Gallo Campground

View of the campground from the Canyon Overlook Trail
A campground at the world-herative site historic park. It even has its own small ruin, and it is the trailhead for the Canyon Overlook Trail.

Campground data:

Controlling agency: National Park Service; Chaco Culture National Historic Park
Official URL:Park service campground web page
Region: Northwest; Chaco Culture National Historic Park.
CG elevation: 6256ft; 1907m
Campsite count: 49. 15 are tent-only sites. The tent sites are nicer than the general sites, but RVs and trailers are not allowed into the tent area.

There are several "RV sites" where tents are not allowed.

Visual density: 26.00. Visual density is limited by how dense it is; I could not see the most distant campsites because other, occupied campsites blocked the view. You can see the whole campground from nearly any campsite.
Fee: $15.00. You must also pay the park entry fee (good for seven days) of $20.00.
Season: All year. It can be very cold in the winter and quite hot in the summer.
Dogs: Yes. On leash. Pets are not allowed within the archeological sites. Please carry out all pet waste and keep pets under control at all times. You cannot leave your dog in the car, even in wintertime.
Horses: No.
Handicapped accessible: Yes. Site 16 and the restrooms are handicapped accessible.
General tent notes: Most of the sites have tent pads.
RV parking surface: dirt
RV pull-through spaces? No.
General RV notes: Hookups are not available, but there is a dump station.
General notes: The campground often fills up. Make a reservation or arrive very early on weekends (Friday and Saturday nights) to assure you get a space. If the campground is full, the nearest camping is at Angel Peak Recreation Area, 41 miles away.

Coyotes are often in the campground; secure your food.

The campsites have little if any shade. Consider this if you are planning on going in the summer.

Campsite 4 has a trail to one of the toilet buildings. We watched people walk through this occupied site instead of walking around it.

There is a dish washing sink in each of the bathroom buildings.

Campground facilities: tent pads, tent-only (no RV) camping area, RV dump station, trash can(s), flush toilet(s), recycling (Aluminum and plastic (no plastic bags)), reservation sites, water (Non-potable water in the campground. Potable (drinkable) water is at the visitor center.), campground host, fire pit (Fire pits have cooking grates. However, the park asks that you not bring firewood. They were selling fire logs at the visitor center in 2017.).
Campground attractions: hiking, scenery, history, geology, year-round access.

When we visited it:

Date: 2017-05-06 2003-09-13 2001-04-13
Cleanliness: 9. I found four small pieces of litter in our campsite. 9. 9.


Waypoint Type Description
CCCGCampgroundGallo Campground at Chaco Culture National Historic Park


Paper maps:
Map name Cartographer Year Scale Topo map? Online access Notes
Guide to Indian Country of Arizona Colorado New Mexico Utah Automobile Club of Southern California 1998 1:0 N from Amazon (purchase) Good overview road map for northwest NM. No scale is given on the map. The corner coordinates are approximate.
Wildernesses of New Mexico US Forest Service 1981 1:1000000 N No online copies. Base map with national forests, wilderness areas and highways.

Support this site:

By purchasing your camping gear through these links, you will support this web site and it won't cost you anything more.

Camping gear at Amazon

Save 40% on Patagonia, The North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot & More + Free Shipping over $75! Click to Save.

25% off $150 or 30% off $200 at Sierra Trading Post. Use code: ALMAY2. Valid to 6.6.2012

Getting to the campground:

The National Park Service has made it much easier to find the park than in days gone by. You used to have to guess which road to take whenever you came to a fork. They now have good signs all the way in. They also have a map online.

From Cuba, take US 550 (old NM 44) past Counselor and Lybrook. Just past mile marker 112 is the turnoff, which is across the street from the Red Mesa Express gas station and convenience store. A sign indicates the turnoff to the left. The route is well signed.

After about 4.7 miles, you will turn right on county road 7950. The road turns to gravel and then dirt. Beware that the road sometimes gets exciting when it rains. Do not cross the washes if there is any water running.

16.4 miles from the turnoff from US 550, the road turns left, and again, there is a sign here. When the road becomes really washboard-y, you are getting close. At 19.4 miles from US 550, you enter the park.

