Chaco Canyon - request for riding info

Discussion in 'The Rockies – It's all downhill from here...' started by SugarDust, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. SugarDust

    SugarDust Kulia i ka nu'u

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    My hubby and I are going on a 5 day riding vacation the week after labor day. We are planning on riding to southwest Colorado through Gunnison, Durango, stopping at Cortez and visiting Mesa Verde (among other places) - question, we had a thought about riding out to Chaco Canyon, NM. I'll be on a DR650, and Craig on a Harley Sportster - I understand that we would have to ride some dirt roads back and forth out there - from what I can tell, coming in from the north, it looks like passenger car doable dirt roads (which we have experience on and if they are easy shouldn't be a problem on a dr650 but on craigs sportster...) however, not seeing the road, does anyone have any experience in this area, tips etc? Any info on the conditions would be useful. Thanks!
    #1
  2. anomad

    anomad not in storage

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    The road to Chaco is usually hardpack, and various gravel conditions. There are certainly going to be tricky washboard and sandy areas. There is one wash to cross which is almost always dry. There can be ruts if it has rained recently, whole place turns to soup if its wet.

    If your lesser half is not intimidated by the sand I would say go for it. The DR650 is perfect for this type of dirt road.

    Right now roads are fairly good around here. There have been enough thunderstorms to keep them from turning to powder but not too many that things are all washed out. When you get closer to arriving call the park and ask the visitors center about the road.
    #2
  3. SugarDust

    SugarDust Kulia i ka nu'u

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    Thank you, this is exactly the information we need!
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  4. anomad

    anomad not in storage

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    If you need any other local road advice let me know. I have an almost all dirt route from my house in Farmington to Hesperus. But some parts of it wouldn't be fun on a sporty.
    #4
  5. SugarDust

    SugarDust Kulia i ka nu'u

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    Thanks - definitly appreciate it!
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  6. Durangoman

    Durangoman Yeah its me!

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    I havent been to Chaco in a few years but I can tell you that the road is something like 26 miles of washboard and holes. Road improvements dont happen on a regular basis.
    #6
  7. ironbrewer

    ironbrewer Hopefully Riding

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    I was at Chaco about 3 years ago. The roads are no problem in a passenger car. You can easily do 35 to 40 miles per hour in a car. If you are in that area you should really check out Hovenweep. It straddles the border of Colorado and Utah in the four corners area.

    The camp area.

    [​IMG]

    Its known for its Anasazi towers.

    [​IMG]

    Hovenweep valley.

    [​IMG]

    Hovenweep is definately off the beaten path. There was only one other group camping there when we went.

    The roads around there do turn to clay snot when wet though!!

    There are water and flush toilets at the Hovenweep campground area.
    #7
  8. murgatroid42

    murgatroid42 Great Adventurer

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    I was there a few years ago, and the road going into it was flat, but had terrible washboard for at least 10 miles. I was driving a van, and couldn't go very fast at all. Afterwards, the shocks were shot and the ABS never worked again. Rented RV's were going 5 mph in sections. On a DR650, it should be no problem. :patch I don't know how Sportsters work on washboard roads. New Mexico roads can become more slippery than ice, and unpassible, when it rains.

    Chaco is fantastic. Get there early, and plan to take time to hike to the various ruins. It is absolutely amazing how many settlements are there. It will probably be very hot, and there is no shade. My $0.02.
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  9. SugarDust

    SugarDust Kulia i ka nu'u

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    Thanks ironbrewer - Hovenweep is a definite possibilty. I'm thinking that we'll probably play things by ear depending on weather etc.
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  10. SugarDust

    SugarDust Kulia i ka nu'u

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    Thanks for the info - I think that we'll see how it goes, the DR won't have any issues, I think that we'll see how the sporty does.. however I know that craig's ridden that sporty down some pretty washboarded out roads, I think that deep sand will be more of an issue...we'll see - if things don't work, we turn around.
    #10
  11. SugarDust

    SugarDust Kulia i ka nu'u

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    No doubt! I bet its a mess when it rains!
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  12. enigmatic_redhabu

    enigmatic_redhabu I really wanna be....

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  13. SugarDust

    SugarDust Kulia i ka nu'u

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    Thanks Jinny - already read it. We would be coming in from the north, which appears to be the lesser difficult approaches - but we needed more info from those that might have done it recently.
    #13
  14. ironbrewer

    ironbrewer Hopefully Riding

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    The Bisti/ DE-Na-Zin wilderness area is really cool too. The Hoo Doos are really cool to hike through. It is incredibly remote though. When we went there we found an abandoned Black Lab mix puppie at the trailhead.
    the scary part is that the last people to sign in at the trailhead was about 10 days previous. She was super sweet, but in bad shape. She had a big ulcer on her belly. We nursed her back to health and found a home for her. My daughter is still mad we didn't keep her.

    Link to the wilderness area.

    http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/wilderness/bisti.html
    #14
  15. anomad

    anomad not in storage

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    http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/more/geographic_sciences/fo_map_files.html

    I hear their GIS Coordinator is totally awesome :norton


    Res dogs break my heart. Stars in your crown for saving that one from an ugly fate. They are usually exceptionally loyal and happy after being rescued, I've known a few.
    #15
  16. LynxSS

    LynxSS Been here awhile

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    What ever you do dont take the south road on a sporty lol. I was comming from the south 5 or 6 yrs ago and thought that way would be faster, boy was I wrong. I was in a jeep truck with a modified offroad suspension for trails and rock crawling, and thats one of the worst semi maintained roads I'd ever been down on it. It took 3 hours to go the 30 miles, when we showd up one of the rangers was suprized that we even made it with the road in the condition it was lol. Nobody had made it down it in 2 months after some bad storms. We left on the north route and back tracked once we hit the highway, much much easier.

    From the website: "From the south, two routes access Chaco from Highway 9 ... Both routes can vary from very rough to impassable. ... If you are traveling from the south, please call ahead for the latest conditions." Yeah no joke, they arent kidding :lol3
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  17. SugarDust

    SugarDust Kulia i ka nu'u

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    Yup - the north looks much better, which is how we would be coming from anyway. We still haven't made up ours minds - may end up headed out there (from the north) - if the weather looks good (and has been good) just to see what we can see and go as far as we can go! Thanks!
    #17
  18. SugarDust

    SugarDust Kulia i ka nu'u

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    I am glad that you guys rescued the puppy, I can't believe people would abandon a puppy like that to certain death....bad karma. Thanks again - more stuff to explore!
    #18
  19. FatChance

    FatChance Road Captain

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    Dogs have a tough life on the Rez. Whenever we go through Shiprock, Fatwife hides her eyes so she doesn't have to look at all the mangy, starving, limping and injured dogs running all over. That dog was lucky to be found and rescued. I wouldn't wish a life down there on any dog.
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  20. NewMex GS

    NewMex GS ADEQUATE ADVENTURER

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    There are 17 miles of some of the crappyest / washboard roads in this part of NM. The HD will be in pieces as will the rider and you will not feel well on even a DR. An old freind was the park super for a few years and I made the mistake of going for a vist in the winter.... chains on a 4x4 all the way around was the only mode of transport. the Tribe does nothing to maintain roads in this area. We have had afternoon showers that could make travel very nasty if your only part way in... there are no accomadations at the park. Hate to be a bummer, but......
    #20