Situated in the northwest region of New Mexico, Chaco Culture National Historical Park is an important part of the United States National park system.
This very special park aims to preserve the ancestral grounds of the prehistoric American Indian communities.
Ancestral pueblos are former houses of the American Indian communities.
The first logical stop for any visitor exploring the Chaco Culture National Park is the Visitor Center.
Here, you can find not only the information desk, but also a theater, a museum, a bookstore, a gift shop and even picnic tables.
The Center offers various programs and guided hikes during the period from May to October.
This is also the spot where you can permits to all trail heads.
After getting some needed information from the Visitor's Center, you can now explore the main paved loop road, which stretches for 9 miles and provides access to the five main Chacoan sites.
This loop road can be traveled by car.
But for avid hikers, there are great short and easy trails that go through the sites.
If you decided to travel on foot, make sure to wear good sturdy hiking boots especially if you plan to drop by remote areas.
And bring plenty of water to stay hydrated and healthy.
Each of Chacoan site has their own special characteristics.
To maximize your visit, spend at least 45 minutes at each one, and you will not regret it.
One very prominent site is called Pueblo Bonito, which is also a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Another fascinating site worth visiting is Peñasco Blanco pueblo, which is linked to hiking trails.
Peñasco Blanco is widely known for its pictograph, situated under a rock alcove just below its main structures.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park also offers back country hiking trails that lead you to more remote sites.
Trail guides are available at the center's bookstore and the sites' parking lot.
All trails and sites are open from 7 in the morning until sunset.
If you are not much of a hiker, another alternative is to bike the 9-mile loop.
Biking means less travel time, which means that you can stay longer in some pueblos.
There are also other back country trails within the park that can be cycled.
Examples of these are Casa Chiquite, Kin Klizhin and Wijiji.
Although you have to pay an entrance fee to the park, a number of the hiking permits are free.
Camping is also possible as long as you pay designated fee.
If you intend to repeatedly visit the park, consider getting a Park Pass, which entitles you to unlimited entries for the entire year.
Most people who visit the historical part, take the opportunity to get amazing photos of the ancient sites.
The best time for excellent photography is during the late afternoon, when the sun is close to the horizon, and gives off that warm yet appealing color.
On top of the usual outdoor activities you can enjoy in Chaco, one popular activity that draws the crowd here is stargazing.
Chaco is perfect for stargazing because of its incredibly dark night sky.
To marvel at amazing constellations, you can bring your own telescope or head out to the park's very own observatory.