Chaco Culture

The Center of an Ancient World

Today the massive buildings of the Ancestral Puebloan people still testify to the organizational and engineering abilities not seen anywhere else in the American Southwest. For a deeper contact with the canyon that was central to thousands of people between 850 and 1250 A.D., come and explore Chaco through guided tours, hiking & biking trails, evening campfire talks, and night sky programs.

International Dark Sky Park

On August 19, 2013 Chaco Culture was officially designated an International Dark Sky Park.

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Carlsbad Caverns

Beauty and Wonder; Above and Below

High ancient sea ledges, deep rocky canyons, flowering cactus, and desert wildlife—treasures above the ground in the Chihuahuan Desert. Hidden beneath the surface are more than 119 caves—formed when sulfuric acid dissolved limestone leaving behind caverns of all sizes.

Reservations Required to Enter Cavern

First-Time Visitors

Important information for first-time visitors to Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Plan Your Visit

Directions, hours, fees, things to do, and more.

Plan Like a Park Ranger

Top-10 tips for visiting Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Download the NPS App

Learn About the Park

Nature, history, culture, photos, publications, and more.

Gift Shop, Eating, and Sleeping

A variety of options are available.


The bookstore is operated by our non-profit

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Aztec Ruins

Footprint of Ancestral Pueblo Society

Pueblo people describe this site as part of their migration journey. Today you can follow their ancient passageways to a distant time. Explore a 900-year old ancestral Pueblo Great House of over 400 masonry rooms. Look up and see original timbers holding up the roof. Search for the fingerprints of ancient workers in the mortar. Listen for an echo of ritual drums in the reconstructed Great Kiva.

Explore the Aztec West Trail

Walk the half-mile trail through Aztec Ruins. Discover T-shaped doorways, intact ancestral Pueblo rooms, and a reconstructed Great Kiva!

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Walnut Canyon

Remarkable Rocks and Ancient Cliff Dwellings

Come gaze across curved canyon walls. Among the remarkable geological formations of the canyon itself, the former homes of ancient inhabitants are easily evident. Along the trails you can imagine life within Walnut Canyon, while visiting actual pueblos and walking in the steps of those who came before.

View Cliff Dwellings on the Island Trail

The one mile round-trip Island Trail provides access to 25 cliff dwellings.

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Sunset Crater Volcano

The Destruction and Rebirth of a Landscape

The cinder cone volcano’s rim is the dusky red of sunset, but the crater is only part of the story. Around 1085 the ground began to shake, and lava spewed high into the air. When the eruption finished, it had changed both the landscape and the people who lived here. Today, it teaches how nature and humankind affect each other—and how rebirth and renewal happen in the wake of disaster.

Fee Free Days

While the entry fee for Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is usually $25 per vehicle, here are days when you can visit for free!

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Petrified Forest

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The Canyons that Have Been Occupied for Centuries

The Hopi, San Juan Southern Paiute, Zuni, and Navajo are tribes that have inhabited the canyons for centuries. Springs fed into farming land on the canyon floor and homes were built in the natural sandstone alcoves. The cliff dwellings of Betatakin, Keet Seel, and Inscription House were last physically occupied around 1300 AD but the villages have a spiritual presence that can still be felt today.

Generation to Generation

Learn more about the ancestral ways of life of the alcove dwellers and how modern tribal members have kept that heritage alive.

Park is Open with Limited Services

Limited Services are currently available. Find out what is offered at the park at this time. The park is free and open year-round.

Guided Cliff Dwelling Tours

Guided Cliff Dwelling Tours to Betatakin and Keet Seel are CLOSED until further notice due to COVID-19 related park closures.

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Montezuma Castle

Window Into The Past

Established December 8, 1906, Montezuma Castle is the third National Monument dedicated to preserving Native American culture. This 20 room high-rise apartment, nestled into a towering limestone cliff, tells a story of ingenuity, survival and ultimately, prosperity in an unforgiving desert landscape.

Archaeology at Montezuma Castle

Explore artifacts from the Sinagua People

Montezuma Well

Explore the geology, plants, and animals.

Natural Resources at Montezuma Castle

Explore the wildlife and plants of Montezuma Castle.

Become a Junior Ranger!

Do you have what it takes to learn about Montezuma Castle?

Your Field Trip Starts Here!

Find out how to apply for an educational fee waiver.

Filming and Still Photography

Interested In Commercial Filming Or Still Photography? Check Out Our Rules And Regulations Before Visiting

Protecting The Night

Protecting Our Dark Skies

Nearby Attractions

Check Out Other Locations In The Verde Valley

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Lake Mead

Lake Mead

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