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Desert Camping with a Baby at Chaco Canyon National Historical Park | Trip Report #1

Desert Camping with a Baby at Chaco Canyon National Historical Park | Trip Report #1

Desert Camping with a Baby at Chaco Canyon National Historical Park | Trip Report #1

The Trip Report series features real stories from real families adventuring with their kids and babies. Have a story you want to share? Email us at

Visiting Chaco Canyon is like stepping back in time: visitors are invited to camp next to Great Houses that were built starting around 800 AD. With several settlements open for exploration, it is also a fun place to roam and explore with babies and toddlers. 

At 18 months old, Morrison had a blast running around the many areas in the park that are open to exploration:

Being a high desert, with no trees around for miles, camping in Chaco Canyon means being completely exposed to the elements: sun, wind, and sand. The trade-off is being rewarded with views that seem to go on forever, and unbelievable stargazing at night (the national historical park is also a certified International Dark Sky Park). 

Keeping a baby comfortable for multiple days in the desert takes a little extra planning, so we put together a few things we learned that might aid your next adventure. 

Tips for Baby Camping in the Desert

1. Make Some Shade

Bringing your own means of creating shade is crucial to an enjoyable day in the desert. This could mean a tent, tarp, pop-up shelter, or anything else that creates a cooler area for your baby to nap out of direct sunlight. With lots of sun exposure, your baby or child will need plenty of sunscreen, a good hat, and UV-rated clothing, if available. 

2. Plan for Sand

This might seem obvious for desert camping, but one thing that caught us off-guard was the amount of sand that we found ourselves dealing with. The afternoon winds can be very strong in Chaco Canyon, and we struggled just to pitch our tent, let alone block out the sand that seemed to fly in above, below, and all around our rainfly.

This is where the sand gets in.
"This is where the sand gets in."

While we found ourselves doing what we could to keep the sand out, we were grateful that we brought a portable crib on this trip so that Morrison could be elevated off of the sandy tent bottom.

3. Hot Days / Cold Nights

It's easy to think that, because it is so hot during the day in the desert, that it does not really get cold at night. Not the case! Hot days can turn to cold nights quickly once the sun goes down. Make sure to bring layers (including warm jackets and sleeping bags) so that you can stay comfy no matter what.

Have you been to Chaco Canyon? Or gone camping with your family in the desert? Leave us your top tip in the comments below!