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Pueblo del Arroyo, NM

7 6 2
Guide 6 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Northwest
3.8 of 5 by 4
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 0.25 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,108 feet
Elevation Gain 20 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 0.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 0.35
Interest Ruins
Backpack No
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
138  2012-06-28
Chaco Culture National Historical Park Trails
7  2011-06-20 squatpuke
12  2011-06-19
Kin Bineola
40  2011-06-18
Chaco Culture National Historical Park Trails
31  2007-07-06
Pueblo Bonito
Author PaleoRob
author avatar Guides 137
Routes 111
Photos 5,253
Trips 942 map ( 2,097 miles )
Age 38 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Mar, May → Early
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:59am - 6:10pm
0 Alternative
Quick hike to an unusual Chacoan ruin
by PaleoRob

"Downtown Chaco", the area centered around Pueblo Bonito, has the highest concentration of Anasazi Great Houses in the entire Chaco Culture National Historic Park. There are many theories as to why this may be, and what significance this might have had to the ancient Chacoans. What is clear is that this concentration provides for an excellent chance for visitors to see many different Great Houses, and see variation on the generic Great House theme.

Pueblo del Arroyo, or "Town of the Wash", is one such example of modified Chacoan construction, and the trail winding through the ruin provides ample chance to see why.

Starting from the trailhead, the trail heads south towards Pueblo del Arroyo, unmistakable even after 900 years of sitting in the desert. The trail passes some buried walls to the east, and then branches as you approach the standing walls. The trail markers are numbered starting from there and moving to the right, and I will describe the trail in the same manner.

Heading towards the arroyo, around the back of Pueblo del Arroyo, one of the oddities of the building becomes obvious. While most of Chaco's Great Houses have been build with their flat wall to the south, on an east-west axis, Pueblo del Arroyo is twisted 90 degrees. Its long axis faces north-south, on the west side, while the plaza-enclosing wall is on the east, and is curved. Another odd feature of Pueblo del Arroyo, highlighted at stop 3, is the unusual tri-walled structure. Only about 10 of these structures have ever been found in the southwest, and almost all of those have been found north of the San Juan River. This may be a sign of early Mesa Verde influence on Chaco, before the likes of New Alto were built. Or it could be something else entirely, we just can't say.

The trail continues on along the west wall of the ruin, past a filled-in doorway, and rounds the corner to continue along the south side of the building. Take note at sign post 5 of the contrast between the fine Chacoan masonry, and the later, cruder, Mesa Verde-style construction. At stop 6 the trail diverges. Take the left fork up into the ruin to visit stops 7-9, and see into one of the pueblo's Great Kivas. Stop 7 has an especially interesting notation in the trail guide. Some of the best masonry work in Pueblo del Arroyo can be found near stop 7, but even this masonry isn't on par with the older Great Houses in Chaco Canyon like Bonito. Archaeologists speculate that many of the stones used in the construction of Pueblo del Arroyo were looted from settlements already in ruins across the canyon, or from dwindling mesa-top quarries. By the mid-late 1000s, resources had already started to diminish across the Chacoan world.

After viewing the largest kiva at Pueblo del Arroyo, retrace your steps to sign 6, and continue on the loop trail. The trail parallels the outer plaza wall for about 50 feet before cross into the plaza at stop 10. This is a good opportunity to contrast the excavated and restored sections of Pueblo del Arroyo to the unexcavated and unrestored plaza-enclosing wall.

The trail then closes in towards the eastern side of the main room block. Several macaw skeletons were found in this section of the ruin during excavations. The trail then enters the northern section of the main room block, passing a large cluster of excavated and unexcavated kivas near stops 13-15. Shortly after stop 15, you exit the room block and rejoin the trail heading back towards the parking area. Return to your vehicle from there.

There is no water available along the Pueblo del Arroyo trail, and very little shade. Fill your water bottles at the Visitor's Center.

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2007-12-23 PaleoRob
    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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Pueblo del Arroyo
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    QUICKLY did this interpretive hike solo while the rest of the group ate Salami & Mustard sammies (on French Bread from the Crownpoint Bashas bakery no less). We had just got off the Pueblo Alto trail and were needed a well deserved rest.

