In Oct 2011 a new Visitors' Center was under construction at Chaco Culture National Historical Park; however, services and literature were still available in a temporary building. You must check in at the Visitors' Center when you arrive to get an entrance permit. It is hard to tell but there are two separate organizations in the Visitors' Center. The National Park Service does the fee collection and interpretations. The Western National Parks Association is a non-profit organization based in Tucson, Arizona, that runs the bookstore.
You may want to buy all five of the trailguides (Pueblo Bonito, Casa Rinconada, Petroglyph Trail, Chetro Ketl and Pueblo del Arroyo) when you are there. They are only 50-75 cents each. You may also want to get the Backcountry Trailguide for $2.00. They let you take a self-guided tour at each of these sites via the numbered posts. Although they had less information than I anticipated, they do help and are certainly reasonably priced. The trail guides may also be purchased (via an honor system and a slot for the money), or borrowed and returned at the trailheads for each of these sites. BTW, there are running water toilets available next to the Visitors' Center parking lot.
Favorite thing: When I was walking through Chetro Ketl, I saw this interestingly shaped rock that looked like a hook. I am wondering if it is possibly an undiscovered artifact. I did not bother it since you are not supposed to touch or collect any artifacts, but I think I could find it again.
Favorite thing: These are the estimated construction and occupation dates for the sites in the Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The source was the Casa Rinconada trail guide but the same chart is found in other trail guides. The dates were estimated from tree-ring dating and artifact analysis. The site that is covered by the VT title is Kin Kletso.
Favorite thing: My favorite thing about the park is probably just hiking around with the blue skies, the ruins underfoot, and the canyon walls lining the sides. It is really something to be appreciated! Plus, doing it with family makes it only better!
Favorite thing: We visited the park in the winter, with the snow on the ground. But, with the elevation of the park, anytime of the year would be great to visit. It was a little cold in winter, but not unbearable. Spring would be wonderful with the desert in bloom, and summer not that hot because of the elevation$c*
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