Least visited of the
Hungo Pavi, a Chacoan Great House in Chaco Culture National Historic Park, is probably the least visited of the major Great House ruins along the loop road. It isn't as big as Bonito or Chettro Ketl, nor does it have the enormous great kiva like Casa Rinconada. It isn't located right next to the visitor center like Una Vida. But if it is these factors that have caused Hungo Pavi to be overlooked by the majority of visitors, that fact also allows the opportunity for having solitude at one of these enormous Great Houses without a long backcountry hike.
The trail starts at the parking area. I recommend picking up a trail guide at the parking area before continuing along the hike. It will provide lots of interesting information as you explore the ruin.
From the trailhead, the path makes its way north. You can branch east across the plaza or continue to the back wall of the pueblo. As I hiked this by heading for the back wall, I will describe it as such.
The back wall of Hungo Pavi is the best preserved portion of the ruin, and showcases some excellent Chacoan masonry. These walls were carefully built, and the pueblo itself was sort of a master planned community, with certain parts going up as cohesive units. In areas where there were going to be second and third stories, this meant that the builders had to plan for the walls to be wide at the base and taper as they rose to distribute the weight of the overlaying floors.
The back section of the pueblo, which is only a few degrees out of true east-west, is 312 feet long. While this pueblo may not be as large as Bonito or Chettro Ketl, but it is only small by the standards of Chaco. Most of the outlier Chacoan sites are not even as big as these "medium" sized Great Houses. And a pueblo like Hungo Pavi positively dwarfs almost every other Anasazi village and settlement from this time period outside of Chaco Canyon.
Hungo Pavi was built at the mouth of Mockingbird Canyon, which empties into Chaco Canyon from the north. This pueblo was likely very important to the local community as it probably served as a regulator for captured runoff coming out Mockingbird Canyon. There was a prehistoric field system at the mouth of Mockingbird Canyon, fed by a series of checkdams and crude canals. No doubt the Hungo Pavians were in charge of this setup.
Hungo Pavi, like several sites across Chaco Canyon, has an unusual name. Hungo Pavi sounds like a pueblo name or words, but in fact it is meaningless as far as modern scientists can figure. It may have been meant as a tribute to the Hopi village with the similar-sounding name of Shungopavi, but this is uncertain.
Continuing around the NE corner of the pueblo, and looking out to the wash in Mockingbird Canyon, you may be able to glimpse the remains of one of the Anasazi checkdams.
The northeast corner has the most complete roomblocks, so be sure while you are in this area, to admire the fine stonework. You can really get a good idea from this section of what the general layout and feel of the pueblo was. Continue down the east wall until the standing walls end, and small trail heads west across the plaza. Follow this trail across the plaza back to the west side of the pueblo and the parking area.
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.