Easy hike to isolated Great House.
Chaco Canyon is an amazing showcase of prehistoric Native American culture. While most people who come to Chaco visit mainly the Bonito-phase Great Houses like Pueblo Bonito and Chetro Ketl, other Great Houses lay outside the main park drive. One such is Wijiji Pueblo, a short hike up Chaco Canyon from the park road or the campground. Wijiji is the smallest Great House within Chaco Canyon, and also the furthest east within the Park. It shows an unusual later style of construction, still with core-and-veneer construction, but without the haphazard building style of Bonito or Pueblo del Arroyo. From the trailhead, the trail heads south until reaching the bottom of Chaco Wash. The hike is essentially flat along the bottom of Chaco Wash, and the trail, while sandy, is well maintained for a service road as well as a hiking trail.
Once you round the corner about 1/4 mile after the trail head and begin heading east, the trail is both flat and straight. Bring binoculars, as petroglyphs are present on the cliff walls to the north of the trail. It is also very important to bring lots of water, as this hike provides no chance for shade until reaching Wijiji Pueblo itself, and no water at all. Fill up at the Visitor's Center. The name Wijiji is of unknown origin, and lays near the north canyon wall. Being composed of the same material as the cliffs behind it, it blends in until you are almost upon it.
Wijiji differs from other Chacoan Great Houses not just in its single-phase of construction, but in other factors too. There are no Great Kivas at Wijiji. The plaza is open as well, whereas other Great Houses generally have closed plazas. Wijiji was also the last major Chacoan Great House in Chaco Canyon to be completed before the Chaco system collapsed sometime after 1100 AD.
After walking around the ruins of Wijiji and enjoying the silence, return to the trailhead the same way you came.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.