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.
On arrival, we'll stop at the Visitor Center, then embark on our canyon exploration.Lunch: Boxed lunches at ChacoAfternoon: After lunch, our exploration of Chaco Canyon continues, followed by departure for Farmington, NM.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.
After visiting the ruins, we'll depart for the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area, where there will be a short hike.Lunch: Boxed lunches at Chimney RockAfternoon: Bus continues on to Mesa Verde National Park and hotel check-in at Far View LodgeDinner: Dinner at the Far View Terrace CaféEvening: 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 Spruce Tree Terrace CaféAfternoon: Continue exploring Mesa VerdeDinner: Dinner at the Far View Terrace CaféEvening: Evening at leisureLodging: Far View LodgeMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hovenweep National Monument protects five prehistoric, Puebloan-era villages spread over a twenty-mile expanse of mesa tops and canyons along the Utah-Colorado border.
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.
Bus departs for Cortez, arriving at about 4:30 PM for hotel check-in.Dinner: Dinner at a selected Cortez restaurantEvening: Evening at leisureLodging: Baymont Inn and SuitesMeals 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 a selected restaurant in ChinleAfternoon: Bus continues rim exploration, then goes to the Holiday Inn for hotel check-inDinner: Dinner at the hotelEvening: 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. Those that do not wish to hike may further explore the rim drives on the coach.Lunch: Lunch at a selected restaurant in ChinleAfternoon: Depart at 1:30 PM for return to Albuquerque, stopping in Window Rock en route, and arriving at the hotel in Albuquerque at about 6:00 PM.Dinner: Dinner at the hotelEvening: Program closing at the hotelLodging: MCM Elegante HotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner