canyon De Chelly or Chaco

Old Mar 16th, 2014, 04:23 PM
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canyon De Chelly or Chaco

I think we will only have enough time to visit either Canyon de Chelly or Chaco on this trip. I have not done any research yet. If you only had time for one, which might it be. thanks you for your input.
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Old Mar 16th, 2014, 04:57 PM
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I can't advise on Chaco, but Canyon de Chelly a wonderful place. The first time we tried to do it on our own and the second time we booked a jeep tour with a Navajo guide, and that is the way to go. The Holiday Inn is the best place to stay in the area, and tour guides are booked from the hotel's gift shop.

HTtY
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Old Mar 16th, 2014, 05:28 PM
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Chaco is an other worldly experience. I did not like Canyon de chelly because you can't walk into the dwellings. I also am not so much of a tour person. Chaco gives you the chance to walk through these amazing structures and think of what was there. As someone who is extremely interested in the Ancestral Puebloans, Chaco is the place to be.
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Old Mar 16th, 2014, 06:03 PM
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I have not been to Canyon de Chelly but have been to Chaco:

https://plus.google.com/photos/10311...537?banner=pwa

I loved being able to wonder around.
Other things here; but some info on Chaco.

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...e-in-a-day.cfm

Hubby lived near CdC for 2 years. You can walk to White House ruins canyon. There are still farmers there; it is live community. He said he would pick CdC.
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Old Mar 16th, 2014, 07:38 PM
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I loved Canyon de Chelly. I went because utahtea convinced me I need to go see it. I'm so glad I followed her advice (again). I recommend that you get a private Navajo guide - rather than going on the "shake and bake" open air truck from the park. We were staying at the Best Western in town and the front desk clerk helped us book a private tour. Highly recommend.
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Old Mar 16th, 2014, 07:56 PM
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They are very different experiences.

Most of Canyon de Chelley has to be done with a Navajo guide. You can drive around the top of the canyon and stop at view points and hike down to one ruin on your own. If you decide to go there do not take the "shake and bake" tour, hire a guide, either in their vehicle or in your 4wd. The quality of the experience will depend on your guide, but most people have had a very nice tour. People still live and tend crops and animals in the canyon, although for many this is mostly in the warmer months. There is plenty of lodging in the town of Chinle, right at the top of the canyon.


Chaco depends more on your work in learning about the ancient cultures and understanding what it is you are seeing. It is one of the central places that "all roads lead to", and very important in the history of the area. There are more ruins in Chaco and you can get up close and personal to them. Interesting petroglyphs, etc Unless you are camping, the nearest lodging is in the town of Bloomfield about a half hour north of the road that takes you in.

CdC is really a couple of joined canyons with a river running through it. You are down in it sort of like down in Zion. Chaco is much more out in the open. The road into Chaco is not passible if there has been rain. The first few miles are paved then for 10 or 15 miles it becomes a gravel road it is fine if it has been recently graded, although once we went and it was very rough, with low spots that you would not want to cross if water were flowing much.


Both are worth visiting.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 09:51 AM
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Wow, this is really helpful. We're in the process of putting together a driving itinerary from Albuquerque west to Grand Canyon, possibly making a big loop in order to avoid one-way-rental fees. Information like the above will be really great to help us make decisions. Thanks very much.
Gail
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 10:43 AM
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Several years ago we did the loop from Albuquerque to GC and it worked very well. As I recall (I may be blending a couple of trips but this would be doable):
Day1we got to ABQ in the afternoon and drove to either Grants or Gallup the first night.

Day 2 we headed to CdC via Window Rock with a stop to see the memorial to the code talkers and then did the circuit around the top of CdC. Spent the night in Chinle.

Day 3 we did the tour of CdC with a Navajo guide and headed for Kayenta for the night.

Day 4 we drove up to Monument Valley for a quick tour then headed back through Kayenta, and continued west, stopped at Navajo National Monument for lunch and got to Grand Canyon before sunse. Spent the night in Grand Canyon.

Day 5 did some hiking on the rim trail and a shore way down Bright Angel trail then headed out on 64 east with stops along the way at view points, then south on 89 with stops at Wupatki and very briefly at sunset crater. spent the night near I-40

Day 6 about 10 miles east of Flagstaff stopped at Walnut Canyon. Spent a couple of hours hiking through the cliff dwellings then headed east and drove through Petrified forrest/Painted Desert NP. Spent the night near the AZ/NM border.

Day 7 headed east on 40 and took the loop road to Inscription rock/elMorro NM and saw the inscriptions hiked to the ruins up top. Stopped for a visit/tour of Accoma Pueblo. Spent the night at Sky Casino.

Day 8. Drove to Santa Fe did all the touristy things, spent the night, in SF.

Day 9 Drove down the Turquoise trail with a few stops at the artists and then drove up to the back side of Sandia peak. Spent the night near ABQ.

Day 10. Flew home.

