• Overlooking Chetro Ketl

    Chaco Culture

    National Historical Park New Mexico

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  • Kin Bineola and Kin Ya' a Great Houses CLOSED

    There is no public access.

Nature & Science

Photo of Gallo Wash illustrating the Cliff House Formation

Cliff House Formation in Gallo Wash

Thomas Lyttle

In addition to its spectacular archaeological resources, the park is naturally significant as one of the few protected areas in the San Juan Basin. It is an island of biodiversity, home to plants and wildlife that have been significantly affected by grazing, mineral extraction, and other land-use activities in the surrounding area.



NPS Photo

The fauna found here includes elk, deer, bobcats, rabbits, badgers, porcupines, bats, snakes, lizards and other amphibians, and diverse bird populations. A number of ecosystems comprise the canyon vegetation, including pinyon-juniper woodlands, riparian with cottonwood and willow, and other numerous scrub and wildflower communities.


Rockfall behind Una Vida

NPS Photo by Marshall G. Clayton

Scientific research in the park is ongoing and often overlaps projects concerning the cultural resources. Studies are as varied as fossil inventories, native plant surveys, annual bird counts, and rock monitoring.

Photo of the Menefee Formation near Kin Klizhin
Menefee Formation, a fossil-rich layer, near Kin Klizhin
Thomas Lyttle

Did You Know?

Photo of a conch trumpet

A thousand years ago when Chaco was flourishing, you could hear the loud sounds of sea shell trumpets echoing off the canyon walls. The people traded for conch shells with groups along trade routes that stretched deep into present-day Mexico and the Gulf of California. More...