If you're making a visit to Chaco Culture National Historical Park this summer and your plans include camping, be sure to do some homework in advance. The campground in the park is currently closed for emergency repairs—and don't count on your trusty GPS unit to find a backup site!
Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico includes a treasure trove for those interested in archeology and some outstanding desert scenery, but this is one of those off-the-beaten-path sites that require some advance planning for a visit. Until further notice, that planning needs to include an alternative to the campground in the park.
According to information from the park,
Chaco Culture National Historical Park has suspended all camping due to emergency repairs at the Gallo Campground to replace the septic system. Construction began on June 15, 2009, and is expected to continue throughout the summer until project completion. Visitors will need to make alternative arrangements for their Chaco visit and find another camping option.
The park will continue to provide to updates on this closure, the expected project completion date, and the campground re-opening. Visit the park web site, or call the park for updated information (505-786-7014 ext. 221). The park regrets this inconvenience.
The park staff has tried to make the search for alternative camping locations as easy as possible by compiling a list of options in the area for campers, and [url=http://www.nps.gov/chcu/parknews/campground-closure-for-emergency.htm]po... it on the park website.
With proper preparation, Chaco is worth a visit, but this is definitely one of those parks where you want to avoid arriving just as darkness falls with plans to camp—and nowhere to pitch your tent!
The park website also includes excellent driving directions to the area, and a caution for high-tech travelers:
Warning: Numerous visitors have reported that GPS devices are not accurate in the Chaco area. Please use our written directions below to avoid getting lost.
You'll find those driving directions posted here.
One of Chaco's prime attractions is the outstanding opportunity to enjoy the night sky. Even so, I'd suggest that the majority of modern travelers avoid counting on navigation by the stars when their GPS unit leads them astray. Do everyone a favor, print the driving directions from the park website before your visit, and call the park (505-786-7014) for current road conditions before your trip.