By Nadia Werby
Special to The SUN
Come experience a unique part of America’s heritage this summer in the shadows of Chimney Rock National Monument’s awe-inspiring twin spires. Chimney Rock will open for the 2019 season on Wednesday, May 15.
The site is accessible for guided tours and audio-guided tours. The price for guided tours is $16/adult and $8/child (ages 5-12). The price for audio-guided tours is $12/adult and $6/child (ages 5-12). There is no charge for children under 5.
Chimney Rock National Monument is a protected archaeological site with limited access through tours only. Tours begin at the visitor cabin, where fees are collected. Then guests drive in their own vehicles to the high mesa. All tours are first-come, first-served. No reservations are required.
Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) sponsors monthly and annual events at Chimney Rock National Monument including the Night Sky: Our Solar System Program, Night Sky: Stars and Galaxies Program, the Full Moon Program, Sunrise photo tours, geology tours, the Stories at Sunset Program, and the always fun and free Life at Chimney Rock Festival.
The first program of the season will take place on Saturday, May 18. The Full Moon Program occurs against the backdrop of the Great House Pueblo at the top of Chimney Rock Mesa. The program includes an informative lecture on topics specific to the Chimney Rock site, such as the ancestral Puebloan culture, archaeoastronomy theories or area geology. Then, guests watch the full moon rise to the music of Charles Martinez’s Native American flute. (This moon-rise does not occur between the spires.) You’ll be torn between looking west to see the spectacular sunset and focusing on the eastern mountain range to see the first sliver of moon.
The program lasts approximately three hours including check-in, driving to the mesa top and hiking to the Great House Pueblo. This program is recommended for ages 8 and up. There is a $20 fee for attending or $25 to attend the Full Moon Program with an early tour.
Guests who plan to attend the early tour, please check in at the visitor cabin by 6:15 p.m. Guests who plan to attend the Full Program only, please check in at the visitor cabin between 6:45-7 p.m. The Full Moon Program begins at 7:45 p.m. The Full Moon Program is approximately 2.5 hours long. For tickets, please visit www.chimneyrockco.org or call (877) 444-6777. A booking fee applies to each ticket purchased online or through the call center. Purchasing your tickets in advance is the only way to guarantee a spot for the monthly and annual programs.
CRIA also hosts a lecture series several times a year to offer the opportunity for the public and CRIA volunteers to gather and hear a speaker whose topic relates to southwest archaeology, archaeoastronomy and/or Chacoan culture.
The next lecture will be held on Thursday, May 9. Linda Baker, the director of the Southern Ute Museum in Ignacio, will be presenting “The Momentum of the Southern Ute Museum since the Takeover by the Tribe in May 2016.”
Baker will also discuss the relationship between the Southern Ute and Chimney Rock. The lecture is free of charge and will begin at 7 p.m., following CRIA’s social hour at 6 p.m. at The Springs Resort and Spa (EcoLuxe building) located at 165 Hot Springs Blvd. The public is invited to join CRIA for the social hour preceding the lecture at 6 p.m. This is great way to meet our amazing volunteer team and learn more about Chimney Rock and ways to get involved.
Include Chimney Rock in your plans this summer. This ancestral Puebloan cultural site is located 17 miles west of Pagosa and 3 miles south on Colo. 151. To view the Chimney Rock National Monument 2019 Calendar of Events, go to www.chimneyrockco.org.
CRIA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that runs the daily operations and interpretive program at Chimney Rock National Monument under a participating agreement with the USDA Forest Service/San Juan National Forest.
By Nadia Werby