children to her rock and eat them. The paler colored rock at the top of her tower is thought to be the bleached bones of these unfortunate kids.
Canyons are cut from plateaus. We are really not looking at tall features, but deep ones. The canyon floor is about 1,000ft/300m below the rim at this point. If you look at the horizon near the center of the panorama, you can see a mountain called Black Rock. That is a volcanic plug; the core of a volcano which is left after the sides have been eroded away.
Click on the image for a larger view.