    I wished I had more time to follow along on the trail much to learn. However, the above mentioned food was calling...and I was answering....
    Pueblo del Arroyo
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    Chaco/Bisti Wilderness Experience 2011

    Chaco Culture National Historical Park Trails =>
    Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness =>

    4 Days, 3 Nights - bliss!
    313 images later (178 on Rebel XT, 135 on 7D)

    Saturday June 18, 2011
    -on the road from Mike Mattes' Chandler residence @ 7am
    -Phoenix to Payson to Heber to Holbrook to Thoreau to Crown Point to Chaco via south entrance
    -somehow arrive at Gallo Campground first, get sites 48 and 49 in the "tents-only" alcove. Campground less than half full at 2:30pm on Saturday afternoon. Estimate about 80% full come the end of the day.
    -Trish (aka Trishness) and Tracy (aka Paintninaz) arrive and get site 40 since only 2 tents per site are allowed...
    -Larry the Lost (aka squatpuke) arrives with daughter Rebecca (aka ???)
    -time for our first trek, Chaco Canyon Overlook Trail that starts at the Gallo Campground entrance =>
    -whip up BBQ chicken drumsticks with corn-on-the-cob and S'mores to feed the masses. Rebecca wins the best comment; "Hey Dad, this is way better than some granola bars for dinner".
    -Rob (aka PageRob) arrives at sundown
    -too many choice beers to be "slumming it" with a Caguama
    -Camp fire discussion eventually (inevitably?) gets around to "MAN CORN" => viewtopic.php?t=5356

    Sunday June 19, 2011
    -Chef Mike starts the day with our traditional Prickly Pear Vodka & Orange Juice before cooking the bacon and eggs over-easy.
    -7 HAZ'ers pile into Rob's Explorer and Mike's Jeep for backcountry ride to our first Chacoan Outlier, Kin Klizhin =>
    -carry on through the backcountry to the "sand trap" area => that became a turnaround point for us last year.
    -"sand trap", "smand trap"! No problem for Mike's 4WD Jeep and Rob's 4WD Explorer as we push through to Lake Valley Chapter House and up NM371 to CR7297 (turn off near mile marker 70 on NM371) and the Bisti Wilderness trail head
    -I'm very surprised to see multiple vehicles at the TH. This is my 3rd trek into the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness and the first time I've ever seen another human!
    -equipped with some Bisti tips from Letty and Laurent Martres' handbook "Photographing the Southwest", we start to walk up the South Hunter Wash noting the barbed wire fence on the north side
    -when the barbed wire fence bends 90 degrees to the north, we angle ourselves in a northeast direction towards some fanciful coloured formations and into an area noted as "Stone Wings" on the Bisti Wilderness map
    -we eventually make our way into the North Hunter Wash before finding a promising looking canyon with some shady walls to sit and have a lunch snack
    -we continue our lasso loop back to the 90 degree bend in the barbed wire fence
    -noting the crew is looking a little "spent", the "Cracked Eggs" area recommended by Letty will have to wait for a future adventure
    -we head south along NM371 and the turnoff for Lake Valley Chapter House.
    -a couple of miles south lies the turnoff for Kin Bineola =>
    -by far my favorite Chacoan Greathouse Ruin and Chacoan Outlier!
    -exploration of 3 southerly middens yields 6 inch pottery sherds and multiple handles
    -a green collared lizard amuses us as it tries to protect it's midden territory
    -after thorough exploration, on to Crown Point to pick up some ice and supplies
    -back in cell phone coverage, some "Happy Father's Day" texts trickle in
    -take advantage of the coverage to give my Dad a call
    -a little south and east of Crown Point lies Kin Ya'a =>
    -this is a lesser appreciated outlier, but still worthy of exploration for it's ample middens and Chacoan roads
    -evening menu featuring BBQ steak, mushrooms, onions, sweet gherkin pickles, French bread, and our camp fire standby dessert, S'mores!
    -wind kicks up even more followed by a rain storm forcing us to retreat to our tents (or vehicles for some) to call it a night.

    Monday June 20, 2011
    -Chef Mike starts the day again with our traditional Prickly Pear Vodka & Orange Juice before cooking up his famous chocolate chip pancakes.
    -Trish and Tracy plan to trek the Penasco Blanco Trail to see the "Supernova" Pictograph =>
    -for the remaining HAZ 5, our goal is the last remaining unexplored park trail, Pueblo Alto Loop =>
    -through "the crack" and onto the mesa overlooks of Kin Kletso, Pueblo Bonito, and Chetro Ketl
    -next up is the Jackson Staircase and the Chacoan Road that heads toward Escavada Wash => ... -roads.htm
    -Pueblo Alto and New Alto ruins explored
    -back at the TH, the first Cag's are consumed (remember that taste is proportional to thirst and we were VERY thirsty)
    -mandatory exploration of "downtown Chaco"
    -Pueblo del Arroyo =>
    -Pueblo Bonito =>
    -Petroglyph Trail =>
    -Chetro Ketl =>
    -interesting reverse drive by Rob to collect Larry, Rebecca, and Mike at the Pueblo Bonito parking lot
    -back to the Gallo Campground for some R&R before tackling Wijiji Trail at sunset
    -explore the Gallo Campground vandalized petroglyph panels =>
    -evening Ranger Program with Park Rangers Joe Fleming and G.B. Cornicopia
    -the Gallo Campground is filled, but the Park Rangers indicate that they are not turning anybody away
    -I notice about 5 tents populating the area around the Campground Host Site
    -evening meal featuring Rob's burritos and appetizers by Trish and Tracy

