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Chimney Rock National Monument opens for the season

By Nadia Werby
Special to The PREVIEW

Photo courtesy Howard Rowe  Chimney Rock National Monument opens for the season today. There are numerous events planned this summer at the ancient Puebloan cultural site, located 17 miles west of Pagosa Springs.

Photo courtesy Howard Rowe 
Chimney Rock National Monument opens for the season today. There are numerous events planned this summer at the ancient Puebloan cultural site, located 17 miles west of Pagosa Springs.

Experience a unique part of America’s heritage in the shadows of Chimney Rock National Monument’s awe-inspiring twin spires this summer.

Visit this ancient Puebloan cultural site located 17 miles west of Pagosa Springs and 3 miles south on Colo. 151. The site is accessible for guided walking tours starting May 15 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 is free.

Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) also sponsors monthly events at Chimney Rock National Monument including the Full Moon Program Wednesday, May 14, the free Visions of Chimney Rock Program on Sunday, May 18, and the Night Sky Archaeoastronomy Program on Friday, May 23. Memorial Day Weekend (May 23-26) is Local Appreciation Days at Chimney Rock National Monument. Residents from Pagosa, Ignacio, Arboles, Durango and surrounding communities are invited to visit Chimney Rock to enjoy half-priced guided tours all weekend long.

At the Full Moon Program on Wednesday, May 14, visitors will hear Native American flute music by Charles Martinez, experience the view of the moon rising from the ridge where the Puebloan Great House is located, and our speaker, Ron Sutcliffe, will share insights into the Chimney Rock Great House and lunar understandings.

Sutcliffe is a researcher of ancient astronomy of the Southwest and has written a book on the moon cycles in the ancient Puebloan buildings. Ron is an adjunct professor at Northern Arizona University and guest lecturer at many other institutions, including Chaco Canyon National Historic Park, Aztec Ruins National Monument, Colorado College, the Society for Cultural Astronomy in the American Southwest and the Cosmic Serpent.

A walking tour of the Great Kiva and Pit House are also offered. There is a $15 fee for attending and an additional $5 to add the early tour. Specific information and arrival times for the Full Moon Program are listed on the website at www.chimneyrockco.org.

The Visions of Chimney Rock Program on Sunday, May 18, is perfect for those with limited time and people who cannot do the walking tour, especially older adults and young children, those with physical limitations and those who work during the week. At this months’ Visions Program Laren Traver, a Chimney Rock volunteer, will discuss “The Geology of Chimney Rock” and Martinez will play his flutes.

This program is free of charge and is appropriate for any age. The whole family is encouraged to attend: children, parents, and grandparents. 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 p.m. to 6 p.m. Though this program is free of charge, donations are greatly appreciated. Call the cabin at 883-5339 for more information or go to www.chimneyrockco.org to make a reservation for this informative and fun event.

Include Chimney Rock in your plans this summer. CRIA is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that runs the daily operations and interpretive program at Chimney Rock National Monument in partnership with the USDA Forest Service and the San Juan National Forest.

This story was posted on May 15, 2014.