Gallo Campground is located within Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Tucked among the fallen boulders and cliffs of Gallo Wash, the campground offers camping in a rugged environment, surrounded by petroglyphs, a cliff dwelling, inscriptions and a high desert landscape. The area is remote with no services. Please be prepared with plenty of food, water, shade, sunscreen and cold weather necessities.
The Visitor Center is located one mile from the Gallo Campground which offers a staffed information desk. There is an additional charge for Park entry separate from the camping fees. All campers are required to pay entrance fee at the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center offers a brief introductory information, a 25-minute introductory video and a bookstore with many selections of educational materials, books and gift items. After checking in at the Visitor Center, one can drive the canyon loop road where there are six front country and our backcountry hiking trails that lead to ancient cultural sites.
Gallo Campground has 48 individual campsites, one of which is designated as handicapped accessible. Each campsite has a picnic table and a fire grate. Two group campsites are available to accommodate group with 10-30 people. Each group campsite has picnic tables and a fire grate. (Groups reserving group campsite(s) must also call the Park for additional arrangement) Restroom facilities with flushable toilets are available on site from March to October, and portable toilets are available during the winter season. There are no showers, hookups, or convenience stores or food services. There are no cell phone services. Please call the Park for road condition.
Gallo Campground is located in a lowland desert surrounded by canyon walls, arroyos and wash with plenty of southwestern desert plants and brushes, but there are no trees.
Chaco Culture NHP is isolated from various towns and cities but within two to three hours, there are some attractions such as Aztec Ruins, Salmon Ruins, Mesa Verde National Park, El Malpais National Monument, El Morro National Monument, Canyon De Chelly National Monument, Four Corners Monument, Navajo Nation Headquarters and Museum in Window Rock, Arizona.
ADA Access: N
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 as well as ruins!
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 campsites here are incredible! They are peaceful and tucked under an amazing starry sky. The ruins are unlike any other; visitors walk through the rooms sculpted by the puebloans a whole millienium earlier.
Gallo is a great car campground that still feels remote and tucked away from the world. Park is accessed from 17 miles of passable dirt road. Driver beware: wet conditions may make muddy roads temporarily impassible by cars not up to the task—call ahead if concerned. Flush toilets are available in campground, but there are no showers or other amenities. There is drinking water by the visitor center, which is only another short drive down the road. Bring all food and supplies because there are no supplies available within 40 minutes of the park and that is at a gas station.
Note about the few secluded tent only sites (sites 41-49): these sites do not allow you to park directly beside the site. You must walk your gear a short+ distance to a defined tent pad (mind the sizes when you reserve). Also, the way the wind blows through the canyon, sites 46-49 have no wind break, and fires may become too dangerous to light up. We camped in one of these and loved our experience. They have more space, are more private, and quieter. But setting up camp was more of a workout too!
Nice open campground next to ancient cliff dwellings. Excellent night sky with a night sky program on the weekends. Gets very cold at night at this location. Campground is tough to get to and requires at least 13+ miles of unpaved road travel, however, a car can make it. Check with the Rangers first before coming to ask which roads are open and accessible. Don't follow the directions on your gps, they specifically have warnings against it on their park website.