Aztec Ruins National Monument and Chaco Culture National Historical Park will host programs in honor of the winter solstice. Both events will allow visitors to view sunrise and sunset alignments at Ancestral Puebloan Great Houses. Aztec’s event will take place December 20 and 21 and Chaco’s on December 21. Select “Read More” for specific times at each location.
The winter solstice event at Aztec Ruins National Monument will take place on December 20 and 21. To view this sunset event, visitors must arrive at the visitor center by 4:30pm to join the rangers and volunteers who will be escorting visitors to the Aztec West great house alignment location. Assuming that the western skies are clear, visitors will be able to observe the alignment of the north wall of Aztec West with the sunset position on the western horizon. During the winter solstice, the sunset location appears to “stand still” in its southernmost point on the horizon for multiple days. Please wear sturdy walking shoes, and dress for the weather.
For those wanting some insight into this fascinating solar event, Aztec Ruins will offer two ranger programs in the visitor center: one program starting before the solar observation at 3:45pm and the other starting just after sunset around 5:00pm. After the sunset observation, enjoy cookies and hot cocoa provided by the Friends of Aztec Ruins while learning about Pueblo winter traditions, other solar alignments, and the astronomy of the December sky.
For more information about the solstice events at Aztec Ruins call (505) 334-6174.
The event at Chaco Culture National Historical Park will take place on December 21. Join Park Astronomers for the Winter Solstice sunrise alignment at Kin Kletso. The first 100 visitors who arrive will be allowed past the gate to witness this event. Gates will open at 6:00am. Gallo Campground reservations are recommended and can be made at recreation.gov. Cookies and coffee provided by the Friends of Chaco will be available at the visitor center after the sunrise program.
Following the sunrise program there will be a ranger guided tour of Pueblo Bonito at 10:00am. At 2:00pm visitors can awaken to the six directions as you experience Dr. Cherilynn Morrow’s “Connect to Chaco’s Center Place” program. Dr. Cherilynn Morrow earned her PhD in Astrophysical, Planetary, and Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1988. She conducted graduate research in solar physics at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and post-doctoral research at Cambridge University. While a graduate student, she received an NCAR achievement award for her service as an NCAR tour guide for diverse audiences, ranging from scientific researchers visiting from other countries to local school or scouting groups. Both of these programs will meet at the Pueblo Bonito Parking lot.
For more questions about Chaco’s solstice program call 505-786- 7014.
Aztec Ruins National Monument provides visitors an intimate opportunity to explore ancient ruins built by the ancient Ancestral Puebloans in the 1100s. Aztec Ruins features ceremonial, public, and storage structures as well as the "Great Kiva" the oldest and largest reconstructed Kiva in North America.Learn More »
Chaco Culture National Historical Park, also known as Chaco Canyon, is the largest excavated prehistoric ruins in North America and is a must see for history buffs and outdoor lovers! Chaco was the center of the ancestral Puebloan culture from AD 850 to 1200. Attractions within the park include Chacoan great houses, kivas, rock art and stunning vistas . The hallmark Chacoan roads and geometric layout of structures captivates visitors from around the world.Learn More »