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 Chaco Canyon

A National Historic Park

Chaco Canyon is situated at about 6200 ft in high desert valley in New Mexico. You should be prepared for cold winters with icey trails and extremely hot summers.

Chaco Canyon Floor in November

The Chacoan Culture sites are closed from sunset to sunrise.

A park permit is required, approximately $8. per vehicle and can be purchased at the Visitors Center, where you can begin your expedition to learn more about the ancient sites before you begin your tour.

Chaco National Park Visitors Center

The park is equipped with a campground, with cooking fire rings and bathroom facilities. This area fills up quickly during the summer months;  it would be wise to arrive early, as the last 13 mile trek approaching the park entrance is dirt and gravel. This road is well maintained, with softer sandy like areas and passable by cars, trucks and RV's, but can be a bit tricky in wet weather. The west end approach is dirt and gravel as well, yet is not as well maintained and could be impassable in inclement weather.

The closet overnight facilities are about an hour away in Bloomfield or Farmington New Mexico. It is advisable to bring food and water, although there are now spouts to fill up your drinking bottles and a few snack machines.

Once you have arrived and purchased your permit, you can travel the 9 mile loop by car stopping at the designated parking areas close to each site with trail heads. It is only a short walk from your car. Or you can begin your hike at the visitors center, experiencing the unusual but beautiful desert flora and fauna along the way.

Chaco Trail Sign

Be sure to stick to the designated paths, as to not destroy the fragile environment and certainly remember there is absolutely no collection of vegetation, rocks or any ancient artifacts you may encounter along the way. It is a Federal offense with severe consequences to disturb or remove anything from the park. Be assured... Rangers patrol continuously regardless of whether they are visible to you or not!

 Directions By Car

Chaco Canyon is located in northwestern New Mexico. The preferred and recommended access route to the park is from the north, via US 550 (formerly NM 44) and County Road (CR) 7900, and CR 7950.
From the north, turn off US 550 at CR 7900--3 miles southeast of Nageezi and approximately 50 miles west of Cuba (at mile 112.5). This route is clearly signed from US 550 to the park boundary (21 miles). The route includes 8 miles of paved road (CR 7900) and 13 miles of rough dirt road (CR7950).

From the south, two routes access Chaco from Highway 9, which runs between Crownpoint, Pueblo Pintado, and Cuba. Both routes can vary from very rough to impassable. Not recommended for RVs. If you are traveling from the south, please call ahead for the latest conditions.

Via Hwy 57(Hwy 14 on some maps): This turnoff is located on Highway 9, 13 miles east of Highway 371, at the former Seven Lakes Trading Post. (20 miles of dirt)

Via Pueblo Pintado: At the community of Pueblo Pintado, turn north on Navajo 46 for 10 miles (rough dirt). Turn left on County Road 7900 for 7 miles (some rough dirt). Turn left on County Road 7950, and follow the signs 16 miles to the park entrance (3 miles paved and 13 of rough dirt road).

The northern and southern routes include 13, 20, and 33 miles of dirt roads, respectively. These sections of road are infrequently maintained, and they can become impassable during inclement weather. If you have an RV and are not planning on camping in the park, you may want to leave the RV and drive a car into the park. Call the park (505-786-7014) for current road conditions.

Map Locators for Chaco Canyon


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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