I recently had the opportunity to go on an excursion in Northern New Mexico to the Chaco Culture National Historical Park. My brother, Barrett, and his family were visiting from Colorado and invited me along to see it with them.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park is about four hours away from Taos by car. The majority of the route between Taos and the park consisted of two-laned rural roads, which offered beautiful views of mesas and lakes near Abiquiu.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has the largest and most intricate set of ancient dwellings in the American Southwest. The Chaco people, who were the ancestors of the Hopi and Pueblo people, built fifteen complexes between 900 and 1150. I learned that these buildings were built in alignment with solar cycles and they were were the tallest in the United States until the 1800s.
The largest of the complexes at the historical site is called Pueblo Bonito, which spans nearly two acres.
There are several kivas built into the complexes, which were used for religious rituals.
Petroglyphs are etched into the canyon walls.
My exposure to the Chaco Culture National Historical Park enlightened me to another facet of the enchantment of New Mexico.