No short text
Gallo Campground entrance sign and pay station
1.5 miles into the park, the campground turnoff is on the right. The campground is about 0.25 mi down a dirt road. If you have not reserved your campsite, you need to stop here to pay your camping fee. Note that you have to pay your entrance fee at the visitor center (8:00am--5:00pm)

About the campground:

A campsite

The sites that are for either tents or RVs all are similar to the one pictured here. As you can see, they have made it easier for tenters even in these sites. This is good, because many tent campers make use of the campground.

Site 34 of the general camping is especially nice.

This is campsite 12, which is one of the no-tent sites. Besides tents officially prohibited in this site, there is no good location to pitch a tent.
campsite 12
campsite with a "reserved" sign
This is campsite 5. Note the "reserved" sign indicating that someone has already paid for the site.
Here is campsite 3; note the "Open" sign indicating it is available. Do not expect this on a Friday or Saturday from sometime in spring through fall.
campsite with an "open" sign
tent in a campsite
Here is campsite 4 while it was occupied by a person who uses to plan camping trips. It was a fun random chance meeting.

This campsite is a tent or RV site.

You do not have to leave the campground to see a ruin. The trail to this ruin is between campsites 25 and 26.

Additionally, there is a trailhead for the Wijiji trail at the campground pay station.

The ruins at the Gallo campground
Oenothera caespitosa (tufted evening primrose, desert evening primrose, rock-rose
evening primrose, or fragrant evening primrose)
At the right time of year, you might find wildflowers blooking in the campground, such as this Oenothera caespitosa (tufted evening primrose, desert evening primrose, rock-rose evening primrose, or fragrant evening primrose).

Plants we saw around the campground:

Reader comments about this campground:

On Mon May 5 21:31:58 2003 Anonymous from Somewhere said:

I camped there in mid-May 2002 initially intending to stay Friday and Saturday night. The campground was very pleasant the first night and it didn't fill up until quite late that evening. The campground was full up by 2 or 3 pm on Saturday afternoon. I remember the ranger giving instructions to disappointed campers who had driven all the way in only to find the campground full. By 5 pm the wind starting kicking up a terrific amount of dust and sand much of it concentrating right in the campground as opposed to other parts of the National Park. It was impossible to cook or eat outdoors. By 6 pm, 3/4 of the campers who had already paid for the night had departed for less dusty environs. RVs and trailers were pretty much the only campers remaining. Even a fully occupied Gallo campground may not stay that way.

I lost a hubcap off my Chrysler minivan on the way into the park and fortunately found a compatible hubcap on the way out. It was not the same hubcap.

On Wed May 24 10:43:14 2006 anonymous from nm said:
***** out of 5 in my book!

been camping here several times this year and i would say it's one of my favorites in new mexico so far. the campsites are not the best, but the setting coupled with the stargazing and variety of daytime activities is phenomenal. there are rumors that the road to chaco will be paved in 2007 necessitating a less "hands on" experience of the ruins, so if you are considering going to chaco, i'd head there soon. if you can, bring a bike to quietly explore the canyon and ruins sites [most, i believe have lock up racks].

On Sat Jan 13 13:00:23 2007 Mark from Sandia Park, NM said:
I read today that they are having major problems with the septic system in the campground. They will be limiting campers to 100 per night through the estimate repair time in August 07. So get there early and be prepared to be turned away due to lack of spaces once the warm weather returns in the Spring of 07.

This is a great place to camp and explore!

On Wed Apr 20 10:27:22 2016 Bob Washburn from St. Louis Mo said:
Gallo Campground now requires/allows advanced reservations through Much better than driving the 21 miles of unpaved road to find the campground full.

On Mon Dec 12 11:58:18 2016 Rhys Burmann from Van Nuys said:
Just checked on line reservations. During the winter season camping is open but sites are 1st come 1st serve (Walkup).

On Sat Jul 7 14:39:46 2018 Anonymous from Somewhere said:
Pls change my reservation for tentsite from July 9-10 to July 10-11 Nancy Ross 5207425618

Add your comments about the Gallo Campground campground.

Copyright © 1997-2018 Kenneth Ingham Consulting, LLC.

For details about the copyright, see the full Copyright statement.

Unhappy? Thinking of suing us? Read this disclaimer.

You can read our privacy statement.

Comments? Send them via the suggestion form.