Chimney Rock – Ancestral Temple of the Sky

Chimney Rock National Monument is an undiscovered gem located at the southern edge of the San Juan Mountains. At more than 7,000 feet above sea level, the ancient Chimney Rock settlement was the sacred center of astrological and calendrical knowledge for Ancestral Puebloans of the Chaco Canyon.

This undiscovered gem is an intimate, off-the-beaten-path archaeological site located at the southern edge of the San Juan Mountains in Southwestern Colorado. You’ll walk in the footsteps of the fascinating and enigmatic Ancestral Puebloans of the Chaco Canyon, following primitive pathways that haven’t changed for 1,000 years. Archaeological structures and artifacts, abundant wildlife, and its setting in the breathtaking San Juan National Forest make Chimney Rock a must-see.

Chimney Rock covers seven square miles and preserves 200 ancient homes and ceremonial buildings, some of which have been excavated for viewing and exploration: a Great Kiva, a Pit House, a Multi-Family Dwelling, and a Chacoan-style Great House Pueblo. Chimney Rock is the highest in elevation of all the Chacoan sites, at about 7,000 feet above sea level. From the base, the hike to the top is just a half-mile and it’s rewarded with dramatic 360-degree views of Colorado and New Mexico.

Chimney Rock National Monument is a protected archaeological site with limited access through tours only from May 15 through September 30. There is no entry fee at the Monument; tour fees covering these “expanded amenities” are the only fees. All tours begin at the visitor cabin where fees are collected. Guests then drive in their own vehicles to the high mesa. Only people on tours may drive to the mesa top. The drive is 2 1/2 miles up a steep, winding gravel road to the upper parking lot (7,400 feet elevation), where both Guided Tours and Audio-Guided Tours begin. The ancient structures are not visible from the mesa top. Tours do not climb Chimney Rock nor Companion Rock. All tours are first-come-first-serve and have a 25 person maximum. No reservations required.

Director – Preston Benson

Executive Producer – Matt Crossett & Laurie Sigillito

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