I wished I’d researched and planned a little better so I could have spent at least a couple days at this very interesting Park. I entered via the north entrance which was a very long slow bumpy 16 miles. I exited on the 20-mile southern road which took me a good hour. The campground was full and there aren’t any nearby dispersed camping options. After spending some time at the Visitor Center I drove the Chaco Canyon Road visiting the sites along the way. For the inquisitive, be sure to buy the very informative interpretive guidebooks.
There are around 500 rooms in this site including both excavated and unexcavated areas. An interesting factoid according to the interpretive guide, “There were an estimated 215,000-225,000 trees used in the construction of all the excavated great houses in Chaco Canyon.” Dendrochronology or tree-ring dating is used to determine age of timber used in construction.
The Park promotes quiet, respectful visitation of this outdoor museum. As I wandered around the word that stayed at the forefront of my mind was reverence, “deep respect for someone or something; a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe.”
- April 24, 2018
- Prepare for lengthy time consuming drive. I highly recommend camping at the Park.
- Morning light on the petroglyph panels is best.
- Buy the interpretive guides.
- Ask for the Backcountry Hiking Trail handout if interested in further exploration and hiking.
- Trails and sites typically are open 7am to sunset.
- I’m always curious about which structures are original as excavated vs rebuilt vs stabilized, thus one of the questions I’ve learned to ask.