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Old 08-24-2019, 09:12 PM   #1
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Default Chaco Canyon New Mexico-getting there?

We are thinking of a trip to Chaco Canyon soon. My wife last visited there about 25+ years ago in a 4WD with a "living" area in the truck bed. We wanted to take the Roadtrek there, but the directions say,
"From the north, turn off US 550 at CR 7900--3 miles southeast of Nageezi and approximately 50 miles west of Cuba (at mile 112.5). This route is clearly signed from US 550 to the park boundary (21 miles). The route includes 8 miles of paved road (CR 7900 & CR7950) and 13 miles of rough dirt road (CR7950). The 4 1/2 miles before entering the park are very rough."
The route from the south is recommended for 4WD or Tractors only.
Has anybody traveled the northern route recently in a "B"? And is it possible? Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-24-2019, 11:50 PM   #2
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Well we did Chaco about 4-5 years ago to be there on the blood moon lunar eclipse. We weren't in a B then but in a Rav4 with inflatable mattress in back. The Rav is not 4wheel and we came in from the south. Maybe the roads have been allowed to get worse? Humorously (or not) when we started on the dirt road I remember saying that the road was actually pretty good. Then we passed the guy who was grading. From then on it was rough but if you went slow, ok. Today? I'd take a B in but come from the North. And I'd do it in cooler weather. The blood moon was I believe in October. As I remember one advantage of the south route is that when you finally enter the park, you're right at the visitor center and campground. When we were there there was water available and restrooms in the campground with cold water sinks and flush toilets.

I'm interested to hear from others with more recent experience. We're thinking of going there in our B also.
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Old 08-25-2019, 01:48 AM   #3
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No recent experience but road conditions are as you find them. The northern route is prone to severe washboard if the grader hasn't been there for awhile. Wet conditions made it slick with mud in places. Take it slow and take it dry, if possible. We used a Jeep. I would have turned around from the washboard had I been in an RV. Really rough on the cabinetry.
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Old 08-25-2019, 08:22 PM   #4
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Thanks, maybe we’ll rethink this segment of our trip!
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Old 08-25-2019, 08:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonmanvt View Post
Thanks, maybe we’ll rethink this segment of our trip!
Visit Aztec Ruins National Monument in Aztec New Mexico. From there go to Chaco and if it is too rough, turn around. Mesa Verde National Park is nearby with paved roads.
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Old 08-25-2019, 08:52 PM   #6
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Getting to Chaco can be rough, but you don't want to die not having seen it, IMO.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:17 PM   #7
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Here is the Current Conditions page, emphasis mine, from the NPS website:

Quote:
Traffic & Travel Tips

CLOSED: Hwy 57 (North section) from Blanco Trading Post (on US 550) is permanently CLOSED at the park's north boundary. Do not take Hwy 57.

From US 550, go to mile 112.5 (3 miles SE of Nageezi) and turn onto CR 7900 and CR 7950. Follow signs to the park.

OPEN: Hwy 57 (South section) - shown on some maps as Hwy 14 - is OPEN from the park boundary south to Hwy 9 (paved). There is 20 miles of rough dirt road. Not recommended for RVs. Go slow over cattle guards and watch for rocks and ruts.

Warning: Numerous visitors have reported that GPS devices are not accurate in the Chaco area. Please use our written directions to avoid getting lost.
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Old 08-26-2019, 08:14 PM   #8
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Moonmanvt,
Visiting Chaco is worth the rough road. The south route/Rt 57 has less unpaved miles, and is OK for your B van. It's not recommended for RVs due to a very tight 90* turn next to a cattleguard. The north route, via Nageezi/Hwy 550, is often washboarded, but most of the nonpaved section is county-maintained. Either route is slippery following rain. Take it slow and enjoy. https://www.nps.gov/chcu/planyourvis...traveltips.htm
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Old 09-01-2019, 08:56 PM   #9
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Chaco is awesome. Been there several times. For driving really rough dirt roads you should "air down" your tires for a smoother ride. Let out at least 25% of the pressure, maybe more on the rears. Soft tires will conform to the washboarding. You must keep your speed down with soft tires, but you can't drive those roads fast anyway. Needless to say, you need a compressor to pump up your tires when you get back to pavement!

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