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Pueblo Alto Trail

Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Colorado Plateau, New Mexico

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Pueblo Alto Trail

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  • The first part of the Pueblo Alto Trail is flat and wide.- Pueblo Alto Trail
  • View of Kin Kletso from above.- Pueblo Alto Trail
  • Exiting the narrows at the top of the mesa.- Pueblo Alto Trail
  • The hike passes remnants of Chacoan roads and steps.- Pueblo Alto Trail
  • New Alto ruin.- Pueblo Alto Trail
  • View of the South Gap from the top of the mesa.- Pueblo Alto Trail
  • Pueblo Bonito overlook.- Pueblo Alto Trail
  • New Alto ruin.- Pueblo Alto Trail
  • Pueblo Alto Trail.- Pueblo Alto Trail
  • Pueblo Alto Trail.- Pueblo Alto Trail
  • View from the trail.- Pueblo Alto Trail
  • Crawling back down the narrow slot on the canyon wall.- Pueblo Alto Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Fantastic views. Fun climb.
Cons: 
Ruins are not extensive.
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Region:
Colorado Plateau, NM
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Highest point: 
6,430.00 ft (1,959.86 m)
Net Elevation Gain: 
405.00 ft (123.44 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Park entrance fee
Permit required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Fall
Total Distance: 
3.90 mi (6.28 km)
Total elevation gain: 
430.00 ft (131.06 m)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,025.00 ft (1,836.42 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Chaco Culture National Historical Park can be a big park to swallow on a day trip, but if time allows, a hike off the beaten path is really worthwhile. If there is only time for one hike beyond the obvious stops on the loop road, then the trail up to Pueblo Alto should be given strong consideration. The two small ruins at the top aren’t that impressive compared to Pueblo Bonito and some others, but the overall hike has a lot of great features.

From the parking area at Pueblo del Arroyo, at the extreme west end of the loop road, the trail to Pueblo Alto first passes by the small ruin of Kin KIetso and then climbs steeply up the canyon wall to the rim. This short stretch is fairly difficult, involving some rock hopping and navigating a narrow slot that is intimidating to some. Once at the top, the trail follows the rim with excellent views culminating with the overlook above Pueblo Bonito. Along the way the view through South Gap is stunning and really reinforces how remote Chaco Canyon really is. From the Pueblo Bonito overlook, the trail climbs north and passes remnants of a Chaco road and a set of ancient steps. Of the two small ruin sites at the top, New Pueblo is a bit more intact and interesting than Pueblo Alto.

This trail can be extended to make a 5-mile loop with a nice overlook of Chetro Ketl and more views from the canyon rim.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(7 within a 30 mile radius)

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