Chaco Canyon was the major center of ancestral Puebloan culture between 850 and 1250 AD., and the hub of activity in Four Corners area. The people who lived in Chaco Canyon left behind a well-organized and planned complex of buildings, laid out on a north-south grid and awe-inspiring for their size and complexity.
Any route to Chaco Canyon will involve driving some distance on dirt roads which are seldom maintained and may become impassable in wet weather. Call (505) 786-7014 to check the road conditions before you go. The nearest gasoline station is 60 miles from Chaco Canyon. Be sure to fill your tank.
The National Park Service recommends entering from the north. Take US 550 three miles south from Nageezi, NM, (or 50 miles west from Cuba, NM). At mile 112.5, turn onto County Road 7900. Follow the signs to Chaco Canyon entrance, 21 miles away. This route includes 16 miles of rough, dirt road.
If you are approaching from I-40, take Exit 53 and follow Highway 371 north. Don't let the signs you see along the way dishearten you. They show the mileage to the north entrance, but as long as the road is passable, you can get there by a route that's about 40 miles shorter. Follow Highway 371 to Highway 9 east (this turn is not well-marked, so pay close attention), then turn north onto Highway 57 and follow the dirt road for 20 miles.
A third route into the park passes through Pueblo Pintado, north on Navajo 46 for 10 miles, then turn left on County Road 7950 for 16 miles and follow the signs to the park. This route goes over 33 miles of dirt roads.
Don't let your road map fool you. While it looks like Highway 57 from Blanco Trading Post goes into Chaco Canyon, it does not. The road is closed at the park boundary.