Plan Your Visit
Your first stop should be the Visitor Center, which includes a museum, information desk, theater, bookstore, and gift shop. Picnic tables and shade shelters are located near the parking lot.
From there, a 9-mile paved loop road accesses five major Chacoan sites, including Pueblo Bonito. Short self-guided trails are marked at each site. You may purchase or borrow trail guides at the parking lots of the sites or in the bookstore. Each site usually takes 45 minutes to one hour to visit. Pets are not permitted on these trails.
Four backcountry hiking trails access more remote sites and features. Free permits are available at the Visitor Center and at all trailheads. All sites and trails are open from 7:00 a.m. to sunset. Pets are permitted on backcountry trails as long as they are leashed.
Biking the 9-mile paved loop through the canyon is a great way to see the sites and experience the canyon. The Wijiji, Casa Chiquita, and Kin Klizhin trails may also be biked. Inquire at the Visitor Center for free permits and directions.
From May to October, programs, hikes, and evening programs are offered. From April to October, the Chaco Night Sky Program presents astronomy programs, solar viewing, and telescope viewing of the spectacular dark night sky. Check the schedule at the Visitor Center or call 505-786-7014 for more information.
Did You Know?
Richard Wetherill came to Chaco Canyon in 1896 and worked with the American Museum of Natural History. He operated a ranch and trading post there until his death in 1910. To keep warm during the frigid Chaco winters, Richard burned low-grade coal from a mine he constructed.