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Penasco Blanco Trail - 6 members in 7 triplogs have rated this an average 3.8 ( 1 to 5 best )
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May 20 2018

 Guides 9
 Routes 395
 Photos 5,163
 Triplogs 3,582

64 female
 Joined Nov 17 2008
 phoenix, az
Penasco Blanco TrailNorthwest, NM
Northwest, NM
Hiking avatar May 20 2018
trekkin_geckoTriplogs 3,582
Hiking7.49 Miles 487 AEG
Hiking7.49 Miles   3 Hrs   34 Mns   2.28 mph
487 ft AEG      17 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
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john mentioned a visit to chaco canyon a few weeks ago
i'd never heard of it but sounded like there would be a lot to see
got to the visitor center around 1015 or so, driving from petrified forest
decided on doing the longest "backcountry" hike first, setting out around 1100
the trail starts down an old road, passing by kin kletso ruin
then a sandy singletrack leads to casa chiquita
we checked both of those out and soon came to the petroglyph trail, which parallels the main trail
lots of interesting stuff to see along here and fun to spot the glyphs
another mile of flat led to chaco wash, which we crossed and headed up to the famed supernova pictograph
an interesting ascent to the top of a mesa where penasco pueblo is located
explored this great house and took plenty of photos, which convey the scale of these ruins better than words
retraced our steps, but taking a more direct route across the wash
nice hike to a cool destination with plenty to see along the way

4 archives
May 20 2018

 Guides 1
 Routes 12
 Photos 5,311
 Triplogs 4,325

65 male
 Joined Mar 16 2008
Penasco Blanco TrailNorthwest, NM
Northwest, NM
Hiking avatar May 20 2018
johnlpTriplogs 4,325
Hiking7.49 Miles 487 AEG
Hiking7.49 Miles   3 Hrs   34 Mns   2.28 mph
487 ft AEG      17 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
Longest hike in Chaco Canyon. Lots to see on the way to the Penasco Blanco ruins. Warm day but still very enjoyable.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
“Good people drink good beer.” Hunter S Thompson
Mar 08 2016

 Guides 4
 Routes 194
 Photos 7,962
 Triplogs 451

69 male
 Joined Apr 06 2005
 Phoenix, AZ
Spring Break 2016, AZ 
Spring Break 2016, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 08 2016
HansenazTriplogs 451
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
I had one day to come up with a plan and sell it to my wife who was on break this week.

We drove up to Petrified Forest National Park and walked a loop over some of the Flattops. The route was inspired by an old (but typically elegant) post by Belladonna Took. We saw a few petroglyphs and on one of the mesa tops we saw plenty of evidence of habitation (metates and pottery pieces). No ruins though...I guess pit houses don't have stone walls and maybe the archaeologists cleaned up after their excavations. Nice walking out there, great time of year too (cool and uncrowded). We spent the night in Gallup.
[ photoset ]

Next day was Chaco Canyon. We'd not been there before and I tried to assimilate as much of the detailed info on HAZ and elsewhere in making the plan. Best I could come up with was start at outlier ruin Kin Bineola then head to "downtown" Chaco. Navigating the roads is every bit as hard as the reports say. We traveled with little confidence and were surprised when we saw the Kin Bineola sign. Unfortunately the sign said "closed". The road was washed out and Chaco Rangers later told us a dam broke two years ago and it's not clear if or when Kin Bineola will reopen.

We looped north through Nageezi and arrived at Chaco Canyon National Historical Park about 3.5hrs after leaving Gallup....slow start. Nice visitor center and we decided to use our time by walking the Penasco Blanco Trail which passes the famous super nova pictograph and reaches an "unrestored" ruin on a mesa above Chaco Canyon. It also parallels (~200' apart) the Petroglyph Trail which is an offshoot nearer the rock wall; so we walked that trail on the way up and looked at a lot of petroglyphs. Unfortunately the soft rock also has a lot of modern vandalism.
The ruin was great, no one there!, and nice temperatures. The trail is a little bit sandy. Spent the night in Farmington.
[ photoset ]
[ gps route ]

Next day we headed down to the "Bisti Badlands". Again HAZ info and a conversation with Tibber helped cement this plan. There are no trails but it seems everyone loads the same waypoints so you can see tracks most of the way. We really enjoyed this place. Not so different from Petrified Forest country but a bit more spectacular. Very nice walking on hard flat ground. We saw only 3 other people out there. Headed home in time for dinner with our daughter.
[ photoset ]
[ gps route ]
1 archive
May 24 2014

 Routes 34
 Photos 149
 Triplogs 131

37 male
 Joined May 04 2012
 Denver, CO
Penasco Blanco TrailNorthwest, NM
Northwest, NM
Hiking avatar May 24 2014
DennyforrealTriplogs 131
Hiking5.80 Miles 200 AEG
Hiking5.80 Miles   1 Hour   55 Mns   4.09 mph
200 ft AEG      30 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Jun 20 2011

 Guides 14
 Photos 720
 Triplogs 187

63 female
 Joined May 21 2003
 Apache Junction,
Penasco Blanco TrailNorthwest, NM
Northwest, NM
Hiking avatar Jun 20 2011
TrishnessTriplogs 187
Hiking7.20 Miles 200 AEG
Hiking7.20 Miles   3 Hrs   30 Mns   2.06 mph
200 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
Awesome hike through Chaco canyon, pretty much flat along Chaco Wash with all the elevation gain to the mesa and ruins. No shade that we could find so July or August could be brutal. We did a side trip to the petroglyphs which were really great. The Super Nova panel was tops on my list...perfectly preserved with the exception of the canyon swallow nests under the alcove.

I loved Penasco Blanco. The ruins are "as they are" and not extensively excavated or recreated. There is a simple peace as I wandered through this site...that's the best way I can describe the vibes.

The views are outstanding.

Loved it!

"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds" Ed Abbey
Jun 18 2011

 Guides 71
 Routes 98
 Photos 9,967
 Triplogs 1,009

62 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Chaco Culture National Historical Park TrailsNorthwest, NM
Northwest, NM
Hiking avatar Jun 18 2011
Randal_SchulhauserTriplogs 1,009
Hiking10.00 Miles
Hiking10.00 Miles
 no routes
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...
Jun 22 2008

 Guides 172
 Routes 229
 Photos 6,096
 Triplogs 1,128

41 male
 Joined Apr 03 2006
 Pocatello, ID
Penasco Blanco TrailNorthwest, NM
Northwest, NM
Hiking avatar Jun 22 2008
PaleoRobTriplogs 1,128
Hiking7.20 Miles 200 AEG
Hiking7.20 Miles   5 Hrs      1.44 mph
200 ft AEG
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Long hot hike, but gorgeous, especially when the clouds started coming in, casting some shadows across the canyon. Some serious winds were blowing in Escavada Wash, kicking up some salty sand, but in Chaco Canyon the wind was mild. The pictograph was really amazing, and the ruins them self were really neat too. Drank lots and lots of water - it was hot! Got back to camp just a bit before sunset, and we were pretty tired, after hiking part of the Alto loop, Casa Rinconada, and finally Penasco Blanco in one day. After completing this trail, though, there is only one backcountry trail in the park I haven't done; the South Mesa Trail. I guess it'll be on top of the list for next time!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
"The only thing we did was wrong was staying in the wilderness to long...the only thing we did was right was the day we started to fight..."
-Old Spiritual
My book, The Marauders on Lulu and Amazon
average hiking speed 2.01 mph

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.


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