Chaco Canyon Deluxe Camping Overnight
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.
On a cliff face atop Fajada Butte there are three large upright rock slabs that stand in front of two spiral petroglyphs carved by ancestral Pueblo people. As the sunlight passes through these slabs on the spring and fall equinoxes and the winter and summer solstices, dagger-shaped beams of light apparel at various ponds on the spirals. This planned interplay of light and shadow seems to have functioned as a calendrical marker for the Chacoan people.
The people of Chaco incorporated a variety of solar orientations into their architecture, their art and culture or which included the Fajada Butte solstice marker. These alignments indicate that the people possessed a well-developed knowledge of astronomy and it’s relationship to the seasons.
Heritage Inspirations plans all the logistics, facilitates all of your camp set-up and break-down so that you can simply experience this memorable opportunity on Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox. Our informative guides offer you a special insight and knowledge to the area in addition to providing you with the tools needed to dive deeper into the mysteries of Chaco.
Day One – 8am Departure Hotel Chaco
- Meet in the Hotel Chaco Lobby at 8:00 am. Introductions and brief orientation talk about your journey ahead.
- Depart for Chaco Canyon at 8:30pm in a comfortable 15-passenger 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.
- Arrive at Chaco Canyon Visitor Center and enjoy a Gourmet Picnic Lunch prepared by your guide while enjoying the expansive scenery in Chaco Canyon under a covered pavilion.
- Following lunch we shuttle to Pueblo Bonito for an interpretive tour with your guide followed by free time exploring the sites at your own pace. Your guide will provide the informative docent guide numbered with descriptions to each highlighted landmark. Optional walk along the Cliff House Sandstone cliffs on the Petroglyph Trail.
- Optional Afternoon. Join your guides for a Backcountry hike on the Pueblo Alto Trail, duration is 3.2 miles or head to camp and relax until dinner.
- When arriving to camp, your luggage will be inside of your tent delivered by your guides. All set-up will be facilitated by your guides.
- Tonight’s dinner will be prepared and enjoyed at camp. After dinner enjoy a cozy fire (fire permitting) and roast marshmallows, share stories about your experience of today’s exploration.
- This evening following dinner we will join the National Park Service for their Night Sky Program. Enjoy this unforgettable viewing of the night sky through their giant telescope. This program emphasize the practices of the Chacoan people a thousand years ago, as well as modern approaches to viewing the same night sky they viewed–in a remote environment with clear, dark skies, and free from urban light pollution.
- Enjoy camping beneath a thousand stars in your deluxe camp site.
Day Two – 3:30pm Hotel Chaco Return
- Early morning rise at 6:00 am to depart at 6:15am to witness the Summer Solstice Light.
- Experience this once in a lifetime opportunity to watch the Solstice Sunrise.
- Return to camp for a Full Gourmet Breakfast.
- Journey to explore the central kiva, Casa Rinconada, a key element of Chacoan public architecture.
- Hiking option on South Mesa Trail 3.6 miles starting at Casa Rinconada.
- Picnic Lunch or Pack Lunch will determine on your afternoon option to journey back to camp, the Visitor Center or hike.
- Depart Camp for Albuquerque at 12:00pm.
- 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 3:30pm (traffic dependent)
Trip Cost Details
- 4 Minimum Guests per tour
- 10 Maximum Guest per tour (Custom tours can be arranged)
- Cost Per Person $599 + tax for Hotel Chaco and Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town Guests (does not include tip for guide)
- Cost Per Person $624 + tax New Mexico Resident
Whats Included in the Tour
- Guided Hikes with your experienced guides in Chaco Canyon
- Overnight Deluxe Camp Set-up with Tent, Sleeping Bag, Sleeping Pad
- Gourmet Meals provided by Hotel Chaco & prepared by your guides.
- Chaco Canyon Pamphlets
- Entry into Chaco Canyon
- Heritage Inspirations Gift Bag with Water Bottle
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.
- Durable suitcase.
- Rain Layer
- Thermal Mug to enjoy Hot Beverage at Camp
- Wear a comfortable walking/hiking shoes to enjoy exploring the dirt hiking trails.
- New Mexico weather can change without much notice. Wear layered breathable clothing, have a rain layer and light long sleeve layer to protect your skin during sunny days and cool nights.
- Binoculars are encouraged.
- Pack your belongings in a durable suitcase/bag. If desired bring your own pillow.
- Bring a backpack for your hiking and guided walks in the park.
- Note: Chaco Canyon is remote and out of cell phone coverage areas.
Summer Solstice Tour Dates
Departing Tuesday June 20th – June 21st
Autumn Equinox Tour Dates
Departing Thursday September 21st – September 22nd
Custom Tour Dates Available
Dates are subject to availability for camping in Chaco Canyon
Cancellation & Deposit Policy
Advanced bookings are required.
When booking one our Multi-Day excursions 50% of the Total Trip Deposit is due at the time of booking. Cancellations can be made up to 30 days prior to receive a full refund for your tour departure date. 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.