Explore the most popular kid friendly trails in Chaco Culture National Historical Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
16 days ago

Great hiking

hiking
1 month 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.

hiking
3 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.

hiking
4 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.

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.

6 months ago

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

hiking
7 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

hiking
11 months ago

The road getting to Chaco Canyon is rough, but well worth it, although I'd avoid it after any sort of significant rain. The road becomes 23 miles of very slippery mud. There are all sorts of trails once you get into the Chaco Canyon site. The one I highly suggest is the one that takes you up the side of the cliff. It can be a bit tight and tricky getting up there, so not easy. See my pictures of the crevice you have to climb through. Once you are up there you get a bird's eye view of Pueblo Bonito and other places. They do have camp grounds. It is very hot during the summer, very cold during the winter. It is well worth it. I'd go again in a heart beat. There are so many more ruins to be explored in the Chaco Canyon Basin area.

walking
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Its amazing to see what the enormity of the structure up close, it kind of feels like the US' Colosseum. Easy to walk around, some tight spaces but still manageable. There is one room that shows the original roof/floor above you and its quite amazing that it's still there. The pictographs are also very interesting and worth a glance.

walking
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

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

hiking
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

hiking
Saturday, August 27, 2016

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

walking
Friday, August 26, 2016

A minor site at Chaco.

walking
Friday, August 26, 2016

One of the minor sites at chaco.

Chaco is remote with blacktop being about 30 miles away. The route in is a rough gravel road. Your speed will be about 20 mph. Scenic in that you see barren dessert, Chaco is well worth the drive in.

Desert drive through a variety of scenery. Several places to get out of the car and take some small hikes.

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

Amazing hikes in the middle of nowhere.

hiking
Thursday, June 16, 2016

great history, one of many ruins at Chaco.

hiking
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.

hiking
Wednesday, June 15, 2016

As all the Pueblos at Chaco, very interesting. Recommend to all

hiking
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.

hiking
Friday, March 11, 2016

Don't miss this! The best views to really appreciate the size of this ruin and number of kivas is from the Pueblo Alto Loop trail.

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