Chaco Culture NHP--Pueblo Bonito

About this Location

Located 4.5 miles from the Visitor Center on the 9-mile Canyon Loop Drive. This is the most important site in the canyon and a must for all visitors. The trail through Pueblo Bonito is 0.6 miles, roundtrip. It is graveled and climbs several short, steep rises. During your visit, you can use the trail guide to recognize several unique characteristics of Chacoan great house architecture and learn about the enduring legacy of Chacoan culture.

Pueblo Bonito is the most thoroughly investigated and celebrated cultural site in Chaco Canyon. Planned and constructed in stages between AD 850 to AD 1150 by ancestral Puebloan peoples, this was the center of the Chacoan world. That world eventually covered a vast area of the present-day Southwest, including the San Juan Basin of New Mexico, and portions of Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. For over 300 years, Chacoan Culture united many diverse peoples within its sphere of influence.

Trail guides are available for purchase at the Visitor Center bookstore.

Bring water and carry protection from the sun.

About Chaco Culture National Historical Park

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Today the massive buildings of the Ancestral Puebloan people still testify to the organizational and engineering abilities not seen anywhere else in the American Southwest. For deeper contact with the canyon that was central to thousands of people between 850 and 1250 A.D., come and explore Chaco through guided tours, hiking & biking trails, evening campfire talks, and night sky programs.

In addition to its spectacular archaeological resources, the park is naturally significant as one of the few protected areas in the San Juan Basin. It is an island of biodiversity, home to plants and wildlife that have been significantly affected by grazing, mineral extraction, and other land-use activities in the surrounding area.

The fauna found here includes elk, deer, bobcats, rabbits, badgers, porcupines, bats, snakes, lizards and other amphibians, and diverse bird populations. A number of ecosystems comprise the canyon vegetation, including pinyon-juniper woodlands, riparian with cottonwood and willow, and other numerous scrub and wildflower communities.

Content from Chaco Culture National Historical Park Official Website