Chaco Culture NHP, NM
Pueblo Alto Trail
See a murder site amid ancient ruins.
Even the purpose of this massive, 1,000-year-old complex is shrouded in mystery. The great enigmatic ruins intrigued Richard Wetherill, an amateur archaeologist shot to death here in 1910 (allegedly over a horse). Glimpse his grave and the park’s most celebrated sites on this 5.1-mile loop. Grab a free permit at the trailhead and ascend .7 mile to a 100-foot cliff overlooking Wetherill’s grave. Continue .3 mile to view Pueblo Bonito’s maze of stone circles from above, then close the loop past Chetro Ketl and the cliffside Jackson Stairs. From Pueblo Bonito itself, follow a .3-mile spur west to the sandy Wetherill family cemetery. Contemplate the mortals gone before you beneath famously dark night skies at Gallo campground (full moon Oct. 29). (505-786-7014, nps.gov/chcu) Trip ID* 1616134
The way From Albuquerque, take I-25 N to US 550 N, then go 113 miles to CR 7900. Turn right on CR 7950 and go 22 miles to the Pueblo de Arroyo trailhead.