By Nadia Werby | Chimney Rock Interpretive Association
There’s still time to enjoy Chimney Rock National Park this summer.
Guided tours and monthly special programs bring this beautiful site to life so you can visualize what it might have been like to live here 1,000 years ago.
Full Moon Program
and Early Tour
The Full Moon Program will take place on Aug. 30 this month against the backdrop of the Great House Pueblo at the top of Chimney Rock Mesa.
Beginning about an hour before moonrise, an informative lecture on topics specific to the Chimney Rock site (ancestral Puebloan culture, archaeoastronomy theories, area geology, etc.) is followed by the music of Charles Martinez’s Native American flute as the full moon rises. 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 (2.5 miles up a winding dirt road with 20 mph speed limit — allow 15 minutes each way), and hiking to the Great House Pueblo. Please keep in mind that the lecture before the moon rises is approximately 30 minutes in length and the hike back down the high mesa occurs after dark. This program is recommended for ages 8 and up.
On Aug. 30, guests must arrive for check-in between 5 and 5:15 p.m. Tickets are $20 plus a booking fee and are considered a nonrefundable, nontransferable donation. Guests are also offered the opportunity to take a tour on the Mesa Village Trail before the Full Moon Program begins with the Early Tour Full Moon Package. The cost for this program is $25 plus a booking fee. Guests must arrive between 6:30 and 6:40 p.m. for the early tour.
Birding at Chimney Rock
Join us on Aug. 19 and 30 for a fun and casual two-hour bird walk led by a knowledgeable birding guide from the Weminuche Audubon Society.
These outings are designed to introduce you to the diverse community of birds that spend their summer at Chimney Rock National Monument. Birders of all skill levels are welcome to participate. Your guide will help you identify various species and explain the unique adaptations that allow these birds to survive here.
Good walking shoes are advised, along with plenty of water and sun protection. Bring binoculars if you have them. It is not recommended for young children. Guests must enter through the Colo. 151 entry gate between 7:45 and 8 a.m. This is a reservations-only program. Tickets are $16 (ages 13 and up), $8 (ages 5-12), under 5 free, and are considered a nonrefundable, nontransferable donation.
Art at the Pinnacles
The Art at the Pinnacles class takes place on Tuesdays. This class is part art, part reflection, part nature study and a little bit of a visit to Chimney Rock National Monument — all rolled into one. Together we will find a just perfect spot and get oriented to the site. Our goal will be to become centered at the site and then focus on our art materials.
Please check our website for details on what the emphasis will be for each class. Afterward, there will be a sharing with each other of what we have learned. No art talent is required, just a desire to be open to suggestions and willing to try a hand at self-expression. Materials will be provided to each participant.
Participants must check in at 5 p.m. The fee is $20 per person (age 8 and up) including all materials and is considered a nonrefundable donation.
Guided Great House Tour
The Guided Great House Tour takes place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. This guided tour takes visitors 1/3 of a mile up the Great Pueblo Trail and makes several stops along the way to enjoy the ancient Puebloan structures built more than 1,000 years ago. Hear the archaeological details that connect this civilization to the Chaco culture located 90 miles southwest of this spot.
At the end of the trail, visitors will enjoy the 360-degree view from atop the mountain ridge and have the closest view of the two pinnacles: Chimney Rock and Companion Rock. The tour is available by reservation for up to 10 people and walk-ins are allowed if room allows.
This program is recommended for ages 5 and up. Attendees must arrive at the plaza kiosk by 10 a.m.; the tour begins at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are $12 (ages 13 and up) and $5 (ages 5-12) plus a booking fee and are nonrefundable. Walk-ins do not pay a booking fee, but the tour may be canceled for insufficient attendees. The USFS daily use fee must be paid (or applicable federal pass used) since this program occurs during the monument’s regular daily open hours.
Mysteries of Chimney Rock Tour
The Mysteries of Chimney Rock Tour takes place on Monday and Friday mornings from 8 to 10:15 a.m. and on Wednesday evenings from 5 to 7:15 p.m. This engaging two-hour 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 walk both the Mesa Village and Great House Pueblo Trails, learning about the structures along each trail, including their significance and uses. You will be treated to the stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Guests must arrive 15 minutes before the program starts. Tickets are $16 (ages 13 and up), $8 (ages 5-12), under 5 free, and are considered a nonrefundable, nontransferable donation.
Geology Tours take place on Tuesday and Saturday mornings from 8 to 10:30 a.m. and on Thursday evenings from 5 to 7:30 p.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 15 minutes before the program begins. Tickets are $16 for adults and $8 for children (ages 5-12).
The Night Sky: Stars
The Night Sky: Stars and Galaxies will take place on Aug. 18.
This program is timed for when the moon is absent from the sky, in order to enjoy the night sky in a truly dark environment and see deep-sky objects such as binary stars, globular star clusters, open clusters, various nebulae and other galaxies.
Guests must arrive for check-in between 7 and 7:15 p.m. and the program begins at 8:30 p.m.
The Night Sky:
Our Solar System
The Night Sky: Our Solar System program will take place on Aug. 25.
This program is timed for when the moon is wonderfully visible in the early night sky. That makes it so we can enjoy the moon and several planets, along with some deep sky objects that are beyond our galaxy that we can see with the telescopes. Guests must arrive for check-in between 6:45 and 7 p.m., and the program begins at 8:15 p.m.
There are three parts to the Night Sky Programs program, starting with a live brief history of Chimney Rock, followed by a video presentation about the ancient people and explaining why astronomy was such an important part of their lives. The third part of the program is a recorded presentation that gives understanding of deep-sky objects such as binary stars, globular star clusters, open cluster, various nebulae and other galaxies. The program includes basic astronomy that will prepare you for what we will be seeing through our telescopes.
Tickets are $16 for ages 13 and up, $8 for ages 5-12, under 5 free, and are considered a nonrefundable, nontransferable donation.
Flute Music at Twilight Under the Pinnacles
The Flute, Moon and Stars program takes place on Aug. 26 in the amphitheater area, with an amazing view of the pinnacles above.
The program will begin with a relaxing walk up the 1/4-mile nature trail above the amphitheater and, upon returning to the amphitheater, the program resumes with an informative lecture on topics specific to the Chimney Rock site.
As the moonlight increases and evening falls, you will be treated to the haunting melodies of a native American flute played by our own Charles Martinez. Gaze in wonder as the moon rises as it did over 1,000 years ago when the ancestral Puebloans called Chimney Rock home.
Guests must enter through the Colo. 151 entry gate between 5:45 and 6 p.m. The program ends at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $16 (age 13 and up) and $8 (ages 5-12) plus a booking fee and are nonrefundable and nontransferable.
For tickets for any of these special programs, 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. Chimney Rock uses a fee system. All vehicles and motorcycles will be subject to an activity pass fee of $20. The activity pass fee provides five days of access to the Chimney Rock National Monument. To purchase your required activity pass, you can:
• Purchase your activity pass in advance at Recreation.gov.
• Download the Recreation.gov mobile app — purchase your pass in advance or arrive on-site and use the app to provide payment (Android or iOS) by scanning the on-site QR code.
• Arrive on-site and pay cash.
• Interagency, Access, Senior, Military and fourth-grader park passes are accepted for national monument access.
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 calendar of events, go to www.chimneyrockco.org.
The Chimney Rock Interpretive Association 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.