Chaco Canyon, a national historic park, contains ruins of an ancient civilization dating back to the 800s, belonging to the Anasazi. The Anasazi themselves are surrounded by mystery. Their civilization has all but disappeared, survived only by its descendants within the Hopi, Zuni and Acoma tribes. What caused the disappearance? Was it because of the scarce resources created by a long drought, or something else entirely? An article by the Smithsonian explores the various theories surrounding this exodus.
According to the National Park Service this Anasazi city was the ‘ceremonial, administrative and economic center point within the San Juan Basin’. Chaco Canyon has also been named an International Dark Sky Park of Gold Tier Status – meaning it is one of the best places in the nation to experience natural darkness and observe the cosmos. This is fitting, since the Chacoans observed the heavens and built their city around it. For a famous example, look towards the Sun Dagger. This site was crafted by the Chacoans to mark the sun’s cycles. Whatever the reason for their disappearance, this park proves to be a valuable experience in history and culture, surrounded by classic New Mexican landscapes and wildlife. It is within a remote area, so you should plan where to stay ahead of time.
Chaco Canyon, NM, USA, + 1 505-786-7014