What Is Chaco Culture National Historical Park?


Quick Answer

New Mexico's Chaco Culture National Historic Park is an archaeological site featuring buildings that were once home to the Anasazi, the ancestors of the Pueblo people. The structures sit in a canyon and were inhabited from roughly 850 A.D to 1250 A.D. Chaco is also a designated International Dark Sky Park because the lack of artificial light makes it is one of the best places for studying the stars.

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Full Answer

In 1987, the park became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The designation includes the structures in the park, the ancient roadways and additional sites that are on land belonging to the Bureau of Land Management, the Navajo Nation and the State of New Mexico.

Visitors may explore the park using hiking and biking trails, by signing up with a guided tour or by participating in campfire sessions and night sky programs. Information on the buildings, trails and guided tours is available at the Visitor Center. There is no public transportation into Chaco. The roadways are unpaved, with some only accessible to 4x4s or vehicles with higher clearance.

Chaco is open year-round for both day use and camping. Gallo Campground is just east of the Visitor Center. It accommodates tent campers and RVs up to 35 feet long, and has restrooms or portable toilets but no showers or drinkable water. Potable water is available at the Visitor Center. Campers may make reservations at Recreation.gov or by phone.

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