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DURATION: 8 days / 7 nights
LEVEL: Easy / Moderate
TERRAIN: Flat / Steep
Blending the best in cultural and natural wonders into one trip, dive deep into the Puebloan history that stretches back 1,000 over years, including visits to some of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in the world. Our first stop in our New Mexico National Park Tour will be at one of the largest cliff dwellings in the region at Mesa Verde. We will then spend time in Chaco Culture National Historical Park to immerse ourselves in the history of the area, and also enjoy one of the best places in the U.S. to stargaze with over 99% of the park being designated as a “natural darkness” zone. A full day in Canyon de Chelly will take you 15 miles into the park on a 4-wheel drive tour with a Navajo guide sharing insight into life from past to present. Wrap up your exploration with time at Hubbell Trading post, which has been active since 1878, and Acomoa Pueblo also known as the “Sky City”.
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Day 1 — Durango
After arriving mid-afternoon gather for an orientation and dinner to discuss the upcoming week.
Meals included: Dinner
Day 2 — Mesa Verde National Park
A short drive from Durango, Mesa Verde National Park combines natural beauty with cultural wonder. The park provides an in depth look into the lives of the Ancient Puebloan people who resided on this land from AD 600 to AD 1300 in dwellings built into the cliff sides which are still preserved today. Our park ranger led tour of the Cliff Palace will provide a glimpse into the largest dwelling which once was home to over 100 people at one time. We then drive 1.5 hours south to the town of Farmington for a relaxing evening. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 3 — Chaco Culture National Historical Park
After a morning drive we will arrive in Chaco Culture National Historical Park for a morning hike before enjoying our picnic lunch in the heart of the park. Your guide will introduce you the numerous ruins which served as the center for ceremony, trade, and administration. Also, discussing how the concept of archaeoastronomy or the juncture of architecture, archaeology, and astronomy guided the life of those living here over 1,000 years ago. After a full day of exploration, we will return to Farmington for dinner and a chance to do some star gazing.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 4 — Canyon de Chelly National Monument
This national monument celebrates and protects one of the longest continuously inhabited landscapes of North America in partnership with the Navajo Tribe preserving architecture, artifacts, and rock art. Your guide will share insight on how the past and present blend together in this park both above and below the rim which is still inhabited by Navajo people today. Before arriving to your lodging, we will take a three-mile round-trip hike into the canyon to White House Ruin providing our first glimpse into life in this canyon. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 5 — Four-Wheel Drive Excursion in Canyon de Chelly
There is no better way to experience the park then by taking a four-wheel drive tour with a Navajo guide who will share insight into life from the past to today along a 30-mile round-trip drive. We will cover the full length the Canyon del Muerto including Mummy Cave, featuring a restored Anasazi complex and Antelope House Ruin where colored drawings are side by side with ancient Anasazi drawings. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 6 — Hubbell Trading Post & El Morro National Monument
This morning we travel back in time to the late 1800s by visiting the Hubbell Trading Post, where trade has been occurring since 1878. As you wander the site the wooden floors will creak under your feet and you can browse wares made by local Navajos including beautiful woven rugs. Our next stop is a tour of the Navajo Nation Museum housing over 40,000 artifacts. Rounding out our day is a visit to El Morro National Monument featuring over 2,000 petroglyphs and inscriptions from ancient Puebloans to Spanish settlers. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 7 — Acoma Pueblo & Albuquerque
Sitting atop a 367-foot sandstone mesa, the Acoma Pueblo is also called the “Sky City”. We will be joined by a member of the community who will lead us on a tour while sharing the settlement’s history. We get into Albuquerque in time to relax and explore the streets of Old Town including the Pueblo Indian Cultural Center before toasting to a great week of exploration at our farewell dinner. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 8 — Departures Home or Extend Your Stay in Santa Fe, NM
Schedule your flights home at your leisure this morning or continue exploring by visiting the state capital and art Mecca Santa Fe just an hour away. Meals included: Breakfast
DoubleTree Durango or lodging nearby - 1 nights
Enjoy a warm cookie and a warmer welcome when you arrive to the hotel which is located on the beautiful Animas River, within walking distance of downtown Durango and the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
Home2Suites Farmington or lodging nearby - 2 nights
Stretch out after a full day of adventure in your studio suite at this conveniently located hotel between Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon. Take a dip in the onsite pool or get your workout in at the Spin2Cycle fitness room.
Thunderbird Lodge or lodging nearby- 2 nights
Operated by the Navajo Nation this is the only lodge within Canyon de Chelly National Monument. The comfortable rooms feature design elements from the Navajo people and the surrounding Arizona desert.
Holiday Inn Express Grants or lodging nearby- 1 night
Providing easy access to Acoma Pueblo this hotel is a great base for our New Mexico exploration. With an on-site whirlpool and heated pool take the opportunity to relax a bit after a full day of exploration.
Hotel Chaco or lodging nearby- 1 night
In the heart of Albuquerque in the Historic Old Town each of the rooms features contemporary artwork from Native American New Mexican artists. Enjoy fantastic views of the city and the surrounding Sandia mountain range from the rooftop lounge.
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Length: 8 days
Price: from $4,195
Length: 8 days
Price: from $3,595
Length: 6 days
Price: from $3,495
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