These expansive ruins built in the desert between AD850-1150 represent the best collection of Ancestral Puebloan architecture in the southwest U.S. Over 400 miles of historic roads led to this ceremonial center. Its multiple great houses were first protected in 1907 and can take days to explore fully.
Pueblo Bonito, Chetro Ketl, petroglyphs, supernova pictograph
Walking through the short doorways inside D-shaped Pueblo Bonito, you can admire the intricacy of the walls that have stood over 1,000 years. So much effort was put into building monumental structures in this challenging locale, then it was mysteriously abandoned, making this remarkable park is an awesome place to ponder human civilization, past and future.
A free backcountry permit is required to hike all trails in the park. Our favorite passes Kin Kletso and Casa Chiquita 3 miles one-way to a unique pictograph that may depict a supernova that occurred in AD1054.
While mostly made of mud bricks, the wood used in the structures had to be carried over 50 miles from the nearest forests to reach this spot. An estimated 200,000 trees were moved over 300 years of construction without the use of pack animals or wheels.
Summer, though it can be hot with no shade.
$25 per vehicle or America The Beautiful pass
All access roads to the park are dirt, with the recommended entry route via County Roads 7900 and 7950, 21 miles west of Highway 550. The roads from the south are more difficult, especially when wet.
The small Gallo Campground lies within the park, but we recommend the free campground in Angel Peak Recreation Area run by the Bureau of Land Management east of Highway 550.
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