The Penasco Blanco Trail goes a little more than seven miles to an ancient pueblo that goes by the same name. The out and back trek to Penasco Blanco will be a total of over 14 miles, so it definitely will not appeal to everybody, especially during the hot summer months. On the plus side, this long trail goes over level ground on the valley floor, so other than the mileage, this long hike is relatively easy to accomplish. However, doing the complete 14 mile round trip alone is not recommended because this is rattlesnake country and if an emergency arises, any rescue attempt might as well be a million miles away. Packing plenty of water and snacks is the key for a pleasant experience, so a sturdy day pack along with comfortable hiking shoes will be needed for completing the entire Penasco Blanco Trail.
The majority of people that hike the Penasco Blanco Trail only go to a few points of interest located within a comfortable range before turning back. The options for a half day hiking excursion along this trail include Kin Kletso, Casa Chiquita and a long petroglyph wall. Both the world famous Super Nova Pictograph and the Penasco Blanco Pueblo are located near the end point, so these Penasco Blanco Trail destinations will require a full day to experience. The Kin Kletso Great House Pueblo is the most popular destination on the Penasco Blanco Trail, because this the where the foot trail to the mesa top Pueblo Alto and Pueblo Bonito Overlook begins. Kin Kletso is located less than a mile from the starting point and only a healthy little walk on a level dirt road is required, so practically anybody can tour this ancient sacred place.
Kin Kletso is also called Yellow House, which reflects upon the deep golden yellow color of the stone building blocks. This pueblo complex has a rectangular floor plan shape with over 65 rooms and five kivas. The remaining center walls suggest this structure was well over two stories tall and the walls were extra thick, so the settling of the soft valley floor ground material may have been a problem. There is no large courtyard or any other large satellite structures at Kin Kletso, which sets this great house pueblo apart from the rest in this end of Chaco Canyon. By following the Alto Pueblo Trail up the side of the bluff, a clear overview of the Kin Kletso floor plan design can be experienced, so be sure to have a look!
There is a lot of ancient history to ponder over at Kin Kletso and what lies in store further down the Penasco Blanco Trail will provide many more memories that will last for many years to come. Kin Kletso is the first stop on this lengthy Chaco hiking trail and this is as far as most visitors are willing to go, so plenty of breathing room can be found in this remote area. Staying hydrated is the key to making this short hike a pleasant experience, so be sure to pack plenty of water when touring this end of the Chaco Culture National Historical Park!
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