    Tuesday June 21, 2011
    -Solstice Day in Chaco
    -Trish wakes me up ~4am (yikes!)
    -Waiting at the Gallo Campground Host Site for shuttle van pick-up 4:45am (yikes again!)
    -Arrive at Casa Rinconada about 5:15am =>
    -We wait for the Laguna Pueblo tribe members to finish morning prayers at the Casa Rinconada before the masses are permitted to trek up to the site
    -I'm stunned by the "cluelessness" of many of the visitors as they feel compelled to walk in front of the solstice alignment window and interupt the image being photographed and videoed by others
    -I'll estimate the solstice observers to be about 3x the previous years' number
    -a little "glitch" waiting for the promised shuttles back to Gallo Campground
    -once back at the camp, Chef Mike has jumbo breakfast sausages and waffles ready for consumption
    -break camp, say our good-byes and we hit the road
    -side trip to El Morro =>

    Photos to be posted when I get a chance...
    Pueblo del Arroyo
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    Chaco Canyon - New Mexico

    This was a pilgrimage of sorts to the acknowledged center of Southwestern Puebloan society. I can't really explain my general fascination with ruins, but the enigmatic mystery certainly is a major component. There's probably no better place to further fuel this fascination than Chaco Culture National Historic Park.

    Lynn, Tobyn, and I decided to spend an extended July 4th weekend in New Mexico leaving Sarah at home to look after the dogs (besides, she also had to work). The plan was to make base camp at the Holiday Inn in Farmington NM and get an early morning start (ie. 5:00 am) each day. This ensured our accommodations since camping at the Gallo Campground within Chaco Canyon is severely limited.

    Waking up before sunrise (New Mexico is on daylight savings time) we headed 11 miles east along Hwy 64 to Bloomfield NM and the junction with Hwy 550. Interesting that we passed the Salmon Ruins site (see ) and Aztec Ruins site (see ) on route to Chaco Canyon. Take Hwy 550 south from Bloomfield 39 miles to CR7900. Continue south along this paved county road for about 5 miles until you reach the signed junction with CR7950. Heading in a westerly direction, turn onto CR7950. This county road is paved for the first couple of miles, but soon turns into a bone-jarring, rutted, dirt path that may be impassible in wet weather. Traveling about 15 miles along CR7950, you cross the boundary into the Chaco Culture National Historic Park. We covered the 70 miles to Chaco from our Farmington NM hotel in about 1 1/2 hours.

    The roads within the Historic Park are paved! Fajada Butte (famous for its' Sun Dagger Site) appears on the horizon within the canyon. We made our way to the visitor center. Although the park is open daily from sunrise to sunset, the visitor center hours are only 8 am to 5 pm. With the time now only 7:00 am, we decided to check some of the close-by ruins, Una Vida and Hungo Pavi.

    Having our annual NPS pass, we decided to display this on the dashboard and move on to the truly massive and mysterious Pueblo Bonito and Chetro Ketl ruins. The 0.25 mile long Petroglyph Trail connects the two Chacoan "great houses". The site is beyond words, so I won't even make an attempt to describe it here.

    Having completed a couple of hours at the two "great houses", we headed to the next "MUST DO" trail, the Pueblo Alto backcountry trail that includes overlooks of Kin Kletso, Pueblo Bonito, and Chetro Ketl. A 200 ft scramble up a "crack-in-rock" trail is required to get to the lookout vistas. Tobyn and Lynn hung back as I made the way along the ledge top trail.

    We moved on to the Penasco Blanco backcountry trail. We decided to stop at the initial petroglyph panels just beyond Casa Chiquita. The Casa Chiquita site is unexcavated, allowing one to ponder how the ruins looked 100 years ago before any restoration work was initiated.

