Chaco Canyon, New Mexico - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-28-2008, 06:20 PM   #1
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I understand the road in is bad and long, but it sounds like a pretty neat destination - the sort of place we like to go to with the Scamp. We are thinking of trying it in April(?), and will check with the forest Service before leaving. Would appreciate any input. We have found that with 4WD low we can get through a lot of stuff while towing, but I had an experience last summer with stream crossings to the bottom of the door and no way to turn around for 15 miles that the my limits can be reached before the trailer's!

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Old 02-28-2008, 08:10 PM   #2
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I went in from the north and out by the south. The main problem I had with the road was that it was "washboard" and long (30 miles more or less of slow travel).

The do have a trailer park.

Schedule 2-3 days and be ready to study. It's well worth it.

Ron Mayo
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:15 PM   #3
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I went to the NPS site and found this:

Due to emergency repairs campsites will be reduced to 35 sites total until further notice! Please have alternative plans if the campground is full.

Something to consider on bad roads, esp the ones with sharp rocks, is that if you carry a 12VDC compressor (Wally) you can let some air out of your tires to make them much less damage resistant. Blow up two balloons, one hard and one soft, and see which one is easier to pop with your finger if you don't understand what I'm getting at. I did 12K of miles on the roads in and around Alaska and I aired down and slowed down on the bad roads -- Didn't have the first flat on truck or trailer.

Also get a long towing strap (the kind without the hardware on the ends have higher ratings) so if the trailer gets stuck in soft stuf you can drive the TV out, hook up the strap and haul the trailer out (presuming you didn't dig the TV in too deep trying to get both out together).
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Old 02-29-2008, 09:53 AM   #4
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It is not really a primitive four wheel drive road. As Ron stated, it is the washboarding that will wear you out. I have not hauled my trailer in there, just my truck. If you have the discipline to go slow enough, you can probably get your Scamp in without busting rivets, cracking the frame or emptying out all the cabinets. Having done all those things to my old Scamp on other washboard roads, I am a lot more careful now. That said, Chaco is a fabulous place.
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Old 02-29-2008, 07:00 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input. It sounds doable with a trailer then, just uncomfortable. Good idea on the tires and tow rope. We're used to washboard out here, can deal with that if we have a good book on tape and move slowly. Have to do a lot of studying before we leave, may stay 2-3 days, do a lot of hiking as well.




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Old 03-01-2008, 10:31 AM   #6
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Barring,

If you are really interested, there is a fantastic video on Chaco Canyon that is still available here Chaco. They also have a video available from the Solstice Project called 'The Sun Dagger' which is about the the Solar/Lunar calendar on Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon.

Happy Trails
Kathie (& Dave)
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Old 03-02-2008, 01:31 AM   #7
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As a native New Mexican I'm embarrassed to say Iíve never been there. But it on the list for this year - with Casita in tow...

-Kyle



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Old 03-05-2008, 11:32 PM   #8
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We have been there twice, but not with our Scamp, the north route was better when we went last, the route we went in the first time is now closed, but is still on some maps as the way in, you can get directions from the NPS web site. Much of the "dirt" road is wash-board as others have mentioned, some of it which is sandy more than gravel can be fairly smooth. It might get a little hairly if right after rain, however, we left not long after a rain and had no trouble on leaving. The first time we had a cabover camper in the back of a pickup. The second was in a 20' Komfort lite TT with dual axles. We have not tried the Scamp on it. I would like to go back and enjoy it again. If you happen to be driving the road and you get to water crossing the road, do not try and drive through it. Running washes or arroyos can be very dangerous. Just wait on higher ground and it will be over in a little while. Seems like there is 13 miles of dirt, it is paved as you get in the park and on the first section off US 550.

Chaco Canyon is located in northwestern New Mexico. The preferred and recommended access route to the park is from the north, via US 550 (formerly NM 44) and County Road (CR) 7900, and CR 7950.
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) and 13 miles of rough dirt road (CR7950).

http://www.nps.gov/chcu/planyourvisit/directions.htm

Spring and Fall are great times to visit with more moderate temperatures, but unexpected storms can change things dramatically. Monitor local weather forecasts. By Phone: Visitor Information (505) 786-7014
I am not sure if the area code changed for that part of NM, but the 505 should work until next year even if it has changed to the 575 one.
Chaco is located at 6,200 feet in elevation. The weather in Chaco Canyon is unpredictable and can be extreme. Come prepared for all possibilites!
When hiking the canyon, be prepared for heat, rain, wind, and unexpected changes in temperature. Carry a rain poncho and a jacket or sweater. Wear hiking boots and a wide-brimmed hat, and use sunscreen. Carry and drink extra water. Eat lots of snacks. Take your time adjusting to the altitude and don't overdo.

http://www.nps.gov/chcu/planyourvisit/weather.htm
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Old 03-06-2008, 06:10 PM   #9
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Thank you all for a lot of very helpful info. Adrian, I appreciate your advice on hiking in the mountains. We're at 7300 feet ourselves, and regularly run into hikers who didn't know the difference between here and a city park at sea level.

We're aiming for April at Chaco, which will probably be iffy on weather anyhow. I'll look for more Scamps there.

Any of you heading up to southern Colorado, let me know. We're still learning our way around on camper sites, but have been finding some fun NF campgrounds. We're trying to find some more spots "at the end of the road," as we don't need hookups - although outhouses are preferable to the backcountry alternative.

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Old 03-23-2008, 04:27 PM   #10
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Barring,
RE: "on hiking in the mountains" There really isn't mountains to be hiking in, execpt Fajardo Butte (Not with fur trees, etc) at Chaco. Some climbing up rock nitches, most hikes are somewhat like high plains. But the weather can cool down fast due to the alt.

Don't forget to give us a report on how things went for you. I'm wanting to go back sometime myself.
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