Chaco Culture National Historical Park
This hub of ceremony, trade, and administration for the prehistoric Four Corners area is unlike anything before or since its time. Chaco Culture National Historical Park is remarkable for its multi-storied public buildings, ceremonial buildings, and distinctive architecture. All of these structures required considerable planning, designing, organizing of labor, and engineering to construct. The Chacoan people combined many elements to create an ancient urban center of spectacular public architecture. Pre-planned architectural designs, astronomical alignments, geometry, landscaping, and engineering are all a part of the unique design that still awes and inspires visitors a thousand years later.
Seasonality / Weather
Summer highs are typically 80 F to mid-90 F. Thunderstorms can produce heavy localized downpours and sudden dramatic drops in temperatures. Hypothermia, lightning, and flash floods are real concerns.
Winter temperatures will drop to well below freezing most nights. If you plan to camp in the winter, prepare for nighttime temperatures in the teens or lower.
Spring and Fall are great times to visit with more moderate temperatures, but unexpected storms can change things dramatically. Monitor local weather forecasts.
When hiking the canyon, be prepared for heat, rain, wind, and unexpected changes in temperature. Carry a rain poncho and a jacket or sweater. Wear hiking boots and a wide-brimmed hat, and use sunscreen. Carry and drink extra water, bring extra snacks, and take your time adjusting to the altitude.
The preferred and recommended access route to the park is from the north, via US 550 (formerly NM 44) and County Road (CR) 7900, and CR 7950.
From the north, turn off US 550 at CR 7900, three-miles southeast of Nageezi and approximately 50-miles west of Cuba (at mile 112.5). This route is clearly signed from US 550 to the park boundary (21 miles). The route includes eight-miles of paved road (CR 7900) and 13-miles of rough dirt road (CR7950).
From the south, two routes access Chaco from Highway 9, which runs between Crownpoint, Pueblo Pintado, and Cuba. Both routes can vary from very rough to impassable. Not recommended for RVs. If you are traveling from the south, please call ahead for the latest conditions.