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Explore the ancient ruins of Chaco Canyon!

chaco canyon new mexico ancestral puebloans

Chaco Canyon: an Ancient Story

Between AD 900 and 1150, Chaco Canyon was a major center of culture for the Ancestral Puebloans. Chacoans quarried sandstone blocks and hauled timber from great distances, assembling fifteen major complexes that remained the largest buildings ever built in North America until the 19th century. Evidence of archaeoastronomy at Chaco has been proposed, with the “Sun Dagger” petroglyph at Fajada Butte a popular example. Many Chacoan buildings may have been aligned to capture the solar and lunar cycles, requiring generations of astronomical observations and centuries of skillfully coordinated construction.

Chaco Canyon Today

Today, the massive buildings of the ancestral Pueblo peoples still testify to the organizational and engineering abilities not seen anywhere else in the American Southwest. For a deeper contact with the canyon that was central to thousands of people between 850 and 1250 A.D., come and explore Chaco through guided tours, hiking & biking trails, evening campfire talks, and night sky programs.

Visiting the Park

There are lots of activities available for visitors to the park. The majority of the park and cultural sites are self-guided year-round, with six major sites located along the 9-mile long Canyon Loop Drive. These sites include Una Vida, Hungo Pavi, Pueblo Bonito, Chetro Ketl, Pueblo del Arroyo, and Casa Rinconada. You may purchase self-guided trail guides at the Visitor Center bookstore.

The park offers ranger-led walks of Pueblo Bonito year-round, with additional programs from April to October. The Night Sky Program occasionally presents astronomy programs, daytime solar viewing, and telescope viewing of the spectacular dark night sky in the evenings. Additionally, four backcountry hiking trails lead visitors to remote Chacoan sites, passing ancient roads, petroglyphs, stairways, and spectacular overlooks of the valley.

Explore Chaco Canyon

Ready to explore this incredible area? Click here to contact us today and let us plan your next adventure!