Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Chaco Culture National Historical Park
4.5
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About
Chaco Canyon holds one of the largest collection of prehistoric buildings on the continent.
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Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
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Best nearby
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Attractions
2 within 6 miles
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
753 reviews
Excellent
599
Very good
121
Average
18
Poor
10
Terrible
5

Shirley L
Aurora, CO244 contributions
Oct 2021
Several trails and ruins are available for exploring and limited guided tours. Grab a guide at the visitor center if you want to learn more about this site. The stone work for example is precise and well laid. If you want to come, it is best if you have a higher clearance vehicle with good shocks, as the 8 mile gravel road is rough washboard. The packed dirt road portion is good when dry but impassable when wet. So plan ahead and leave time for the slower speeds necessary. This is a very fascinating look into early Native American building and communities.
Written October 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Karona R
9 contributions
Apr 2021
When you are about 15 minutes away from the park you will encounter a very rough ride, but it is well worth it. It is always a wonder to see ruins like this and I would recommend climbing to the higher part of the canyon to see an aerial view of the ruins. Their trails are close enough to the walls of the canyons where the petroglyphs will be visible to the naked eye and if you are careful enough, you will see little pieces of pottery scatter throughout. Although the visitor's center were closed, we were able to guide ourselves through the area quite easily. It was such a great experience and are glad we took this trek in the beginning of spring.
Written April 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PhyllisFP
Baltimore, MD211 contributions
Oct 2021
This was my second time to Chaco and it is still pretty amazing. But first, a word about roads.

We stayed at camp/glamp (bring gear for warmth and don't sleep with the heater on) at Chaco Outlier (gorgeous, super nice host) in Seven Lakes because it's pretty much the closest place to Chaco unless you're camping/RV'ing in the park. That said, staying in Seven Lakes means you take NM 57 and that is a terrible dirt road. There were sections of mud and standing water and we heard the ranger telling a couple not to take the road because people slide off and get stranded. Still, the washboard gravel road out the NE is, in ways, a bumpier ride, and since my husband had a punctured oil pan on a gravel road years ago in Arizona, he drove not wanting to experience that again. Both trips were in regular rental sedans so it is doable without 4WD.

Still, the drive is worth it (twice). On my first trip, we spent most of the day hiking the Pueblo Alto trail on the mesa and didn't leave enough time for Pueblo Bonito, so it was nice to be able to be more leisurely in our ruin explorations.

If you really want to nerd out, I read "The Chaco Experience: Landscape and Ideology at the Center Place" by Ruth Van Dyke before visiting. It helped me think about the place differently, as the people who built it might have experienced it.

The visitor's center has a water bottle fill station.

Fun fact: The Navajo do not visit Chaco. It's taboo for them.
Written October 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ajnavy04
Denver, CO240 contributions
Dec 2020
This place is INCREDIBLE. What a hidden gem of the U.S. Parks Service. If this park was located anywhere near civilization it would be unbelievably popular. Great trails, great history of our indigenous peoples. and great experience to explore this park.
A few things to note:
1. The last stretch of road to get to the park is like 30 minutes of washboard dirt road. It's rough if you have neck problems. The park is paved and well maintained.
2. There are a lot of really great trails. This place is really nice for hikers.
3. Great opportunities for some really good shots for photographers.
4. You can do this park in a day, but I would recommend camping 1 night to have enough time to check out the trails and the ruins.
Written January 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Cathryn H
6 contributions
Jul 2022
During monsoon season (July-August), call the park on your travel day to make sure there are not any mud puddles on the dirt road! We drove all the way out there, and it never occurred to us that we would be waylayed by a "puddle" in the middle of a New Mexico summer! We were in a regular car, 4 miles from the entrance, with no cell phone reception and decided not to chance getting stuck. I've been several times, though, and it's an amazing trip...just not this day:-/
Written July 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Doc Steve
Madisonville, LA11 contributions
Nov 2021 • Solo
This was my 4th visit in 40 years, and the road gets worse each trip.
Word of warning to RV’s: 15 miles of this road is terrible washboard and washouts. Minimal maintenance is being done. All the RV’s around my campsite had all their cabinets spilt on the floor. The Airstream camped next to me had a cabinet door hanging by only a single hinge.
If you go in an RV, tape your cabinet doors shut first, to avoid a mess.
The archeological aspect is what still draws me back.
It’s phenomenal…..
But if you go, drive a pickup or Jeep. This road can be hell on a regular car.
Don’t even consider it if the road is wet or rain is expected !!!
Written November 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TravelerTrecker
Houston800 contributions
Oct 2021
The Chaco Culture National Park is a UNESCO site. It was the religious center of the Anazasi. The place is magnificent, isolated, remoted, distant, difficult to reach, magical...

