Chaco Canyon Day Tour
Roads to the Soul aren’t paved
We’ve been preparing for your visit for over 1,000 years
Expand your New Mexico visit with a luxurious journey to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Park of Chaco Canyon. This ancient site, is the Machu Picchu of North America in the San Juan Basin on top the southeastern Colorado Plateau physiographic province, with a diverse thriving culture from 850 A.D. to 1250 A.D. Experience this major center of an ancestral Puebloan story of migration, grand construction, integration of cultures, and imprinting engineered with precision, elaborate ingenuity, and timeless architecture.
Chaco is a place of mystery.
To the Pueblo man it is spoken to be the cradle of civilization and the burial place of their ancestors. To the Dinetah it is the center of the world they evolve from. To the Hopi, it is the final destination. Take a journey with us back in time, to experience these highly organized large-scale structures, featuring multi-storey construction and sophisticated coursed masonry, illustrating the increasing complexity of Chaco social structure. Chaco distinguished itself within the regional culture of the ancestral Pueblo and dominated the area for more than four centuries. These structures weren’t farming villages, they were public buildings used by communities and regions for ceremonies, trading and civic events. More than 150 distant communities emulated Chacoan architectural designs, layout, and construction of their public buildings. Linking the sites were an elaborate system of carefully engineered roadways, stairways, and ramps within the canyon and to sites far beyond that can still be traced. On this tour we will explore the largest Great House, Pueblo Bonito, a Spanish word for “pretty village.” This important epicenter of ancestral homeland showcases the core-and-veneer walls that distinguish Chacoan great-house construction.
Learn about the first excavators and their findings as we explore the important Room 28 where 111 cylinder jars, a tall and narrow form of pottery were found. These cylinder jars were used for drinking a chocolate beverage made from the cacao tree brought from Central Mexico, believed to be drank by high-ranking people during rituals. This journey would have been nearly 1200 miles away from Chaco!
Traveling to Chaco Canyon is not an easy journey. The three and half-hour drive Northwest of Albuquerque culminates on a dirt road leading the visitor into the park entrance. Though this is not a comparable journey to our ancestors who would have taken this arduous trip by foot some 1,200 miles away from Chaco.
Heritage Inspirations plans all the logistics so that you can simply experience a beautiful scenic drive. Our informative guides offer you a special insight and knowledge to the area and will also provide you with the tools needed to dive deeper into the mysteries of Chaco.
Upon our visit we will have the opportunity to meet with the National Park Service Interpretive Guide of Chaco to greet us and share a short orientation and history about the significance of this sacred site. Our journey begins at the Chaco Culture Visitor Center where we will enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch under a covered pavilion.
Following lunch we will journey to the Great House named Pueblo Bonito, the most thoroughly investigated and celebrated cultural site in Chaco Canyon. The term “great house” is an archeologist term to describe the large sites in Chaco. These great houses shared many architectural features such as planned layouts, multi-storied construction, distinctive masonry, very large rooms, plazas, and huge subterranean ceremonial chambers called “great kivas.” We will conclude our visit with the great kiva, Casa Rinconada.
Beneath the expansive skies of northern New Mexico, soak in the opportunity to be guided along this ancestral corridor that paints a geological story. Experience the beauty of the elements of eroded sandstone, desert wind and imagine the presence of ancient voices. Heritage Inspirations wishes to provide you with an authentic, cultural and vivid encounter with the mystery of Chaco Canyon.
Day Tour Overview
7:15 am Meet at Hotel Chaco & Return 5:30pm
- Breakfast is included for hotel guests in this tour.
- Meet in the Hotel Chaco Lobby at 7:15 am. Introductions and brief orientation talk about your journey ahead.
- Depart for Chaco Canyon at 7:30 am in a comfortable 15-passenger Ford Transit Van transporting you back into ancient time. Your van is equipped with Chaco Canyon reading materials, snacks, water and all the comforts necessary for the voyage ahead.
- Each guest will receive a Heritage Inspirations Chaco Tour gift bag with a reusable water bottle, journal and other gifts to prepare you for the journey ahead.
- A Gourmet Picnic Lunch catered by Hotel Chaco is provided and prepared by your guide while enjoying the expansive scenery in Chaco Canyon under a covered pavilion.
- Following lunch enjoy an interpretive talk at Pueblo Bonito with your guide followed by free time exploring the sites at your own pace. Your guide will provide the informative docent pamphlet numbered with descriptions to each highlighted landmark. Optional walk along the Cliff House Sandstone cliffs on the Petroglyph Trail.
- Explore the central kiva, Casa Rinconada, a key element of Chacoan public architecture.
- Our journey back to Albuquerque is a scenic drive to absorb and reflect your experience exploring and excavating Chaco Canyon.
- Arrive back at Hotel Chaco by 5:30 pm (traffic dependent)
Trip Cost Details
- 4 Minimum Guests per tour
- 12 Maximum Guest per tour (Custom tours can be arranged)
- Cost Per Person Introductory Rate $199 + tax for Hotel Chaco and Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town Guests (does not include tip for guide)
- Cost Per Person $224 + tax for general public (does not include tip for guide)
Whats Included in the Tour
- Comfortable Transportation
- Breakfast Burrito
- Heritage Inspirations Gift Bag with Water Bottle
- Chaco Canyon Pamphlets
- Entry into Chaco Canyon
- Guided Interpretive Exploration of Pueblo Bonito
- Gourmet Picnic Lunch provided by Hotel Chaco
Suggestions to prepare for your Journey:
- Chaco Canyon is a very open and exposed landscape in high elevation. Be sure to wear sunscreen, sunglasses and a sun hat. Be sure to drink lots of water on your journey.
- Wear a comfortable walking shoes to enjoy exploring the dirt hiking trails.
- New Mexico weather can change without much notice. Wear layered clothing, have a rain layer and light long sleeve layer to protect your skin during sunny days.
- Binoculars are encouraged.
- Pack your belongings in a backpack that will make it easy to transport your personal items in and out of the vehicle while exploring.
- Note: Chaco Canyon is remote and out of cell phone coverage areas.
Chaco Day Tour Dates
Day Tours will begin May 2017 offered every Saturday departing from Hotel Chaco through November 2017
Cancellation & Deposit Policy
Advanced Bookings are required.
Our Day Tour Bookings require full deposit at the time of booking. Due to the intimate size of our trips we will refund cancellations when informing our team up to 10 Days in advance. Anything cancelled before 10 days notice will not be refundable. We regret that exceptions to our cancellation policy cannot be made for any reason, including weather, terrorism, civil unrest or personal emergencies. There is no refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early.
However, persons may be substituted within a reservation without penalty.