You are here

Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
430.00 ft (131.06 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
3.90 mi (6.28 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Park entrance fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Fantastic views. Fun climb.

Cons

Ruins are not extensive.

Trailhead Elevation

6,025.00 ft (1,836.42 m)

Highest point

6,430.00 ft (1,959.86 m)

Net Elevation Gain

405.00 ft (123.44 m)

Features

Vault toilet
Historically significant
Geologically significant
Native artifacts
Big vistas
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Comments

Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.