By Nadia Werby | Chimney Rock Interpretive Association
Summer is here and it’s time to get outside and explore.
At Chimney Rock National Monument, you can view the stars, the full moon or take a tour of this majestic place where the Ancient Puebloans used to live. Chimney Rock offers special interpretive programs that are fun and educational for the whole family.
June special events
The Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) offers two different Night Sky Archaeoastronomy Programs: Our Solar System on Friday, June 3, 7:15-10 p.m., and Stars and Galaxies on Friday, June 27. For both programs, your evening begins with a 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. Check our website for program times and bring your questions.
This month’s Geology Tour will take place on June 1, 8, 15, 27 and 29, 7 to 8:30 a.m. This program includes a 2.5-hour guided tour that explores local geology and its relationship to the daily lives of the Ancestral Puebloans who lived at Chimney Rock. Tour participants will hear the events in the ancient geology of the area and learn how to identify a common trace fossil in the area. Guests must arrive for check-in at 7 a.m. Tickets are $16/adult and $8/child (ages 5-12).
The Flora of Chimney Rock tour will take place on June 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 24 and 28. On Tuesdays, the tour takes place from 8 to 9:30 a.m. and on Thursdays the tour is from 5 to 6:30 p.m. A thousand years ago, the people who lived at Chimney Rock depended on the plants around them for food, fuel, tools, housing, clothing, medicine and art. The breadth and depth of their knowledge is almost unimaginable today. At this special program, visitors will receive an introduction to some of the plant species that grow at Chimney Rock and their uses by Ancestral Puebloan people. The 1.5-hour guided tour will include the Great House and requires negotiation of a steep, rough trail with exposure to heights and drop-offs. Tickets are $16/adult and $8/child (5-12).
The Birding at Chimney Rock tour takes place on June 4 and 25 from 7:15 to 9:30 a.m. This program, presented in partnership with the local chapter of the Audubon Society, is a wonderful opportunity to observe and learn about birds native to the Chimney Rock area. Experienced Audubon birders will lead and assist the group, walking in the lower area of Chimney Rock National Monument (no archaeological sites are included on this tour). This program takes place off-trail, on uneven ground, with some mild up and down walking. Exact location will vary. Please bring your own binoculars if you have them. The fee is $16 for adults and $8 for ages 5-12, and is considered a nonrefundable donation.
The Mysteries of Chimney Rock Tour occurs most Mondays and Thursdays (June 6, 9, 16, 20, 23, 27 and 30). The Monday tour is from 5 to 7:30 p.m. and the Thursday tour is from 7 to 9:30 a.m. This engaging two-hour tour is led by a trained CRIA tour guide. The tour will spotlight a number of general topics aimed at interpreting the history and significance of Chimney Rock and the Ancestral Puebloans who inhabited the area over a thousand years ago. You will learn about the connection of Chimney Rock to the greater Chaco culture, the significance of the mesa-top Great House, and the day-to-day lives of the inhabitants of Chimney Rock. You will walk both the Mesa Village and Great House Pueblo Trails, learning about the structures along each trail, including their significance and uses. The tours are conducted in the quiet off-hours of the monument. Bring your curiosity, camera, sturdy shoes and water. Check our website for tour times. Tickets are $16/adult and $8/child (ages 5-12).
This month’s Full Moon program will take place on June 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. Guests will then watch the full moon rise to the 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. 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 gate by 5:45 p.m. Guests who plan to attend the Full Moon Program only, please check in at the gate between 6:45 and 7 p.m.
The Moonlight Melody program (June 12) is similar to the Full Moon program, but is more accessible to all visitors since it takes place at the lower area of the monument — no strenuous hiking involved.
Our Sketching at the Pinnacles program is new for 2022. This class is part art, part reflection, part nature study and a little visit to Chimney Rock National Monument all rolled into one. For a unique, reflective evening experience along the paved Mesa Village Trail to the Great Kiva, join us on June 7 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.
Other June programs
Summer Solstice Program : June 20, 21 and 22, 4:30 to 6:45 a.m.
Night Sky: Stars and Galaxies: June 17, 7:15 to 10 p.m.
Kids’ Workshops: June 3, 6, 13, 22, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. For this program only, contact the CRIA office at (970) 731-7133 to register your child.
For tickets for any of these special programs (except the Kids’ Workshops), please visit www.chimneyrockco.org or call (877) 444-6777. A $1 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 these special interpretive programs.
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 2021 Calendar of Events, go to www.chimneyrockco.org.
CRIA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that offers interpretive programs at Chimney Rock National Monument in partnership with the USDA Forest Service and the San Juan National Forest. For more information, see the CRIA website at www.chimneyrockco.org or call (970) 731-7133.