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Old 08-02-2009, 05:58 AM   #15
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There are good reasons not to drive, well actually only one. The road really is or can be horrendous.

The reasons to go are early AM hiking, the Night Sky Program, late evening hiking and photography if you like that sort of thing. I spent 10 days there, it really is beautiful.

Turbo Dog Jupitor met Mr. Porcupine in a 4AM moon light walk. He received a face full of quills and showed his mettle when I pulled them out.
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:45 AM   #16
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Well worth the trip

I went in thought I would report in since I started this thread. Sorry to be so late.

We towed into Chaco Canyon im mid-May. I called ahead to the visitor's center and learned that the road had recently graded. It still consisted of 16.5 miles of washboard dirt. The round trip popped five interior rivets, but I have been on Interstate that popped rivets before. That's why I carry a rivet gun with me.

I took Mojo's advice and taped all drawers and hatches. I also lowered the table as I had it drop once on I-20 in N. Louisiana. Everything was a mess inside but nothing spilled out.

The campground there is great. It has flush toilets and a dump station but no other facilities. Water can be found at a fountain at the visitor center.

Personally, I could not see all I would want to see from a day trip in-and -out. And the thought of that washboard road on multiple days isn't very appealing. At the camp you get a real feel for the canyon. Much more than you could possibly get from just driving in and out in a day. And you have the luxury of time to explore and study all that is there.

The Chaco culture pre-dates that at Mesa Verde. Not much is known for sure about the culture so it leaves plenty of room to speculate from an ameture archiological perspective. I enjoyed the canyon more than Mesa Verde as it was much less crowded. And, I might add that I was at Mesa Verde in April '07 befor the crowds arrived for the summer months.

I highly recommend this trip. If you take it easy and prepare your trailer for the bad road I can be done. Your reward will be well worth the trouble encountered.
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Old 08-02-2009, 01:33 PM   #17
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Canyonlands also has another unit, Horse Canyon, which is near Goblin Valley State Park, south of Green River. Horse Canyon is the home of the famous Grand Gallery and its ghost images.

Goblin Valley is a great visit as well, and the cg is a good base for exploration of both.

Pat
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Old 08-02-2009, 02:22 PM   #18
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It's been nearly 20 years since I was at Horse Canyon, but I believe it is only accessible by dirt road. You can leave the trailer at Goblin Valley (nice campground there, but no trees), or Green River.

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Old 08-03-2009, 10:37 AM   #19
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Amen on the dirt road. I think it is better than the one at Chaco, though.

For Chaco, we camped at Rio Rancho and daytripped to Chaco. The 15-20 miles into the park were so rough and dusty, I was glad I did not bring the trailer. But once we were there and saw the campground - and imagined how bright the stars would be if we had camped - I think we will bring the trailer next time, hell or high water.

You can always clean the trailer but you sure can't see the sights without being there.

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Old 08-03-2009, 01:26 PM   #20
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You can always clean the trailer but you sure can't see the sights without being there.

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And "being there" is why I have an Airstream.

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Old 09-15-2009, 07:46 PM   #21
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Chaco Canyon- best road for AS trailer

Take the route CR7950 from Highway 550 just southeast of Nageezi, NM for the better option getting to Chaco Canyon. The route coming from Seven Lakes, NM to the south has some rock outcrops in the road you need to be aware. Both routes are not the worst roads I have experienced, but the wash board is a good conversation item when you find the "sparse" camp ground facilities at Chaco. I understand there are rockdocking pullouts on the southern route into Chaco, but there are NO facilities. The Chaco rangers also are watching for artifact poachers coming from the south and see any vehicle parked outside the park as suspect "poachers". At night the headlights are seen many miles away and it will get a number of binocular assisted rangers watching your progress and a potential "visit".

More important than the wash board road, artifact poachers and a DUST TRAIL following your progress to the wonderful park... Water. There is a water pump on the east side of the building, next to the parking lot. I have travelled to Chaco with a minimal amount of fresh water and fill up when we arrive.

You might want to call ahead for a parking spot and inquire about the water pump availability. At times the overflow trailer gets to park in the parking lot until a space opens up... so during "high season" ... inquire. The park has several telescopes and offer overnight guests to look at planets in the clear skies. The talks are excellent by park rangers or the historians that are hired during the busier months... which I cannot recall. But it makes sense the cooler months would be the time to visit. You cannot see much in a day and expect three days to cover the more popular sites and hikes. Not as busy as Mesa Verde, but much more remote and fewer people!
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Old 01-07-2012, 08:00 PM   #22
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Chaco Canyon- Early Spring or Fall Destination 2012!

Since I am taking the AS south to Tucson, the first week of February 2012 to the Tucson Rock Show, I recalled the Chaco Canyon thread and no one has added any photographs. Well, now you have NO EXCUSE to visit an exceptional archaeological treasure after seeing what to expect for accommodations, or rather lack of them.

The first two photographs ARE the trailer pullouts. They are a bit tight and at many, you will pull the tow vehicle as far off the side of the road to park. There are no hookups, power or water at the sites. There is a tent camping area to the left and along the bluffs. The other two photographs are an idea of the ruins and one of the numerous hiking trails to more... ruins. Note: The lack of... tourists. This was the end of world for even the "Pueblo" culture, believe it or not. The excellent Park Service staff will fill you in on the details on the evening talks. The telescope viewing is also worth it.

