Hitting the Trail: Chaco Culture National Historical Park (Nageezi, New Mexico)

November 12, 2013

Hitting the Trail is a weekly feature here at Mud Puddles to Meteors. In each post we will share trails, parks, and museums from around the country (and sometimes even beyond). If you would like to join in and share a special nature location please send us an email at kidsandnature@gmail.com with the details listed at the bottom of the post and links to the photos. We would love to share your nature adventure!

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Chaco Culture National Historical Park (Nageezi, New Mexico)

We have had the privilege of visiting Chaco Culture National Historical Park twice since our move to New Mexico; once in late winter and again this last weekend. We explored different parts of the park each visit and are sharing photos from both trips in this post. The weather was very erratic in February, shifting between sunny skies and almost white-out snow storms as we traveled along the park road and explored the ruins. This last weekend we enjoyed the cool fall weather and hiked a bit farther, even attempting the trail that leads up to the top of the bluffs. It proved to be a bit too steep for one of our kiddos, but even half way up the view was spectacular. This park is one not to miss for anyone traveling to New Mexico!

Chaco 2-2

Chaco 42-2

Chaco 95 View-2

Chaco 44 Galls-1

Chaco 44 against cliff-2

Chaco 41-1

Chaco 34-1

Chaco 12-1

Chaco 30-1

Chaco 23-1
Chaco 9-1

Chaco 7-1

Some Things To Know

Location: Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwest New Mexico, about three miles outside of Nageezi.

Habitat: High desert canyon with tall bluffs, scrub brush, pinyon pines, and few cottonwood trees, with a small riparian zone.

Favorite Animal and Plant Life: Ravens, hawks, and mountain blue birds have been spotted, along with locust flying along the trail. Signs of elk and coyote are along the trails, but there are many animals that make this canyon home.

Special Features: Along with the geology, the ruins are the most obvious special feature in this park. They range in size and architectural design, and are amazing to walk through. There are also fossils and petroglyphs to be found alongside the ruins and along the trail. While driving the dirt road to get to this park it is easy to understand why this area has the designation of an International Dark Sky Park; which would make for some amazing nighttime sky watching when camping there.

Best Time of Year to Visit: The park is open year-round but spring and fall seem like ideal times to visit. It does get rather hot in the summer and as we experienced in late winter the weather can be a challenge during the winter months, but that did not stop us from enjoying the beauty of the park.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

tamara November 12, 2013 at 6:54 am

I see snow! and fossils and cool rock formations! Love that you have such great places to visit and explore in your area. The petroglyphs are so interesting and speak of a people closer to the earth. Thanks for sharing!

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Wendy N November 12, 2013 at 7:03 am

Love the different rock formations and the fossils! Thanks for sharing.

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