Places To Go

The World Heritage Site plaque in front of the visitor center.
Chaco Culture NHP was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1987.

NPS Photo.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park Visitor Center

Inside the Visitor Center, you will find a museum with exhibits on ancestral Pueblo daily life, the Chacoan landscape, and more. There is also a 26-minute film to watch and a bookstore run by the Western National Parks Association.

Una Vida with Fajada Butte in background.
Remnants of Una Vida with Fajada Butte in the background.

NPS Photo.

Una Vida

Una Vida is a Chacoan “great house,” a large pre-planned multi-storied public building with distinctive masonry, formal earthen architecture, and a great kiva. Una Vida exists today in a near-natural state of preservation, free from major vandalism, and with only minor excavations and preservation repairs. A one-mile roundtrip (including petroglyphs) trail begins at the NE corner of the Visitor Center parking lot. Portions are rocky, steep, and slippery when wet. Take water and travel in small groups to lessen our impacts to this fragile site.

Hungo Pavi.
Hungo Pavi.

NPS Photo.

Hungo Pavi

Hungo Pavi is an unexcavated Chacoan "great house" (monumental public building) containing over 150 rooms, a great kiva, and an enclosed plaza. It is a good example of what Chacoan sites look like without excavations--covered with a protective blanket of wind-blown sand and native vegetation. Travel in small groups to lessen our impacts to this fragile site.
Aerial view of Chetro Ketl
An aerial view of Chetro Ketl.

NPS Photo.

Chetro Ketl

Chetro Ketl is the second largest Chacoan great house. It covers more than 3 acres, and contains a great kiva and elevated kivas. As builders constructed second and third stories, they created an elevated plaza that stands 12 feet above the canyon floor. Located 4 1/2 miles from the Visitor Center on the 9-mile Canyon Loop Drive. The trail through Chetro Ketl is ½ mile, roundtrip. It is graveled, and climbs several short, steep rises, so assistance is recommended for people using wheel chairs.
A corner door at Pueblo Bonito.
Seven corner doors are known within Pueblo Bonito.

NPS Photo.

Pueblo Bonito

Pueblo Bonito is the most thoroughly investigated and celebrated cultural site in Chaco Canyon. It is the only "great house" you can walk through the rooms of within the canyon. You will see incredible engineering techniques and intentional, detailed masonry. This is a must see when at Chaco Culture National Historical Park.
The sun rising through two open doorways of the Great Kiva Casa Rinconada during the Fall Equinox.
The sun rising through two open doorways of the Great Kiva Casa Rinconada during the Fall Equinox.

Charles Cutter.

Casa Rinconada

Casa Rinconada, a community site on the south side of Chaco Canyon, affords a different view into Chacoan life than the Great Houses on the north side of the canyon thought to be primarily used as public spaces. Excavations of the Casa Rinconada community in the 1930's and 40's by the University of New Mexico field school illuminated that new structures were frequently built over top of older structures no longer being used and that old buildings were often remodeled and incorporated into new construction.
The tri wall structure at Pueblo Del Arroyo
Tri-wall structures are rare in Chacoan architecture.

Jamie Peters/NPS Photo.

Pueblo Del Arroyo

The great house of Pueblo del Arroyo was planned and constructed in two short phases, from approximately 1065 to 1150 CE. Though smaller than earlier great houses, the structure has many typical great house attributes. But unlike other great houses in the canyon, it was built away from cliff walls, in the open near the arroyo. Another unusual feature is the tri-wall kiva. Only ten tri-wall kivas have been found in the Southwest – three of those are at Aztec Ruins National Monument. The one found at Pueblo del Arroyo is the only one in Chaco Canyon.
A walk through Pueblo del Arroyo gives you a chance to contemplate life in a smaller, later great house.
A series of petroglyphs.

Russ Bodnar

Petroglyph Trail

Throughout Chaco Canyon, Ancestral Pueblo people, and later Navajo people, carved petroglyphs and painted pictographs on the sandstone walls of the canyon. A walk to Una Vida, along the Petroglyph Trail between Pueblo Bonito and Chetro Ketl, or a hike on the Peñasco Blaco trail allows you to marvel at some of these ancient images.
The Great Kiva at Aztec Ruins National Monument.
Aztec Ruins National Monument

NPS Photo.


It doesn't stop with just Chaco Canyon! Check out this page to learn about other ancestral Pueblo sites and how far the Chaco Phenonmenon truly extended.

Last updated: September 23, 2022

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PO Box 220
Nageezi, NM 87037


505 786-7014

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