Chaco Canyon

Did you know that United States has ruins that are over 1,000 years old? Yeah, neither did I. Turns out that in the middle of the New Mexico desert there are several sites with ancient ruins. We’ve seen thousand year old ruins in other countries, so we were intrigued by the thought of seeing them in the U.S.

The Chaco Culture National Historic Park is home to the largest group of ruins left from the Ancient Pueblo People. Chaco Canyon has remains of several stone complexes built between 850 and 1200 A.D. Some of the structures have been restored and others have been left in their natural state. It’s really impressive to get a glimpse of a structure at the peak of its grandeur and what it looked like when it was rediscovered.

chaco1

In addition to the structures the canyon sides are also covered in petroglyphs and there is even a pictograph that is believed to depict a supernova that took place in 1054.

pictogram

petroglyph2

The park has a small but gorgeous campground and makes for a great day or two’s visit. You can hike to complexes at the far side of the canyon and the rangers give a pretty good free guided tour of the main complex.

As we’ve been driving across the country we’ve been struck by the history that does exist here given the youth of our country compared to other countries in the world. It’s easy to romanticize about culture and history of other countries, but scratching just below the surface enables you to see that we sometimes take our own culture for granted.

We can’t wait to see what else the U.S. has to offer as we continue our road trip. If you have any recommendations for places that took your breath away share them in the comments below.

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