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Our stay at Chaco Canyon National Historical Park was one of the highlights of our trip & we really wished to have camped there a few more nights.  That being said, Chaco Canyon may not be a highlight for everyone.  There are RV blogs which make every place sound like paradise & which never note the downside of anything.  For us, going to Chaco did not have much of a downside, however, there are some parts of visiting there that might not constitute a good time to others.

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First of all, the road back to the Canyon.  The above picture shows the paved part of the road once you get into the Park.  This is after about 20 miles of a road which starts out paved, turns to gravel-and-dirt, then to dirt-and-potholes before ending up paved.  

We came to Chaco by the northern road & it had been graded six weeks prior to our visit.  A look at pixs around the web, however, shows that the road can get pretty bad &, if there has been recent rain, the Rangers say it’s impassable.  (In case you’re wondering how the Park Rangers manage, they have on-site housing.) Even with the road being recently graded, we still kept it under 10 mph (or less) on the dirt part.  No question, it’s a bit of a shake-down cruise & a dustbath.

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Second, once you make it back to the campground, be prepared for a primitive campsite.  As you can see, we had a great site, however, sites are not overly long altho’ nicely spaced.  There is no electric, water, or sewer on-site, just parking, a tent pad & fire ring. The CG has a lavatory with an outside sink for dishes but no showers.  

For us, after years of wanting to boondock, this was our first time dry camping & we enjoyed it.  Or, let’s say, we didn’t notice much difference between dry camping & our normal mode of camping.  We did have a solar panel to keep our battery topped off &, before the trip, replaced the Jayco’s incandescent bulbs with LEDs to conserve energy.  Temps were on the cool side at night, in the 40s, but the pop-up had a propane furnace so we stayed warm.  Even Mom who had never camped before enjoyed it but then again, she’s pretty flexible.  Not everyone wants to rough it!

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Third, what Chaco Canyon National Park is about is the ruins of an ancient culture.  The logs in the wall in the above pix are over 1000 years old & come from as far away as 70 miles.  We find that amazing & fascinating… but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea!  I can see how someone who is not into Southwest antiquities could come to Chaco & say “What’s the big deal?!”  Given what it takes to get to there, some may be happier visiting a more accessible National Park like Mesa Verde.  Or even just looking at pixs on a blog.

Add to this that, given where it is, Chaco Canyon is not exactly cell phone & Wifi-accessible.  Those who are addicted to their technology, especially the younger set, may not be happy about spending a few days cut off from the known world. 🙂

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All things considered though, we loved Chaco Canyon & would go there again in an instant especially when spending the evenings enjoying the quiet beauty of a Southwest sunset.

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