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By Nadia Werby
Special to The PREVIEW
July is a great time to explore and get outside at Chimney Rock National Monument. View the stars, the full moon or take a tour of this spectacular monument where the Ancient Puebloans used to live. Chimney Rock offers monthly programs, annual events and daily guided and self-guided tours that are fun and educational for the whole family.
On Saturday, July 5, Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) is proud to sponsor the Moon Viewing Program. This program includes an interactive discussion at the visitor’s cabin on the archaeoastronomy of Chimney Rock and then visitors 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 and 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 Saturday, July 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 6 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 6 p.m. and the program starts at 8 p.m. Moonrise is at 9 p.m.
The Night Sky Archaeoastronomy Program will take place on Friday, July 18. 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 10:45 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).
This year’s Native American Cultural Gathering will be held on Saturday and Sunday, July 19 and 20. The Native American Cultural Gathering brings together traditional singers, storytellers and dancers from various pueblos. These traditional presentations give the public an opportunity to envision how the site might have been used centuries ago. While tours of the site are canceled for this special event, this is a unique opportunity to view living history. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children. No reservations are necessary, so pack up the family and spend an exciting and educational day at Chimney Rock.
CRIA’s annual, free Life at Chimney Rock Festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The festival includes an invitational Native American Arts and Crafts Market, family activities and interactive demonstrations of the skills of the ancients.
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 is free.
For guided tour 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. Most programs are at full capacity prior to the event, but we will accommodate walk-ins if space is available. Booking fees do not apply to walk-ins.
CRIA is a nonprofit 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.