Why Visit Chaco?
Chaco Culture National Historical Park preserves one of America's most significant and fascinating cultural and historic areas. Chaco Canyon was a major center of ancestral Puebloan culture between AD 850 and 1250. It was a hub of ceremony, trade, and administration for the prehistoric Four Corners area - unlike anything before or since. The Chacoan people combined pre-planned architectural designs, astronomical alignments, geometry, landscaping, and engineering to create an ancient ceremonial center of spectacular public architecture - one that still amazes and inspires us a thousand years later.
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.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a very special place. Remote and isolated, it offers few amenities, so come prepared. You will find that the rewards are unlimited. This information is to assist you in planning your upcoming visit to the park. Please read all the information carefully.
Protecting the Park
Two group camping sites (10 to 30 people in each) are available. The maximum capacity of the group campground is 60 people. Group campground reservations must be made in advance by calling the park at (505) 786-7014 ext. 221. The cost for group camping is $2.00 per person, per night with a minimum fee of $25.00.
There are no food concessions in the park! Bring all the food, drinks, and snacks that you and your group will need. The Western National Parks Association bookstore at the visitor center sells books, gifts, postcards, film, videos, and t-shirts. To order you may call (505) 786-7014 ext. 265.
Take Care of Our Past and Be Safe
- Prehistoric walls are fragile and crumble easily if walked upon. Please stay on the established trails and off the walls. Never write on the canyon walls or rocks.
- All artifacts, plants, rocks, and animals should be left undisturbed. Collecting is not permitted.
- Wear sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots.
- Be aware of low doorways, drop-offs into open and unroofed kivas, uneven walking surfaces, and ice or snow.
- Temperatures can reach 100°F in the summer. Hot, arid weather conditions sap energy and commonly lead to dehydration and heat exhaustion, so drink lots of water. Use sunscreen, wear a hat, and remember to eat snacks with carbohydrates.
- Be prepared for high-desert elevations of 6,200 to 6,600 feet. If you are coming from a lower elevation, give yourself time to adjust. Take it easy and don't over do it.
- Sudden summer thunderstorms can bring soaking rain and drastically falling temperatures. Come prepared with proper clothing and bad weather gear (rain ponchos).
- Keep your camp or picnic area clean. Food crumbs will attract wildlife.
- Never throw rocks, sticks, or other objects from the mesa tops.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
PO Box 220
Nageezi, NM 87037-0220
Fax (505) 786-7061
Phone (505) 786-7014 ext. 221
Did You Know?
During the Late Cretaceous time, Chaco Canyon was at the edge of a large inland sea. Today we can find fossil clam shells, shark teeth, ammonites, and burrows of shrimp-like animals in the canyon rocks.