    Having completed the 2 backcountry trails, it was time to have a snack and beverage back at the air-conditioned truck. While Lynn and Tobyn relaxed, I sprinted around the Pueblo del Arroyo site.

    We then moved on to the Casa Rinconada Community that includes the largest known kiva in Chaco Canyon. It was a strange coincidence that we ran into Mike & Sandy Mattes at this site. I knew Mike was off to visit Zion, Bryce and Mesa Verde this week. It turned out that Chaco was a spur of the moment decision since it was (sort of) on the way back to Phoenix from Mesa Verde. After completing the loop trail, we decided to head back to the Visitor Center.

    The Visitor Center is rated highly by me containing a wonderful selection of artifacts uncovered during many of the archaeological digs. The collection of "evidence bags" made a compelling statement about the stupidity of many of the "Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979" violators.

    Trail Summary:

    1. Una Vida & Petroglyph Loop Trail is 1.0 miles long. My rating = 2, FAIR
    2. Hungo Pavi Loop Trail is 0.25 miles long. My rating = 4, ABOVE AVERAGE
    3. Chetro Ketl Loop Trail is 0.5 miles long. My rating = 5, OUTSTANDING
    4. Chetro Ketl to Pueblo Bonito Petroglyph Trail is 0.25 miles long. My rating = 3, SOLID CONTENDER
    Reference ... -trail.htm
    5. Pueblo Bonito Loop Trail is 0.5 miles long. My rating = 5, OUTSTANDING
    6. Pueblo del Arroyo Loop Trail is 0.25 miles long. My rating = 3, SOLID CONTENDER
    Reference ... arroyo.htm
    7. Casa Rinconada Community Loop Trail is 0.5 miles long. My rating = 3, SOLID CONTENDER
    Reference ... conada.htm
    8. Chacoan Staircase Lookout is 0.1 miles long. My rating = 2, FAIR

    Backcountry Trail Summary:
    NOTE: Hiking permits are required for these trails. They are free and available at the Trail Head and Visitor Center. Trails are open sunrise to sunset.
    1a. Pueblo Alto Loop Trail is 5.1 miles long. My rating = 5, OUTSTANDING
    1b. Pueblo Bonito Overlook is 2.0 miles long roundtrip. My rating = 5, OUTSTANDING
    1c. Kin Kletso Trail is 0.5 miles long roundtrip. My rating = 4, ABOVE AVERAGE
    2a. Penasco Blanco Trail is 7.2 miles long roundtrip. My rating = TBD
    2b. Casa Chiquita & Petroglyph Trail is 4.0 miles long roundtrip. My rating = 4, ABOVE AVERAGE
    3a. South Mesa Loop Trail is 3.6 miles long. My rating = TBD
    3b. Tsin Kletzin is 2.6 miles long roundtrip. My rating = TBD
    4. Wijiji Trail is 3.0 miles long roundtrip. My rating = 3, SOLID CONTENDER

    See links for more info: for background cultural history ... 4#e_144965 for historical photographs (4-pages)

    Talking with one of the Rangers, late September and October are considered the "best times" to visit. The area has finished with Monsoon rains and heat and its fall season before the winter snows. Maybe consider a return visit to eliminate any "TBD's" from the trail ratings. I also hear the backcountry trails and the pottery sherd dump at Angel Peak Badlands at the end of the 30 mile Chacoan Road north from Pueblo Alto calling me. I'll also have to include the Salmon Ruins and Aztec Ruins sites...

    Permit $$

    Chaco Canyon HP National Park
    $8 per vehicle good for 7 days Entrance Fee

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Grants, NM, drive north on NM Route 605 until reaching NM Route 509. Turn left onto NM Route 509. Follow Route 509 north until reaching Navajo Route 9. Turn left onto Navajo Route 9. Proceed on Route 9 until reaching NM Route 57. All of these turns are marked with signs for Chaco Culture National Historic Park.

    WARNING! NM Route 57 is a very poor road, with bad washboards, washouts, and chug-holes when it is dry. It is impassable to anything by 4x4 vehicles when wet, and sometimes even not then. Travel at your own risk. Passenger cars can and do make the drive regularly when the weather is good, but be prepared to turn around or get stuck if you attempt to drive to the park in wet weather.

    Once Route 57 reaches the park boundary, it becomes paved. Proceed to the visitor center and pay the fee. Then drive along the Chaco Canyon loop road. Before the road crosses Chaco Wash, past Pueblo Bonito, there is a turn off for Pueblo del Arroyo. Turn and park your vehicle there.
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