Fodor's Expert Review Chaco Culture National Historical Park
North entrance: Take U.S. 550 3 mi south of Nageezi, then turn south onto CR 7900; continue 5 mi to CR 7950 (16 mi, rough dirt), follow signs to the visitor center. South entrance: Take I–40 to Thoreau, Exit 53, then north on NM 371; just past Crownpoint (26 mi) turn east onto Navajo 9 to Seven Lakes (12 mi), then north on NM 57 (20 mi, rough dirt) to visitor center. (Note: NM 57 is marked as Hwy. 14 on some maps.) Call ahead for road conditions, , 87037, USA
Not far from the visitor center is the park-service-operated Gallo Campground. The site's primitiveness is its greatest asset: at night the skies come alive with stars, and the only noises you can hear are those of nature. The primary advantage of staying here is waking up in the canyon and having a full day to explore the ruins and perhaps hike some of the backcountry trails. Camping is limited to seven days; vehicles up to 30 feet can park here. Drinking water is available at the visitor center. Starting in early May it's best to arrive as early in the day as possible; the campground fills quickly. Reservations are not accepted, except for groups.