General Information

This trail was a really neat trail to hike. It starts out as a steep climb which quickly turns into the top of the mesa where you feel like you are on top of the world. The climb up was really neat. One of the rocks on the scramble up had seashells embedded into it. I took a photo of it which is right below this paragraph.

shells in the rock on the hike up and down

The loop trail is 5.4 miles. Plan to take a few hours, maybe up to 4 even, to do this trail. It is very picturesque and you may even what to take a snack break and look over the valley below (of course packing out all the rubbish from the picnic).

Oh - we forgot to mention - bring quarters with you. Either in the gift shop or at the trail head you can get little booklets that explain the ruins and the trails at a lot of the stops. We found the booklets to be very useful and they helped enhance the visit tremendously. The booklets point out things we might have missed.

hole pottery

Points of interest along the way include a place her you can see an ancient staircase carved in the wall. I admit I selected this trail so I could see exactly what an ancient staircase was. It is steps carved into the wall of the cliff which we included a photo of below. You don't actually take the staircase for the trail, you just hike around the top and look down.

ruins on the high mesa ancient staircase hikers

At the top of the mesa you eventually arrive at ruins that seem to overlook the world. Samples of pottery shards are left out on rocks by the ruins for people to look at. Pottery whose paints and designs have survived a thousand years. It is hard to put into words what it is like to think about that.

We are glad we selected this trail to be the last one we would hike at this park before we had to leave. We were kind of sad we did not get one more day to hike more trails here. Chaco Culture National Historic Park is a well hidden gem. Not many people visit it in comparison to other parks like Mesa Verde, but the experience of being there and the history we learned was just as interesting and wonderful as other nearby parks.