Explore Chaco Canyon - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Chaco Canyon Map

My wife and I hit the trail just before 8:00 am on July 12, so it was hot. Trail is flat and very easy for the first 3 miles or so. If you finish the hike to Penasco Blanco, it gets steep and passes over bedrock, so be sure to watch for the cairns. The petroglyphs and pictographs are awesome. All told, it took us about 4 hrs of actual hiking, with about 1 hr of picture taking and breaks. Did I say it was hot? Bring lots of water, use sunscreen, and wear a hat.

A bit scary climbing up, but worth every minute.

Lengthy hike to Supernova Pictograph site near the end of the trail. Trail is generally sand and dirt without much elevation gain until near the end of the trail. It is out and back. Hardly any traffic after the first two miles. I went in the early afternoon and it was quite warm, even in early May. You will want to take plenty of water and some trail food, of course. There is no cell service generally anywhere within the Park so you must take care of yourself out there. The trail is well marked and easy to follow. Not much wildlife but I did see some coyote scat, some birds, a couple of lizards and one large snake.

4 months ago

A short backcountry hike in Chaco Canyon, with breathtaking rewards...

The Pueblo Alto trail starts formally at Kin Kletsin which is a short walk from the Pueblo del Arroyo parking lot. It can be hiked as an out & back, or a longer teardrop route.

The beginning of the trail is a steep climb up the northwest side of the canyon, and is somewhat exposed before entering a narrow slot. It quickly reaches the canyon rim, and takes off southeast to contour the canyon, heading to a dramatic overlook of Pueblo Bonito. There are several interesting features to see along the way; watch for wooden park signs pointing them out.

Turning northward, the path climbs at a more leisurely pace, ascending to the Pueblo Alto and New Alto ruins with an expansive view of the canyon below. Directly south on the top of South Mesa, lies Tsin Kletsin, and to the northwest-west, is Peñasco Blanco, the two other clifftop great houses of Chaco Canyon.

This hike was easy enough to bring my eleven year old Vizsla along, but even in April, it's important to carry a couple of liters of water as the trail is primarily in the open sun and can be quite hot.

Returning down the slot can be a challenging, especially in the exposed section, as some of the "steps" are fairly tall. Because of her age, I decided to carry the dog down some of these rather than let her jump.

All in all, a very worthwhile hike.

Beautiful views above the ruins. You can see for 100 Miles. Going up is a bit steep and may be difficult for people with a fear of heights. This is a great hike. Simply amazing.

6 months ago

Chaco canyon is amazing to me and this hike just added to that amazement, I am also to grateful that dogs are allowed on this hike. The trail ascends the bluffs overlooking one of the sites at Chaco Canyon-Pueblo Bonito. The trail ascends through a crack in the bluff, and while easier than the stairways (ladders really) built into cliff walls still a fun challenging little climb. Along the trail are great overlooks of the ruins in the canyon/valley below as well as a view of Jackson Stairway, an ancient one ladder up the side of the bluff/cliff. Really amazing to contemplate all of the activity that must have existed here back in the day.

7 months ago

Gorgeous hike! We took 2 dogs, a golden and a golden doodle up this hike, there're two narrow sections where they're a bit nervous, but overall a pretty easy hike for humans. Carry a lot of water, and the view of the ruins from above looks amazing. Campground at Gallo is amazing too but crazy cold, 6F at night.

This was beautiful! It is definitely worth it to see the Crab Nebula petrographs and making it to the top was cool!!

Gorgeous!! I definitely recommend this trail. It was one of the harder in the park, which was a nice change. Great views off of the mesa!l (especially Pueblo Bonita)
Also, I would highly recommend this at sunset. The park closes as 5, but as long as you get out around that time it shouldn't be a problem.

9 months ago

Easy gravel trail leading to pueblo ruins. Be respectful, ALL of Chaco is a sacred place.

10 months ago

Seul au monde!

I love Chaco culture in general! The history is amazing (they found jars full of cacao beans-chocolate) and the hikes are absolutely beautiful!

Great place to take kids

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Easy walk around one of the bigger structures. You can really appreciate the stonework/masonry up close.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

An out & back trail to another ruin. It is best to combine with the ruins trail and make it a loop

Saturday, August 27, 2016

a short route to another ruin. This one is a little more intimate as you can get closer.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A minor site at Chaco.

Loved it!! Hiking to the top was awesome and absolutely breathtaking!!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

great history, one of many ruins at Chaco.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

One of the easier trails to the ruins in the park. But, also very significant. Doable by only most anyone, great for kids.

Chaco historic sites has great trails, ruins very significant, great for whole family. Do the more remote hikes to really take advantage of the site.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

One of the least hiked but one of the best in the park. The climb to the rim should not discourage anyone. Its over quick and then it is an easy 5 miles. Great views, great historic pueblos and great topography.

Nice walk through some very ancient ruins. Found some petroglyphs high up on one trail.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Excellent hike! You can't beat the views of Pueblo Bonito. Starts out with a slight incline that's very rocky, after that it's pretty easy. Did this hike with my husband and very small dog. No shade so it would be very hot in the summer. Took just over two hours to hike the loop.

Indeed, the road to the site is not paved but not as bad as some reviews describe. I have been in roads that make this one look like a paved super highway. It is indeed worth the drive because the site itself is very interesting with ruins you do not often see. The hike is very nice and best on mild weather, I would not want to try it during summer.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Another great ruin. This is one you can get into and see many of the same view the villagers saw. Amazing to see such feats of construction - square windows, round sights straight walls - all without the use of modern tools. Very easy walk.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Very easy trail next to the visitors center. Lots of puddles after a brief rain shower. Impressive until you see the other sites.

It is an absolute MUST for people to visit this site, its a World Heritage Site, which as history would inform most of mankind essentially has ties to the area. Its wonderful! I wish that I had more time to explore and fully intend on another visit. Don't let the negative comments about the crummy road to the site discourage you (provided it is miserable washboard and takes about 30 minutes to drive 15 miles) Its important to remember to make the best, its been two years since I was there and my 4 year old still remembers the drive in and LOVES to watch the silly videos we made while driving to the site

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Excellent hike. Once you get about .5 mile in the trail is all yours. Relatively flat terrain except the climb up on top of the canyon rim right at the start. Pass directly by two awesome set of ruins and get great views of Pueblo Bonito on the canyon floor below.

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