Passport Stamp Pit Stop at Chaco Cultural Historical Park

{Date of Visit: Apr 29-30, 2014}

Crossing the Divide.
If you've learned anything about us you know that #1 we don't like to drive all that far on any given day and #2 we (and by "we" I mean me ~ Lynn) are suckers for collecting National Park Service stamps in our passport book. So when it was time to leave Albuquerque and head to SW Colorado there was no doubt about it...we would stopping at Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

Since this was prior to our solar install and the temperatures were climbing (making it dangerous to leave the cats without AC) we felt it necessary to stay somewhere with at least electric hookups. But the pickings were very, very slim. Very slim. Extremely slim. And that meant we ended up parked in the lot of the Apache Nugget Casino. This was far from being a legitimate RV Park and barely resembled a casino. Basically it was a gas station literally in the middle of no where. It was also a good 35 miles (one way) to Chaco Canyon.

Technically we were supposed to back in to a spot but the place was empty so spread out a little. But you get an idea of cramped it just might get based on how close those outlets are spaced. All this for $20 per night.
But, we're loyal to our passport stamp book.

So, we sucked it up and made the most out of our side trip to Chaco. And man was it worth it...

The National Park does offer camping (tent and RV) right near the Visitor's Center. But there's no electricity. And while the sites are lovely and the views amazing, you still have to drive 21 miles down a dirt road to get there. As a matter of fact, anyone who wants to visit this park will have to drive 21 miles down the dirt road.

Twenty plus miles of open range and (possibly) wild horses to get from the highway to Chaco Cultural NP.
Chaco Canyon was occupied between the ninth and thirteenth centuries by the Anasazi (or ancient Pueblo) people and used as a cultural and trade area. It's the largest, best preserved pueblo village in the south west. It's also considered the sacred ancestral homeland to the Hopi and Pueblo people.

These photographs can't do it justice. You'll just have to see it for come on in...

Welcome, ya'll.
Room with a view.
Now that's old...
The Grand Kiva.
Not quite as old but still o-l-d.
Ancient scars left from sharpening tools on the sandstone.
Desert blooms.
Part of the Chacoan Staircase used as a trade route villagers used to gain access to Chaco Canyon.
Fajada Butte....over 6000 feet tall.
Amazing architecture.
We loved it...but I'm not going to lie, it's a looooong and dusty drive to get there. But you just can't comprehend the historical significance, the attention to detail, the wonderful architecture, the seclusion and the feeling you get knowing you are walking in the footsteps of the ancients. It's like you can feel them walking with you.

There's no possible way I can give you all of the history and information on Chaco without taking up pages and pages of blog space (not to mention possibly plagiarizing Wikipedia) but I encourage you to read a little about it. It's truly fascinating.


  1. Beautiful pictures! I know that area well, I used to work with a school about 40 minutes down the BIA Road 9 from the park entrance. So remote I had to sleep on the school counselors couch when I would work there. Well worth the druve though, I agree. A very spiritual area!

    1. How cool that you got to spend some time in the area. Way to immerse yourself in the people and culture. =)

  2. We did this a few years ago. We took our vintage Class A all the way to the park. 13 miles of washboard!! Fun times. That said, I would do it again in a second. What a magical place. In addition to the best examples of Anasazi architecture, the park is one of the best places you can go to at night for dark skies. Rangers talks at night include telescopes. I would want a week if I went again.

    1. How wonderful to hear! We felt the same way...when we go back we're going to suck it up and take the RV so we can camp right there. We recently had solar installed so it will make it somewhat easier should we need to runs fans too. Definitely would want to do the ranger night talk and hike the trails to the more remote ruins.

  3. Hey guys, we are a soon to be retired Cali cop and an awesome yoga lady- sound familiar? Love to pick your brain on costs and stuff as I'll have 21 years in PERS when I go in Jan 2016. Saw your interview on Technomadia. Glad you survived the profession. Curtis Bayer-

    1. Feel free to email us at talesfromthemutiny<@>gmailcom anytime. We'd be happy to help in any way possible. Looking forward to talking to you (and even meeting some day on the road).


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