The roads are wash boarded in long sections. Your trailer will survive, or at the worst you will find any cabinet screws that needed to be tightened, anyway. Bring some toothpicks to fit into the hole and then tighten the screw. When you return to the blacktop, I would also check out the cabinet hardware, refrigerator contents and anything else that could move during the drive. (Speaking of refrigerator contents- remove heavy items from the door racks. You will be breaking one or more of them on this road!)

One day visit... fool hardy. Two days... better. Three days... worth every moment! I would stop during the off season and avoid the hot months, mainly July and August. This is desert country. Warm days, Cool nights.

I have to admit I do have an interest in promoting Chaco. I have an interest in seeing more people visiting this out of the way marvel. Yes, I have been to Mesa Verde and many other sites in the Southwest. Chaco is special, because of its remote location.

As I mentioned in an earlier reply... I carry a minimum amount of fresh water in my tank, empty your grey and black tanks before coming to Chaco (use the well kept outdoor restroom, or the restroom at the visitor's center). There is fresh water on the northwest side of the parking lot, which is on the east side of the Park's office and museum. Tasted fine and I would resist the temptation to fill your fresh water tank before you drive to Chaco and beat the axles into the ground with the extra, unnecessary weight. The Park staff live on site, so they have the fresh water available.

Convinced? If not convinced. You cannot get lost. Just keep driving and you will enter Chaco. When you leave, you will come to blacktop highway. Enjoy and bring a bicycle to peddle around the areas where biking is permitted.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:39 PM   #23
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Were going for Thanksgiving, hope the phones do not work there!

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Old 06-08-2012, 04:22 PM   #24
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We *attempted* to camp in Chaco Canyon in 2007. At that time, the road wasn't so bad, but the campground is pretty small. We inquired at the entrance station about campsite availability, and were told there were some available sites. After hauling Bambi down the afore-mentioned road (which is slow even with OK road conditions) we found that all the sites were actually full. Obviously, no overflow camping with the NPS! We were told there was some overflow camping at a gas station some miles down the highway, but it looked really dubious, so we went on to Angel Peak, a BLM campground. It was actually fine and very scenic, if you can mentally erase the oil field on the way in. That road was about the worst we've been on, but as others have mentioned, a lot depends upon how recently the road has been graded.

Unfortunately, Angel Peak is not really close to Chaco Canyon, so we spent a lot of time each day just driving to and from the archaeological sites and trails in the park. Fortunately, Chaco Canyon is a really cool place, so I am glad we visited it.

If you like Native American ruins, we haven't camped in Hovenweep NM in southeastern Utah, but we have visited the park several times. Definitely off the beaten track! There is a small campground there (31 sites that should be long enough for all but the biggest trailers,) but NPS advises bringing your own water. According to their website, they have some, but it is rationed.

It is not so far from Mesa Verde, if you're headed that way.

In northern New Mexico, I could also recommend Bandelier NM, just outside of Los Alamos. We stayed there for several nights, and it was really pleasant. This was during tarantula season, unfortunately, but that's another story!
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Old 06-09-2012, 04:37 PM   #25
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The tarantulas are harmless. They are all males that you see walking. They dont even bite. I would always recommend staying IN chaco. Even if it takes 4 hours to drive the road. I have usually tent camped at chaco, but i think my Avion would do the trip OK (that Mor-Ryde axle it has does pretty well for 44 years old) but only if i crawled along. However i only live 1.5 hours away so its a day trip. To see chaco properly, you need at least 3 days. And one has to hike to the Supernova Petroglyph. Only in CHina, Chaco, one place in Utah and one in NEvada was it recorded. (The Catholic CHurch said the heavens were unchanging in 1064). Most people just do the quick drive by and very few hike out to it or up to Pueblo Alto. And dont forget to see Salmon Ruins and Aztec Ruins on your way by. Salmon has lots of space for trailer parking and also offers guided trips into Chaco canyon from the museum in BLoomfield. If anybody wants more info let me know and I have the numbers. The tours are guided by trained archaeologists with an appropriate vehicle.
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Old 06-10-2012, 02:04 AM   #26
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Erick, intellectually, I know the things don't bite. But any hairy spider the size of a mouse that can jump at you if you (inadvertantly) annoy it is enough to send massive prickles up my spine. Frontal lobe brain says, "They're harmless. They belong to the ecosystem of the desert." Lizard brain says, "Scream! Run now!"

Fortunately I didn't encounter any in Chaco Canyon, and we were able to put in 3 days of hiking and admiring the ruins.
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Old 06-10-2012, 05:04 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Buzzy4 View Post
We plan to boondock at the Gallo campground at Chaco Canyon in a couple of days. Everything I have read says that the 21 mile road getting there is extremely rough.

Has anyone taken their Airstream to Chaco Canyon? Was it still in one piece when you got there? I'm trying to decide if we should back out and stay somewhere else and drive the approx. 6 hours round trip.

Any quick reply would be much appreciated.

Ed
Hello,
We just returned from Chaco Canyon and while the the road was not as bad as I thought the road might be,I wouldn't take my Airstream .If you do take along your rivet gun.We drove truck only and our overall impession was,how could any religion/philosophy convince anyone to build such impressive edifices in a less than hospitable location. Would suggest you visit by vehicle and stay at Mesa Verde.Mesa Verde was everthing we hoped for. Also,compare the ruins at Aztec. Try the Tequila rest.for excellent Jalisco cuisine. Good bakery at Shilo with good restrauant. Enjhoy.
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:00 AM   #28
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Desert Rose RV Park in Bloomfield is ok. We stayed there on July 2011 and based there to go to Chaco, Bisti, Aztec, and Silverton.

Good folks at Desert Rose.
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