The bus returns to the hotel by 4:00 PM.Dinner: Dinner at the hotel from 6:00 to 7:00 PMEvening: From 7:00-8:30 PM, there will be a lecture on Archeoastronomy. We'll learn how ancient peoples from Egypt to Peru to Chaco Canyon used Archeoastronomy in planting and harvesting their crops, conducting seasonal celebrations and religious ceremonies, and in planning many other aspects of their lives.Lodging: MCM Elegante HotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
On arrival in Nageezi, we will transfer to a school bus; the road into Chaco is rough and unpaved, and motor coaches are advised not to travel the road. A school bus company does most group transport into the Canyon. A bit bumpy, but it's the only way to get there!
Arrival at the Visitor Center by about 11:30 AM.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park preserves one of America's most significant and fascinating cultural and historic areas. Chaco was a major center of ancestral Puebloan culture between A.D. 850 and 1150. It was a hub of ceremony, trade, and administration for the prehistoric Four Corners area. It is remarkable for its monumental public and ceremonial buildings, and its distinctive architecture.
To construct the buildings, along with the associated Chacoan roads, ramps, dams and mounds required a great deal of well-organized and skillful planning, designing, resource gathering and construction. The Chacoan people combined pre-planned architectural designs, astronomical alignments, geometry, landscaping, and engineering to create an ancient urban center of spectacular public architecture, one that amazes us a thousand years later.Lunch: Boxed lunches at ChacoAfternoon: Our exploration of Chaco Canyon continues until 4:00 PM, when the bus leaves for Farmington, New Mexico.Dinner: Dinner at a selected restaurantEvening: Hotel check-inLodging: Hampton InnMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Aztec Ruins National Monument preserves structures and artifacts of Ancestral Pueblo people from the 1100s through the 1200s.
It may have been seen as another Chacoan outlier, however, more recent research indicates it may have been the second Chacoan "capitol," established and occupied after the abandonment of Chaco Canyon in the 1150s.
Aztec itself was abandoned about A.D. 1275 as a result of the 40-year drought. Some Southwestern archeologists believe the Chacoan "elites" then moved south and established Paquime, another immense site in northern Mexico.
The Aztec monument was established in 1923 with the excavation and reconstruction of Aztec West by Earl Morris and designated a World Heritage Site in 1987.
We'll continue on to the Chimney Rock archaeological area.Lunch: Boxed lunches at Chimney RockAfternoon: After a hike at the Chimney Rock archaeological area, we'll continue on to Mesa Verde National Park and check into the Far View Lodge.Dinner: Dinner at the LodgeEvening: Evening at leisureLodging: Far View LodgeMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
The culture represented at Mesa Verde reflects more than 700 years of history. From approximately A.D. 600 through A.D. 1300 people lived and flourished in communities throughout the area, eventually building elaborate stone villages in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls.
Today, most people call these sheltered villages “cliff dwellings.” The cliff dwellings represent the last 75 to 100 years of occupation at Mesa Verde.
In the late 1200s, within the span of one or two generations, they left their homes and moved away.
The archeological sites found in Mesa Verde are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States, offering visitors a look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people. Twenty-four Native American tribes in the southwest have an ancestral affiliation with the sites at Mesa Verde.Lunch: Lunch at the Far View Terrace CaféAfternoon: Continue exploring Mesa VerdeDinner: Dinner on your ownEvening: Evening at leisureLodging: Far View LodgeMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Multi-storied towers perched on canyon rims and balanced on boulders lead visitors to marvel at the skill and motivation of their builders.
Hovenweep is noted for its solitude and undeveloped, natural character. The Square Tower Group is the primary contact facility with a visitor center and interpretive trail.
Human habitation at Hovenweep dates to over 10,000 years ago when nomadic Paleoindians visited the Cajon Mesa to gather food and hunt game. These people used the area for centuries, following the seasonal weather patterns.Lunch: Boxed lunchesAfternoon: Bus departs for Mesa Verde, arriving back at the Lodge at about 5:00 PM.Dinner: Dinner at the LodgeEvening: Evening at leisureLodging: Far View LodgeMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
On arrival, we'll drive along the north rim, stopping at overlooks along the way.
At the base of sheer red cliffs and in canyon wall caves are ruins of Indian villages built between A.D. 350 and 1300.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument offers visitors the chance to learn about Southwestern Indian history from the earliest basketmakers to the Navajo Indians who live and farm here.Lunch: Lunch at the Holiday Inn in ChinleAfternoon: Excursion along the south rim of Canyon de Chelly, followed by hotel check-inDinner: Dinner at the Holiday InnEvening: Evening at leisureLodging: Holiday Inn Canyon de ChellyMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
This moderate hike of 2 1/2 miles is the only one that will take visitors down into the canyon, and will take approximately 2-3 hours.Lunch: Lunch at a selected restaurantAfternoon: Depart at 1:30 PM for return to Albuquerque, arriving at the hotel at about 6:00 PM.Dinner: Dinner at the hotelEvening: Program closing at the hotelLodging: MCM Elegante HotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner