The Gallo Campground is the only campground in Chaco Canyon National Park so reserving ahead of time or getting there earlier in the day depending on the season are very important. The park is very remote so it's a long drive on a potentially very rough road to get in but once you're there the route is well worth the visit.
I visited on a Wednesday night in mid October. The campground had filled up by about 2pm Wednesday and but was full by about 11am on Thursday.
There is currently no potable water at the campground but water is available at the Visitors Center a short drive down the road. There are however flushing toilets and running water in the bathrooms. The campsites each have a picnic table and fire pit. I thought the set up of the tent only area was interesting. There is a parking lot area with sites surrounding it on three sides. The set up allows for privacy between the sites which are nestled in among the rocks and plants.
I wish I had spent more time in Chaco Canyon exploring the sites, hiking, and going on tours. The daily tours and ranger talks provide more insight into the canyon's history than you can get with the self guided booklets.
The campground is fine- everything you would want- picnic table, fire ring… but most of all it is right in the neighborhood some incredible Chacoan pueblos. Looking at pictures of these dwellings I had always expected that they'd be fenced off and observed from a distance, but you actually get to walk around INSIDE these buildings that were constructed from the 800s-1200s AD. It is so amazing to touch the rock and see the old planks of wood framing the doorways. I went for a trail run up toward the older, smaller site and scared off a bunch of elk. Up high there you can see a divet in the landscape that is believed to be part of a superhighway of trade that ran all the way to Mexico. Nights got really cold (10 degrees, yup it was February) but worth it to be there at such a peaceful time of year :) Water was available at the welcome center but not the campground itself.
Almost no shade. It's very isolated so come prepared with lots of water, food etc. I bought dry ice and three bags of regular ice which was just enough for a 2 1/2 day stay. There is a road but has about 12 miles of washboard roads so getting to the convenient store isn't.
The beauty of Chaco Canyon is worth it though…amazing! There will be hiking involved and may not be the best place for people with small children. Don't miss this yhiigh!
When driving to the Chaco Culture Campground one can forget that long ago without the convenience of cars people moved from place to place without stops along the way. A trip down the 23 mile desolate road into the canyons will take you back in time as you witness the native culture unfold before your eyes and the road opens up into the canyons surrounding the Campground.
We were taken aback by the beauty of the grounds as we pulled in late in the day. The hint of clouds in the sky warned of possible rain and the campground host echoed the chances as we checked in for the night.
The host was a warm welcoming face which was a precursor for all that was to come as everyone in the campground seemed to be just as friendly.
We received not only a map of the grounds but also information about hiking locations and were able to establish our plan for the following day with these materials.
Setting up the camp pads were large and nestled directly by the canyon walls, making for an amazing view for the night. Campsites were placed with enough distance for privacy and located a slight path walk from the parking area making for a more natural habitat. Birds could be heard echoing throughout the canyon and it was a serene location for a perfect night.
The site was a more primitive site for all campers. While there were flushing toilets there was no drinkable water or showers. We advise bringing water along for the trip as well as wet wipes so you can clean your hands and face from the sand.
Nightfall was profound in the location as it was very peaceful. Mid evening the skies opened up and a drizzle began which lowered temperatures.
The conditions did not make for dull spirits at the campgrounds however, everyone was just as friendly when we were packing up as when we had arrived. A great community feeling at his campground!
The only negative we truly experienced was upon leaving. Roads are unpaved and become very slick when any rain is present. Though the rain had not been harsh the road in several areas was near impassable. There are signs warning of this as you enter the park turn off however.
For those who must be plugged in at all times, this location is off grid so cell phones are obsolete. Payphones however are available on the premises. a booster is also available in the visitor center for Verizon and T-Mobile service.
I do advise getting gas before heading out along the turn off point as there are no gas stations inside the area. Round trip will be nearly 40 miles and always better safe than sorry.
This campground we give a 5 of 5 Bunnies! We will be sure to go back!!
For more about this campground and the Chaco Culture area check out this video:
this campground is situated in a small canyon southeasterly of the Chaco Canyon Historical Park. The campground is really clean and quiet. Bathrooms have flush toilets and running water. A friendly ranger comes by every so often to check on things. There are small ruins in the campsite as well. I had a wonderful evening here.
Chaco Canyon is my favorite camping spot. The campground is hard to reach down a pot holed dirt road, good for small RV’s and car camping and once you arrive, it’s hard to leave. There is no water or electric at the camp sites, as is true with most western national parks, but the bathroom close by is heated for the cold desert nights of October and the thousands of rooms of ruin are still a mystery to archeologists who continue to study the Oueblo people who lived here.
Small campground but nice. Campsites are a little close together. Huge temperature fluctuations from day to night. Little to do around the campsite other than a couple of small hiking trails and monuments. Excellent night sky when it's clear outside! You can see the Milky Way and you have 360° views because there are no trees around. Bring firewood. IMPORTANT: Check the website and call before you make the drive to the park for road updates. The roads can be impassable because they are not paved. Low clearance vehicles will have a difficult time navigating but can make it if they go under 10 mph. DO NOT follow your gps directions to this park, more than likely they will get you stuck and possibly stranded . Read the travel information on the website so you know which roads you will have to take.