Overview

Designated an Archaeological Area and National Historic Site in 1970, Chimney Rock lies on 4,100 acres of San Juan National Forest land surrounded by the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. The site was home to the ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians 1,000 years ago and is of great spiritual significance to these tribes. Their ancestors built over 200 homes and ceremonial buildings high above the valley floor, probably to be near the sacred twin rock pinnacles. Since the 1960's, Dr. Frank Eddy of the University of Colorado and others have studied the site, and research continues.

 

Chimney Rock was proclaimed an United States National Monument by President Obama on Sept. 21, 2012. The 4,726-acre site offers insight into ancient Native American cultures. As the president’s proclamation says, it “is one of the best recognized archaeoastronomical resources in North America. Virtually all building clusters have views of Chimney Rock and Companion Rock, which frame multiple astronomical alignments and illustrate the Ancestral Pueblo People’s knowledge of astronomy.”

Chimney Rock Archaeological Site

Key Attractions

  • Chimney Rock monument - twin spires of red rock resembling chimney stacks, surrounded by thousands of acres of land that hold hundreds of prehistoric sites, including kivas, dwellings, pueblos, and more

  • Visitor Center - travelers can find necessities, gifts, and souvenirs, as well as a model of a Pit House and an artifact display

  • Tours - visitors can embark on walking tours or guided tours that visit some remarkable prehistoric dwellings, starting from the Visitor Center

  • Hiking, fishing, hot air ballooning, scenic driving, etc. - all popular recreational activities along the Chimney Rock National Monument

 

Location

Chimney Rock National Monument lies within the San Juan National Forest, between Durango and Pagosa Springs in southwestern Colorado.

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