Chaco Canyon National Historical Park

Chaco Canyon was an amazing place to be. More ruins than you can imagine, and if you hike the Peublo Alto trail, you can see almost all of the ruins from the top of the Mesa. Pueblo Bonito was the largest of the great houses and the center of the Chacoan world. It was lived in from the mid-800s to the 1200s, 4 stories high, had over 600 rooms and 40 kivas.

 

Pueblo Bonito
Pueblo Bonito

 

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The walls of Chetro Ketl ruins

 

Inside Chetro Ketl
Inside Chetro Ketl

The Peublo Alto trail is a really fun loop hike. You get to navigate a slot between a gigantic boulder and the mesa to gain the top of the mesa, walk around the mesa top with its fossilized shrimp burrows, pecked basins, stone circles and Chacoan stairways then skirt the edge of the mesa to look down on the ruins.

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Chetro Ketl from above

 

A Collard Lizard sunning itself on a cairn along the Pueblo Alto trail
A Collard Lizard sunning itself on a cairn along the Pueblo Alto trail

I was camped at the Chaco Canyon campground in the tent only section, which is located in a box canyon. In the evenings, an owl would hoot from the back of the canyon, echoing over the tents, campers and campfires. I could hear the bull elk bugling in the meadows leading into the canyon. Coyotes would howl as the moon began to rise. One of my fondest memories of Chaco Canyon.

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