We've done several trips to the area so we didn't spend time in Albuquerque on this trip. DH likes to drive, and this was a lot of driving, but we picked up a cooler and snacks, drinks etc. so often ate on the road or at a stop. We went in late April (not during Easter week) and didn't make reservations ahead, but I've noticed that recently it is not quite as easy to wing it for lodging unless you are very near an interstate. Do fill your gas tank any time it is near half and there is a station.

have a great trip.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 11:06 AM
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Emalloy: I'm really grateful for your input. Typically when we travel, we stay in one place and do day-trips out from that spot. I've always avoided the stay-in-a-different place every night kind of trip because it's so much harder to predict how much we're going to want to see and how long it will take each day; having reservations is reassuring but would tie us down to getting to a certain point by dark; and then there's having to find 7 or 8 places to stay, instead of just one. As you mention, it can be kind of iffy finding last minute quarters and having been stung once in Camden Maine, unable to find a place to stay, I'm hesitant to leave it to chance.
How was the late April weather when you went? I know there's no guarantee (especially these days), but I'd be interested in somewhat predictably moderate weather.
Sounds like good advice to fill the gas tank often -- at home, I tend to wait til I'm running on vapor.
Also buying a cooler and taking snacks/fruit/yogurts with us is a great suggestion -- it'd certainly buy us time to find restaurants other than fast food joints.
This will be the first time we're doing this kind of trip. I'm starting by looking at maps and guidebooks to figure out what sites we're most interested in and then will try to string them together in some kind of order; will come back here to get feedback on the do-ability of the master plan, since folks here always have good meaty info.
Thanks again for your input.
Gail
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 11:13 AM
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Chaco Canyon is definitely worth a visit:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...th/4178398452/
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 11:29 AM
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I haven't visited Chaco yet but highly recommend Canyon de Chelly.Book a highly rated Navajo guide in advance. We had Adam Teller who made it a very rich experience for us.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 12:18 PM
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Gail, the weather in April has been generally mild, light jacket on short sleeve weather usually. That said we did have wicked wind once, think a sand blizzard, it lasted one evening and night and was beautiful the next day. There was a little snow in Moab once and it lasted about 15 minutes and was gone almost before it hit the ground.

I do understand about wanting to be sure of a place to stay, so when we travel at busy times, or with other people, I do sometimes make reservations, especially when I know where we are going to be on a specific day. We have gone to Grand Canyon and found a room without booking ahead, even in elTovar once in April, but if you know you want to be in the park it doesn't hurt to make a reservation. People do and cancel last minute when they find they can't make it so people like us get rooms on walk in. If you have an iPad or the like you can book on the trip if you find you want to extend a stay, just be sure to make reservations that can be cancelled without penalty.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 12:28 PM
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Chaco would be my first choice but only if you have a vehicle that can handle a rough, unpaved road.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 01:22 PM
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Spring is our biggest "iffy" season. It can be sunny and warm or it can be VERY windy and nasty. This lasts through mid May and has already started.

Even if the thermometer says one thing, it can feel very different to you. Abundant sunshine can make it feel even warmer [we just got back from a walk in the bosque and on the way in it was windy and a bit cool; on the way out, I had to take my fleece jacket off!] than it registers.

The days start cool, warm up and reach their warmest by late afternoon [not like back east where it is warmest from 11 - 2 pm] so dressing in breathable layers is best.

I am not sure if you know about altitude; so be prepared if you are flatlanders. Know the signs of altitude sickness which can hit anyone and even people who never suffered from it can be
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 01:27 PM
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opps.

can be effected by it, even if it isn't their first time at altitude. Headache and insomnia are symptoms among others; you can google more on that.

Drink WAY more water than you thing you need or even want. Dehydration is an issue; you don't really notice that you are losing water as any sweat quickly evaporates in the very dry air and you tend not to feel hot. Aim for straw colored urine to know you are drinking enough water [sorry, but thats the only real way to tell]. Be careful with alcohol too.

Sunscreen, a hat, chapstick are absolute musts. Walking sticks optional but nice if you are going to hike around.

This a magical part of the country and being prepared makes it an even better experience.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 03:25 PM
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Thanks much, we are from colorado so altitude will not be a problem.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 06:48 PM
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We have decided on canyon de chelly. I have also booked the Holiday Inn. what is the shake and bake tour that we should not do. sounds like either Adam Teller or one. Of the guides booked through the Holiday Inn are good choices.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 07:02 PM
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ok, didn't know. But good if anyone else happens upon this thread.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 07:29 PM
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Our guide was Oscar. I believe he has several other guides working for him.

You are in for a beautiful and memorable experience. The Navajo take great pride in the canyon and their heritage.

HTtY

PS The dining room at the Holiday Inn is surprisingly good. The food isn't fancy, but it is well prepared and reasonably priced.

Also, near Canyon de Chelly is Hubble Trading Post National Historic Site where you can take a tour of the very interesting historic, time-capsule Hubble home. We've seen a lot, and we were fascinated: http://www.nps.gov/hutr/index.htm
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 11:06 PM
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I definitely agree with the Hubble Trading Post recommendation too.
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