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On Sept. 21, 2012, President Barack Obama designated the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area as America’s 103rd national monument—the seventh to be managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Covering 4,726 acres of the San Juan National Forest between Pagosa Springs and Durango, Colo., the Chimney Rock National Monument is a significant archaeological, cultural, geological and biological site.
Home to Ancient Pueblo Indians
What Will I See?
- More than 100 significant Pueblo Indian archaeological sites.
- Migratory mule deer and elk during the fall and spring.
About This Destination
The San Juan National Forest encompasses about 1.8 million acres in the southwestern corner of Colorado. Terrain ranges from high-desert mesas to alpine peaks, with thousands of miles of back roads and hundreds of miles of trails to explore.
What Should I Know?
- Located one-half mile from the entrance off Highway 151, the Visitor Center Cabin is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from May 15 to Sept. 30. Volunteers and staff provide site and tour information.
- The Visitor Center Cabin has a pit-house model and artifact display and offers a selection of books, gifts, and souvenirs, as well as necessities such as bottled water, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
- Picnic tables, restrooms, but no running water, are available near the Visitor Center Cabin.
- Chimney Rock Interpretive Association offers daily guided walking tours May 15 – Sept. 30. Tours start at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and typically last about 2 1/2 hours. Bring water, hat, sunscreen, bug repellant, and good walking shoes for the rough Great House trail. Reservations are required for groups of 10 or more.
- Pets are not allowed on tours. A shaded kennel is available on a first come, first served basis.
- A handicapped accessible, self-guided tour features the Great Kiva and a reconstructed pit house. Numbered sign posts along the path correspond to a printed brochure that describes each numbered stop along the way. The self-guided tour is only available from 10:45 am to 2:45 p.m., when Volunteer Monitors are on site. Please call the site at 970-883-5359 and inquire about self-guided tours for the day you plan to visit Chimney Rock.
- Fees for guided and self-guided tours are collected at the Visitor Center Cabin: $10 for adults (17 and older); $5 for children ages 5-16; free for children under 5.
- Chimney Rock Interpretive Association also offers pottery workshops, night sky programs and Native American cultural gatherings.