I experienced the road to Chaco Canyon 23 years ago so this post does not represent any first hand knowledge of the current road conditions now. We were visiting our friends Donna and Ray in Albuquerque and planned a day trip to Chaco Canyon in our friends one week old Ford Explorer. In addition to Donna and Ray and Kathi, my wife, we also had our friends infant daughter Brittany in the group.
It was summer and we thought we would be on a 3 hour tour. Sort of like Gilligan when he went to the island. The trip into the park was enjoyable. The dirt part of the road was rough and bumpy but the new Explorer performed flawlessly.
We arrived at the park and were thrilled with everything. The ruins were readily accessible and incredible. Ray and I decided to take a hike but the wives and baby stayed closer to the car and park headquarters. The beginning of the hike was nice until we got to some wonderful petroglyphs that had been vandalized. Some moron named Jayson decided to scratch an image of a 57 Chevy over some ancient artwork
. He even signed his work ! Things like this just make me sick. Note to Jayson, If I ever have the good fortune to meet you I absolutely guarantee you that my size 13 foot will have a firm and direct impact on your posterior !! We continued our hike and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Our hike was cut short because it started to rain and it looked like it was going to get worse from the look of the sky. By the time we got back to the Explorer it was raining pretty hard. The wives were waiting in the car and the weather was looking to get worse and we had a very bad thunderstorm. The lightening was incredible and beautiful. We decided to head back to Albuquerque.
We left the park and when we got to the dirt road it was a sea of mud. I mean sticky, slippery mud about 4 inches deep. The 4WD Explorer handled it beautifully. We were only concerned with getting the vehicle dirty but the situation got worse quickly. We were moving along slowly and carefully but when we got over a small rise we had several vehicles ahead that were stuck and could not get going. We stopped to help which involved leaving the comfort of the Explorer and pushing the first stuck vehicle, then moving to the second and finally third vehicle before we could get back to our vehicle. After pushing all 3 vehicles we had so much mud on our feet and legs it was impossible to get clean before we got back into the Explorer. A few minutes later the first vehicle got stuck again which caused the other 2 to get stuck again. We finally made it back to paved road and in the process met some nice people but we sure got muddy. There was a time when we wondered if we would have to spend the night in the Explorer but we did manage to get out and back to Albuquerque. Cleaning the outside and inside of the truck was a major project.
I would love to return to Chaco Canyon and spend several days. I would definitely take my trailer but I would sure drive slowly and I would absolutely stay off the unpaved road if there was much rainfall.