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CHIMNEY ROCK NATIONAL MONUMENT, CO

part ofSan Juan National Forest, US Forest Service

Overview:

Chimney Rock lies within the San Juan National Forest, between Durango and Pagosa Springs in southwestern Colorado. The Monument encompasses 4,726 acres, preserving hundreds of prehistoric sites that dot the landscape around the twin spires known as Chimney Rock and Companion Rock.

Home to the ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians, the site represents spiritual significance to many tribes; the Ancestral Puebloans built more than 200 homes and ceremonial buildings high above the valley floor, probably to be near the twin rock pinnacles. Some ancient structures have been excavated and stabilized for viewing including: Great Kiva, Pit House, Multi-Family Dwelling, and a Chacoan style Great House Pueblo. Many unexcavated structures stimulate the imagination.

The northeastern-most Chacoan outlier is one of the highest elevation Ancestral Puebloan sites. The mountain peaks to the north and east made it an ideal spot for tracking the movement of the sun and moon. The people of Chimney Rock may have used signal towers at various locations to transmit calendric information to Chaco Canyon.

The Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and conducts daily tours and operates the Visitor Center during the season from May 15 through September 30. Their mission, in partnership with the San Juan National Forest, is to provide the site's care, protection, and preservation, as well as public interpretation and education, and manage the interpretive program at the Monument under a special use permit with the Pagosa Ranger District, USDA Forest Service. CRIA offers both self-guided and guided tours seven days a week. The Visitor Center is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily with the exception of special events.

Know Before You Go:

  • None of the ancient structures are visible from the parking lot.
  • Tours may be canceled during special events or due to threatening weather. Public access to the Pueblo Trail is seasonally restricted beyond the enclosure fence. During this seasonal closure (March 1 - September 30), only guided tours operated by the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association may use the trail, under authority of the USDA Forest Service special use permit.
  • No water at the site. Bottled water can be purchased at the Visitor Center.
  • All fees are non-refundable.
  • Safety is our top priority. Please wear sturdy shoes, sun protection, and proper clothing for high desert elevation with potential weather changes.
  • Private group tours of 10 or more can be reserved by calling 970-731-7133.
  • Pets are not permitted on the interpretive trails. Kennels are available at the Visitor Center. Please do not leave pets in your vehicle or tied outside as there is no shade.
  • There is limited power and phone service available.

Getting There:

Chimney Rock National Monument
3179 State Hwy 151
Chimney Rock, Co 81121

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. Pull into parking area on left hand side and park in front of Visitor's Center to check in for your tour.

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. Pull into parking area on left hand side and park in front of Visitor's Center to check in for your tour.

Note: The entrance gate is open 9:00am to 4:30pm daily in-season May 15 to September 30.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

PO Box 1662
Pagosa Springs  CO  81147

Phone Number:

Information:  (970)883-5359
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