Chaco Canyon In Depth
$2,395 per person ($349 single supplement)
Explore the vast cultural system of Chaco Canyon and the extensive network of outlying communities that developed in northwestern New Mexico and southwestern Colorado from A.D. 800 to 1130. We’ll visit Pueblo Bonito and other spectacular great houses in Chaco Canyon as well as the great kiva at Casa Rinconada. We’ll also have the unique opportunity to visit many of the most important outlying communities that are integral parts of the entire Chacoan complex still being uncovered by researchers. Scholars are still struggling to understand how this vast system developed and operated, and why it suddenly collapsed in about A.D. 1130. To complete the experience, we will spend two memorable nights camping in Chaco Canyon. Some of the leading Chaco experts will join us.
View the schedule below.
Saturday, September 2
Join us in Albuquerque for a welcome reception and Chaco overview lecture at the Sheraton Airport Hotel.
Sunday, September 3
We’ll begin our journey at The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center where we’ll learn more about New Mexico’s Pueblo communities. Then we’ll visit Casamero where we will learn about the great houses and Chaco system. We’ll spend the evening in Gallup at the historic El Rancho Hotel.
Monday, September 4
In the morning, we’ll visit Richardson’s Trading Post, one of the largest in Indian Country. At the Salmon Ruins and Museum on the San Juan River, we’ll see a 300-room Chaco outlier that sits at the end of the Great North Road from Chaco Canyon. We’ll spend the next three evenings at the Courtyard by Marriott in Farmington.
Tuesday, September 5
We’ll travel to the northern extreme of the Chaco system in the Montezuma Valley of Colorado and visit the Albert Porter site and the Haynie site, both Conservancy preserves. At the Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum, we’ll see two small outliers and an excellent new museum where we’ll study the connection between the Chaco culture and Mesa Verde.
Wednesday, September 6
Continuing our visit to the outlier communities, we’ll visit Aztec Ruins National Monument where the Chacoans may have tried to move their center. Then we’ll explore Chimney Rock, a spectacular setting for ancient astronomy used by the Chaco people to predict movements of the moon.
Thursday, September 7
We’ll begin our three-day exploration of Chaco Canyon proper. We’ll visit the great houses at Hungo Pavi, Chetro Ketl, and Pueblo Bonito. We’ll camp the next two evenings in the park under brilliant skies, where our outfitter will provide our meals, tents, and every comfort (except showers).
Friday, September 8
We’ll take a 5-mile roundtrip hike to Pueblo Alto, where an extensive research project took place. After lunch we’ll visit Pueblo del Arroyo and the south canyon sites.
Saturday, September 9
We’ll begin the day a trip to the great kiva at Casa Rinconada. After lunch, we’ll travel to the outlier community of Pueblo Pintado and then return to Albuquerque for a soft bed and farewell party at the Hilton Garden Inn Albuquerque Airport.
Sunday, September 10
Participants depart for home.
Cost includes first-class hotel accommodation based on double occupancy (single supplement is $349), as well as tents, sleeping bags, and meals while camping for two nights at Chaco Canyon. Cost also includes lunches, happy hours, expert Conservancy and special guides, admittance fees, tours, orientations, background reading, and surface travel via air-conditioned vans.
Not included are meals not listed above and travel to and from Albuquerque.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The tour takes place at altitudes of 5,000 to 7,000 feet. People with respiratory problems should consult their physician. People unaccustomed to higher altitudes sometimes experience fatigue and dizziness. Hikes on this tour are suited for moderate level hikers. The tour includes walking on some primitive, back country trails with little to no shade. Some trails may have uneven and unstable surfaces, loose rock, and steep climbs. Longer hikes at Chaco Canyon can take from 3 to 5 hours to complete.