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By Nadia Werby
Special to The PREVIEW
June is a beautiful time of year in Colorado and what better way to spend your time this summer than with the Ancients at Chimney Rock National Monument. Chimney Rock offers monthly programs, annual events and daily guided and self-guided tours that are fun and educational for the whole family.
On Friday, June 6, Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) is proud to sponsor the New Moon Viewing Program. CRIA recently received a grant through the Pagosa Springs TTC Infrastructure Grant to purchase new telescopes.
The Moon Viewing Program includes an interactive discussion at the visitor’s cabin on the archaeoastronomy of Chimney Rock and a preview of what guests may expect to see with the telescopes. Visitors will then drive to the upper parking lot for telescope viewing of specific moon locations. As the moon is setting, focus will shift to deeper-sky objects plus any man-made object that comes into view. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children (ages 5-16.)
The Full Moon Program will take place this month on Thursday, June 12. Visitors will hear Native American flute music by Charles Martinez and experience the view of the moon rising from the ridge where the Puebloan Great House is located. A walking tour of the Great Kiva and Pit House are also offered at 5:30 p.m. There is a $15 fee for attending and an additional $5 to add the early tour. The Colo. 151 gate will open at 5 p.m. and the program starts at 7:30 p.m. Moonrise is at 8:30 p.m.
The Visions of Chimney Rock Program on Sunday, June 15, is perfect for those with limited time and people who cannot do the walking tour, especially older adults and young children. This free program consists of educational talks that focus on Chimney Rock National Monument.
At this month’s Visions Program, the discussion will be “What’s for Dinner at Chimney Rock.” This is a kid-friendly, typically hands-on program limited to a small group, so reservations are required. Guests for this event will arrive at 4:30 p.m. and drive to the upper parking area, which is paved and has restrooms. There is some seating available, but guests can also bring chairs. The program will take place from 5 to 6 p.m. Though this program is free of charge, donations are greatly appreciated
The Night Sky Archaeoastronomy Program will take place on Friday, June 20. This monthly program begins with a talk at the visitor cabin amphitheater. Topics range from what the ancient people noticed in the night sky to how a telescope helps us see the stars.
As darkness descends, guests drive to the High Mesa parking lot, where volunteer astronomers await with telescopes to provide a closer look at the wonders of the night sky. Each telescope will focus on a different feature and a volunteer will change that focus periodically during the two-hour viewing time. This program is perfect for young families and those with limited mobility. The Colo. 151 gate will open at 7 p.m. The program starts at 7:30 p.m. and ends at 8:30 p.m. Observing starts at 9 p.m. and ends at 11 p.m. Reservations are suggested as space is limited. The price for this program is $10 for adults and $5 for children (ages 5-16).
Saturday, June 21, watch the sun rise on the first day of summer from two special places at Chimney Rock National Monument. The first site, the Sun Tower, which is not on the daily walking tour, offers one vantage point to watch the sunrise over a notch in the San Juan Mountains. Guests can then move to the Stone Circle to see the sun rise again over the Great House Pueblo’s north wall. The volunteer program leader will discuss several alignments at Chimney Rock and their possible importance to ancient residents. This program is not suitable for children under 12. The fee is $15 and is considered a non-refundable donation.
Come experience a unique part of America’s heritage in the shadows of Chimney Rock National Monument’s awe-inspiring twin spires. Visit this Ancient Puebloan cultural site located 17 miles west of Pagosa Springs and 3 miles south on Colo. 151. The site is also accessible for guided walking tours at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., and self-guided walking tours are available between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. The cost of the tour is $12 for adults, $5 for children ages 5-16, and under 5 free.
For guided tours tickets or monthly program tickets, 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 on guided tours and for the monthly and annual programs.