We were doing a road trip in the South West and I was driving a small , convertible car; a convertible or a regular car will not be able to get to this site. We rented an SUV at the Durango airport. The north entrance is through an unpaved road that is shorter and easier (approximately 10 miles) the the south entrance road. Pay attention the weather broadcast. We visited in October and the weather was perfect! The weather varies a lot; during summer, the Chaco Park is very hot; during winter is very cold.

Once you enter the park, the road is paved. The first site you see is the Fajada Butte where the astronomic spiral is located. Then the visitor center where you pay the ticket (approximately 20 dollars per car). You can get water but no food. At the right side is Una Vida which offers an impressive view of the Canyon and beautiful petroglyphs. Then you have to drive to Unga Pahvi where you find a very well preserved religious center with impressive walls. Then you will visit Pueblo Bonito which is the most spectacular archeological site ; Ketro Chetel is walking distance from Pueblo Bonito and it has magnificent walls, khivas, and windows and in the back there are petroglyphs. Then you will visit the lovely Pueblo del Arroyo; from Pueblo del Arroyo you drive to Casa Rinconada where the largest Khiva is located. The archeological sites are spectacular and their connection with the solar and lunar cycles is incredible; for instance Pueblo Bonito has the shape of the letter "D"; this shape allowed the Native Americans to understand the day and year cycles.

You need to spend at least one day at the site. There are other smaller and more distant archeological sites for which you need to have tickets (they are free). You have to walk to most of those sites.

The Chaco Culture National park attracts very few visitors making your visit more magical. I think this place could be ideal for a solo traveler, someone who wants to find herself or himself.

Nights are clear making of the Chaco Culture National Park one of the best places in the US to watch the stars.

Unforgettable!
Written September 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brad S
1 contribution
May 2022
The negativity about the drive is over rated. Came in from the south. A bit rocky and hilly to start, then just becomes a long dirt road in the middle nowhere. 20 miles of it each way. Last few miles is very washboard, so either go slow or fast, depending on your preference. Really a cool historic place that most will never get to see. I did drive a stock 4 wheel drive truck, but didn't need 4x4 anywhere.
Written May 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kunfushuss
Pennsylvania388 contributions
Jun 2021 • Family
We drove back the long, bumpy road to chaco during a long cross country trip, and this was one of my favorite stops. Definitely pick up the guide books for the main sites at the visitors center - theyre $2 a piece. For the most part you're looking at 1000 year old ruins of a small town, and you get to walk through them. It reminded me of Ostia Antica outside of Rome.

The sites we visited there were short and easy walks on clearly identifiable path

Great stop.
Written June 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michael D
1 contribution
Jul 2020
I visited in 1974 and it sounds like not much has changed, including the washboard road from the south. I broke the transaxle mount and loosened the oil cooler on my 1967 VW camper and spent a week in Flagstaff fixing it with the help of a hippie-friendly VW shop.

The Amazon Prime video, "The Mystery of Chaco Canyon," narrated by Robert Redford, tells the story of how the structures of Pueblo Bonito and the surrounding settlements were very precisely orientated to the sun and the moon. This was probably one of the world's most significant architectural achievements, yet information about it is still hard to come by.

Chaco deserves more attention by the NPS and our history books!
Written June 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Chaco Culture National Historical Park (Nageezi) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go