September events at Chimney Rock National Monument


By Nadia Werby
Special to The SUN
Summer is almost over, but there’s still time to enjoy Chimney Rock National Monument. Trained volunteer interpretive guides will bring this beautiful site to life so you can visualize what it might have been like to live here 1,000 years ago or you can attend a monthly program.
The Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) offers two different Night Sky Archaeoastronomy Programs; Our Solar System on Friday, Sept. 6, and Stars and Galaxies on Sept. 27. For both programs, your evening begins with an amazing sunset and interactive discussion at the Mesa Village Trailhead just off the high mesa parking lot. After the discussion, volunteer astronomers await with telescopes to provide a closer look at the wonders of the night sky. Tickets are $16 (adults) and $8 (children 5-12) plus booking fee and are nonrefundable.
CRIA is proud to host a special presentation on Thursday, Sept. 12, by Dr. J. McKim Malville, professor emeritus in the Department of Astro Physics and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado.
Malville is that rare person who has contributed professionally to both the areas of study related to Chimney Rock: astronomy and archaeology. He has analyzed astronomy and archaeology at sites throughout the world, including Machu Picchu, Egypt and England. His is the author of 10 books and numerous professional articles. His work at Chimney Rock has led to much greater interest in our site. His discoveries at Chimney Rock include the relationship between the Stone Basin and crab nebula super nova and the connection between the northern lunar standstill and the construction of the great house. The lecture is free of charge, open to the public and will begin at 7 p.m. following CRIA’s social hour at 6 p.m. at The Springs Resort and Spa (Luxury Lodge) located at 165 Hot Springs Blvd.
This month, the awe-inspiring Full Moon program takes place on Friday, Sept. 13. 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. Then, guests watch the full moon rise to the live music of Charles Martinez’ Native American flute. The program lasts approximately three hours including check-in, driving to the mesa top and hiking to the Great House Pueblo. The fee is $20, or $25 to attend the Full Moon Program following a tour of the Mesa Village Trail.
Welcome fall at Chimney Rock on Sept. 23. Watch the sun rise over the San Juan Mountains this first morning of fall. With a 360-degree vantage point and the hush of early morning in the wilderness, the sunrise from the Great House is a marvelous experience for the eyes and the spirit, and an amazing opportunity for photography. Guests will be given the opportunity to take photos and then depart the Great House on their own or join the guide for an interpreted hike with fascinating information about the importance this location is thought to have had for the people who lived here a thousand years ago. Tickets are $16 for adults and $8 for children. The program is suitable for ages 8 and above.
Chimney Rock National Monument is located 17 miles west of Pagosa Springs and 3 miles south on Colo. 151. For more information about our monthly programs and tour times, please visit 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. Most programs are at full capacity prior to the event, but we will accommodate walk-ins if space is available.
CRIA is a nonprofit organization which operates the interpretive program at Chimney Rock National Monument under a participating agreement with the USDA Forest Service/San Juan National Forest.
For more information, please visit our website at