The Chaco Phenomenon

Great kiva, Casa Rinconada

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Chaco Canyon

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Aztec Ruins

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A Chaco outlier in Colorado

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September 24–30, 2017

After more than a century of research, the “Chaco phenomenon” still provokes more questions than answers. We explore the defining characteristics of this culture—great houses such as Pueblo Bonito, small house sites, and roads—from Chaco Culture National Historical Park north to Aztec Ruins National Monument and into Colorado. Two nights are spent camping in Chaco Canyon.

Pair this trip with the October 1–7 Alumni Week session of our Archaeology Research Program!


  • Investigate the mysteries of Chaco culture with a new generation of archaeologists.
  • Visit northern Chaco outliers, including Crow Canyon’s new excavation site on private land north of Mesa Verde.
  • Discuss current theories about Chaco’s influence on culture, religion, trade, and movements of communities.

About this Program

  1. Scholars
  2. Accommodations
  3. What to Expect
  4. Details

Erin BaxterErin Baxter earned a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 2016. She has a master’s degree in museum and field studies. Erin is a dynamic presenter and seeks to reach the widest possible audience with the results of her research. This includes her commitment to teaching, publishing, and presenting her work to both professionals and the public through a variety of media. Erin’s research at Aztec Ruins National Monument has helped bring to light again the data collected by Earl Morris during his excavations at Aztec almost a century ago.

Phillip Tuwaletatiwa

Phillip Tuwaletstiwa (Hopi) is a geodetic scientist who served as executive and commanding officer on research ships for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He is president of the Hopi Wildlife Board and has also helped the Hopi Nation create an office to map, inventory, and document their cultural and natural resources. With his wife, Judy, he is currently coauthoring a novel about Chaco Canyon. Judy Tuwaletstiwa is an accomplished multimedia artists and writer: “I am seeking to use photographs, mixed media paintings, text, and sculptural objects like a poet uses words,” she says. Both Phillip and Judy have worked with Crow Canyon on previous programs, and we are excited that they will join us again as guest scholars for two nights of camping at Chaco Canyon.

This program includes two nights of camping in Chaco Canyon. You may bring your own camping equipment, or we will rent equipment for you at an additional cost. The other nights are spent in comfortable motels. Shared accommodations based on double occupancy; single accommodations are available for an additional fee of $270.

All travel is by Crow Canyon vans. Expect drives on remote dirt roads. The entire trip takes place at elevations between 5000 and 6500 feet. Most hikes are short and easy. The program does include one 5-mile round-trip hike that requires a short scramble up a cleft in the canyon wall (337-foot elevation change). Our pace will be leisurely, and assistance will be given, but you must be comfortable standing and walking for several hours at a time.

If you have any doubt about your ability to participate in a Crow Canyon trip, please contact us before registering.

Tuition is per person and based on shared accommodations. Tuition includes scholar honorarium, accommodations, meals listed, entry fees and permits, most gratuities, and transportation from arrival in Durango, Colorado, on September 24, 2017, until departure from Durango on September 30, 2017. Transportation to and from Durango is your responsibility.

All cancellation requests must be made in writing to Crow Canyon Sales and Enrollment Specialist, 23390 Road K, Cortez, CO 81321-9408, or e-mailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Cancellations become effective on the date received. The following penalty schedule applies: On or before July 24, 2017, $200 handling fee; after July 24, 2017, forfeiture of all payments.

Terms, Conditions, and Cancellation Policy

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center's programs and admission practices are open to applicants of any race, color, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, or sexual orientation.

Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California CST 2059347-50

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