Wijiji Bike Trail
Tom Lyttle & Donna Smith
Trailhead: Located opposite the campground. (1 1/4 miles east of the Visitor Center).
Distance: 3 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: Mostly level
Time: 1 to 2 hours
Note: This trail provides a short easy ride to a Chacoan great house
Permit required: Obtain a free permit at the Visitor Center, from a campground host, or self register at trailhead.
Wijiji is the most symmetrical of all the great houses in Chaco Canyon. The building contained about 225 uniformly-sized rooms, arranged compactly around two kivas. The rear row of rooms was three stories high; stair-stepping down to two stories; with one-story rooms surrounding the plaza. The uniform construction at this great house suggests that it was built in a single, brief constructions surge between AD 1110 and 1115.
Several features typical of Chacoan great houses are missing at Wijiji. There is no great kiva in the plaza, although one is located 1/2 mile away. Wijiji lacks a midden (trash deposit). Another typical great house feature missing at Wijiji is the arc of connected rooms enclosing the plaza. Some researchers think the people never completed Wijiji, which would explain the lack of refuse, great kiva, and enclosed plaza.
Did You Know?
Archeologist Patricia Crown discovered evidence of cacao in a cylinder jar from Chaco! This may be the earliest importation and use of cocoa north of where it is grown. Cacao is now processed into chocolate, but the Mayans and (later) the Chacoans may have consumed a bitter beverage. More...