Photo: Summer Solstice Photo: Summer Solstice Photo: Summer Solstice


Summer Solstice

Historic Tour
2 hr. 00 min.
Ticket Availability


Tour Description

Observe the summer solstice amid the ancient ruins of Chimney Rock mesa. Attendees enter the National Monument in pre-dawn darkness and meet a volunteer program leader who will escort them to two special places on Chimney Rock mesa. First, an unexcavated ruin, now called the Sun Tower, offers a dramatic vantage point to watch the sun rise over a notch in the San Juan Mountains. A Stone Circle carved into the bedrock below the Great House Pueblo offers a second opportunity to see the sun rise again over the Great House Pueblo's north wall. The volunteer program leader describes several alignments at Chimney Rock and their possible importance to ancient residents.

Program Date:

Sunday June 21, 2015:
HWY gate entry is open from 5:00am-5:05am. Sunrise is at approximately 5:48am.

Tour Details

  • Duration: 2 hr. 00 min.
  • Distance: 0.5 miles
  • Number of Steps: 0
  • Accessible: No
  • Effort: Easy

Know Before You Go

  • No late arrivals, entry gate closes 15 minutes before tour time.
  • Visitors should check in at the Visitor Center located one-half mile inside the entrance gate.
  • Dress for outdoor weather: wind, insects, cool temperatures, etc., should be considered.
  • Please wear sturdy walking shoes, sunblock, and hat.
  • Each person attending should have water and a flashlight.
  • Attendees may bring a cushion or blanket to sit on; no chairs are allowed.
  • For your own safety, stay for the entire program. This is an adult program and not suitable for children under 12 years of age.
  • Please note: moon does not rise between the pinnacles.
  • Ancient structures are not visible from a vehicle.
  • During operating hours, all access to the archaeological sites is via tour/program operated under agreement with the Forest Service by the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association, a not-for-profit, volunteer organization. Fees are for tours and programs. Fees are used to support the interpretive programs and maintain the site. All fees are non-refundable.
  • You are responsible for the safety of yourself and family. This is a high desert location: proper hydration and sun protection are vital to your comfort and safety. Bring water (or hydration liquid such as Gatorade). Drinking water throughout tours and programs is highly encouraged. Bottled water and Gatorade are available for purchase at the Visitor Center but there are no other potable water sources at the site.
  • If you have an issue with heights and or physical exertion you may find the trail to the Great House Pueblo challenging.
  • Pit toilet-style restrooms are available at the Visitor Center and the upper parking lot.
  • Smoking and alcoholic beverages are not permitted anywhere in the National Monument.
  • Pets are not permitted on trails but there are some kennels available at the Visitor Center. It is not safe to leave pets in vehicles as parking areas provide little shade.
  • Except for water and Gatorade-type drinks, food and beverages are allowed only at the Visitor Center area or inside private vehicles.






From Pagosa Springs, Colorado: Drive 16 miles west on Hwy 160 from Pagosa Springs to the Hwy 151 turnoff to Chimney Rock National Monument. Turn left onto Hwy 151 and drive 3 miles south to the entrance of Chimney Rock National Monument. Turn right and drive through the entrance gate 1/2 mile to the Visitor Center.

From Durango, Colorado: Drive 44 miles east on Hwy 160 from Durango to the Hwy 151 turnoff to Chimney Rock National Monument. Turn right onto Hwy 151 and drive 3 miles south to the entrance of Chimney Rock National Monument. Turn right and drive through the entrance gate 1/2 mile to the Visitor Center.

Note: The entrance gate is open 5:00-5:05a.m. daily in-season May 15 to September 30.

Note: Some Tours may be available only from the Tour Park on a first-come-first-served basis. Arrival dates earlier than the online-reservation-window may also be available at the Tour Park.
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