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Fri, Mar 18


Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Chaco Canyon Spring Equinox and Archaeoastronomy Adventure

It’s a dark site. It has 1000’s of years of culture. It’s the Equinox and why not?

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Chaco Canyon Spring Equinox and Archaeoastronomy Adventure
Chaco Canyon Spring Equinox and Archaeoastronomy Adventure

Time & Location

Mar 18, 2022, 11:00 AM CDT – Mar 20, 2022, 12:20 PM CDT

Chaco Culture National Historical Park , New Mexico, USA


About the event

Zoom meeting by Sarah 2/23/22 at 4:30  to 5:30

Sarah Shipley's planning doc posted 1/13/2022 

Click here to get additional information 

Where: Chaco Canyon for Spring Equinox and Archaeoastronomy Adventure.

When: March 18-20, 2022

Why: It’s a dark site. It has 1000’s of years of culture. It’s the Equinox and why not?

Sunday, March 20, 2022 at 9:33 am MDT (is the official time for the Equinox BTW)

NPS Website for more info.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park has one Visitor Center that is open from 8:00am-4:00pm from November through April.

You must get a pass from the visitor’s center or online (see link below)

Hiking trails and archaeological sites are open daily from 7:00am to 9:00pm.

Details: We have two camping areas 8 and 9 from the 18-20th.

Two tents are allowed per site.

If you want to stay on site and camp, we still have 4 spots available if you want to camp offsite or stay at a hotel and hike there is no limit.

Need to know:

· No cell service. This is remote.

· We bring food water firewood etc. Carry in carry out. Leave no trace.

· The roads are BAD on the way into the park. So, a trip that might normally take 20 mins could take an hour.

· Bathrooms are heated (Yippie)

My plan: I am driving from Aspen to Chaco. I’ll have cold weather gear, a 6-person tent, supplies, food (it might be MRE’s) firewood and water. I have a few tents and all the gear we will EVER need so if you need something let me know. *Someone remind me to bring a telescope. I will have a coms plan for us most likely Walkie Talkies. I have a bunch.

Once we get closer, I’ll let you know my food/water/safety plan.

I will check in at the sites at 11am on the 18th once we are on site there is NO cell service. I mean NONE.

This is what I’m thinking. Its subject to change based on what people want to do how many folks we have etc. It’s a dark site so stargazing is a must.

18 Day One (check in make camp) Hike the petroglyphs on the canyon wall above Una Vida

Great House figure out where to post up during sunrise, sunset and at equinox

19 Day Two (go to Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness)

20 Day Three Equinox sunrise hike and it’s my birthday so happy first day of spring.

21 Day Four Break Camp clean-up check out by noon

Directions (get a map b/c GPS will send you a crazy way) Do not rely on GPS!

Chaco Canyon is located in northwestern New Mexico.

The park can only be accessed by driving on dirt roads.

You have to know the road conditions to figure out which way to access it.

Call 505-786-7014 the day you arrive as conditions can change quickly.

Warning: Some of the local roads recommended by map publishers and GPS devices are unsafe for passenger cars. Please use the directions below to avoid getting lost or stuck.

From the north, turn off US 550 at CR 7900--3 miles southeast of Nageezi and approximately 50 miles west of Cuba (at mile 112.5). This route is clearly signed from US 550 to the park boundary (21 miles). The route includes 8 miles of paved road (CR 7900 & CR7950) and 13 miles of rough dirt road (CR7950). The 4 1/2 miles before entering the park are very rough.

From the south, two routes access Chaco from Highway 9, which runs between Crownpoint, Pueblo Pintado, and Cuba. Both routes can vary from very rough to impassable. Not recommended for RVs. If you are traveling from the south, please call ahead for the latest conditions.

Via Hwy 57(Hwy 14 on some maps): This turnoff is located on Highway 9, 13 miles east of Highway 371, at the former Seven Lakes Trading Post. (20 miles of dirt). Note that the signs directing you to turn off of Hwy 371 onto Highway 9 are missing.

Via Pueblo Pintado: At the community of Pueblo Pintado, turn north on Navajo 46 for 10 miles (rough dirt). Turn left on County Road 7900 for 7 miles (some rough dirt). Turn left on County Road 7950, and follow the signs 16 miles to the park entrance (3 miles paved and 13 of rough dirt road).

The northern and southern routes include 13, 20, and 33 miles of dirt roads, respectively. These sections of road are infrequently maintained, and they can become impassable during inclement weather. If you have an RV and are not planning on camping in the park, you may want to leave the RV and drive a car into the park. Call the park (505-786-7014) for current road conditions.


The nearest airports are Farmington, NM, Gallup, NM, Durango,CO and Albuquerque, NM.

Other Options if you don’t want to cold weather camp and overflow sites.

Glamping (Min 10 people)

Hotel Chaco

Other Camping

Ruby Ranch: A working cattle ranch 16 miles south of the park on Hwy 57 (rough dirt road). There is unlimited camping ($5.00 per person/per night) at the ranch. Camping is primitive and campers will need to be self-contained (i.e., bring their own food and water, pack out all trash and properly dispose of human waste). The ranch can accommodate large groups. Large groups may need to make arrangements to rent portable toilets through local vendors.

Call Mickey or Amy Williams at (505) 979 0614 for further details.

Blanco Trading Post: A working trading post located at 12341 S. Hwy 550, 29 miles north of Chaco off US 550. Fourth generation traders Justin and Savannah Higgins invite individuals and groups to camp adjacent to their trading post ($5.00 per person/per night). Group rates are available. Restrooms and food service are available at the post during operating hours 6:30am to 9:00pm (summer). Water is available. Call (505)-632-1219

Angel Peak Scenic Area: A Scenic Area managed by Bureau of Land Management is located 39 miles north of Chaco, off US 550 on CR 7175. Look for a turnoff just south of mile marker137.

A dirt road leads 6 miles to the primitive campground. Angel Peak Campground has nine sites available for tent camping; each with picnic tables on a concrete underfoot, gravel pathways, and fire grates. Picnic shelters are located at three campsites; two with single shelters and one with a double shelter suitable for larger groups. Two accessible vault toilets and trash receptacles are conveniently located in the campground. A short nature trail winds among the plants that have found a niche along the desolate rim and leads to an overlook of the canyon.

Hotels Nearby (see link)

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