ROAD CLOSURE: Hwy 57 from Blanco Trading Post (on US 550) is permanently closed at the park's north boundary. Do not take Hwy 57. From US 550, go to mile 112.5 (3 miles SE mile of Nageezi) and turn onto CR 7900 and CR 7950. Follow signs to the park. Hwy 57 south is open from the park boundary to Hwy 9. There is 20 miles of rough dirt road. Not recommended for RVs.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park preserves one of America's richest and most facinating cultural and historic areas. In Chaco Canyon, a desert valley in northwestern New Mexico, between the early AD 800s and the late 1200s, the Anasazi created a civilization whose architecture, social organization and community life reflected a high degree of sophistication. Large multi-story stone villages and an impressive 400-mile road system exemplify their engineering and construction talents.
A central settlement, Chaco, was a major center of ancestral Puebloan culture connected with approximately 75 outlaying communities. It was a hub of ceremony, trade, and government for the prehistoric Four Corners area -- and a phenomenon unlike anything before or since.
It is thought that these agrarian people may have developed this political and economic center to manage and distribute the food supply that varied, due to the vagaries of wet and dry growing seasons. These Anasazi constructed their pueblos with large oversized rooms and also developed a masonry technique that allowed them to build more than 4 stories high. Several of the resulting complexes contained hundreds of rooms and dozens of kivas.
A prolonged drought between the 1130s and 1180s may have contributed to the disintegration of Chaco. The Chacoan cultural sites are fragile and irreplaceable and represent a significant part of America's cultural heritage. The sites are part of the sacred homeland of Pueblo Indian peoples of New Mexico, the Hopi Indians of Arizona, and the Navajo Indians of the Southwest, all of whom continue to respect and honor them.
Rates & Fees
- Entrance fee: is $8 per vehicle or $4 per person.
- Camping fee: $10 per site, per night.
Seasons / Hours
The Visitor Center is open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, Memorial Day through Labor Day, and the rest of the year 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Sites and trails are open from sunrise to sunset.
The Visitor Center includes a museum, information desk, book store, gift shop and restrooms. Drinking water is available 24 hours a day in the Visitor Center parking area. Pay telephones are located just outside the Visitor Center.
Facilities include restrooms, public telephones and drinking water. The book store is operated by the Southwest Parks & Monuments Association for the benefit of the Park.
Programs & Events
Guided tours and campfire talks in summer, exhibits, walking tours, picnicking and day hiking.
From the paved loop road, 5 self-guiding trails lead visitors through the major Chacoan sites. Walking time for each is about an hour. There are 4 backcountry hikes as well. Inquire at the Visitor Center. Sites and trails are open from sunrise to sunset. The Wijiji and Kin Klizhin trails may be used for Biking.
No lodging, gasoline, repair services or food are available in the park. To the northeast, the nearest services and amenities are located on State Highway 44 at the Thriftway convenience store. The campground has water (non-potable) and restrooms with flush toilets. There are no showers.
An access guide is available at the Visitor Center. There is one accessible camp site and accessible restrooms in the campground and at the sites. Some trails are accessible with assistance.
Rules, Regulations, Precautions
- Permits are required for backcountry hiking trails. The permits are available at the Visitor Center or from a Ranger.
- No overnight backpacking is allowed. Trailers longer than 30 feet are not permitted in the campground.
- Carry plenty of water -- one gallon per day per person -- and drink it!
- Stay on the designated gravel trails.
- Do not walk, climb, stand, sit, or lean on the walls.
- Do not deface, add to, or alter the rock art.
- Do not collect pottery or other artifacts anywhere in the park.
- Children should remain with the guardian responsible for their safety.
- No pets arde allowed in the ruins.
- Do not climb on the walls of the sites, which are weak and dangerous. No collecting of artifacts, plants, or minerals.