August events at Chimney Rock National Monument


By Nadia Werby

Special to The SUN

Walk in the footsteps of the fascinating and enigmatic Ancestral at Chimney Rock National Monument. This undiscovered gem is an intimate, off-the-beaten-path archaeological site with stabilized structures and artifacts, abundant wildlife and views of the breathtaking San Juan National Forest.

Chimney Rock offers monthly programs, annual events and daily guided and self-guided tours that are fun and educational for the whole family.

The Chimney Rock Geology Tour will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 7. This 1.5-hour guided tour only takes place twice a year and explores local geology and its relationship to the daily lives of the ancestral Puebloans who lived at Chimney Rock. No prior knowledge of geology is needed. The fee is $16 for adults and $8 for ages 5-12, and is considered a nonrefundable donation.

Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) is proud to host a special presentation on Thursday, Aug. 8, by Dr. Erica Ellingson, professor of astrophysical and planetary science at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Ellingson will explore the deep understanding of the sky that is expressed through the ancestral Puebloans’ art and architecture. The lecture is free of charge, open to the public and will begin at 7 p.m., following CRIA’s social hour at 6 p.m. at The Springs Resort and Spa (EcoLuxe building) located at 165 Hot Springs Blvd.

CRIA offers two different night sky archaeoastronomy programs: Our Solar System on Friday, Aug. 9, and Stars and Galaxies on Aug. 30. For both programs, your evening begins with an amazing sunset and interactive discussion at the Mesa Village Trailhead just off the high mesa parking lot. After the discussion, volunteer astronomers await with telescopes to provide a closer look at the wonders of the night sky. Tickets are $16 (adults) and $8 (children 5-12) plus booking fee, and are nonrefundable.

This month, the awe-inspiring Full Moon Program takes place on Thursday, Aug. 15. The Full Moon Program occurs against the backdrop of the Great House Pueblo at the top of Chimney Rock Mesa. The program includes an informative lecture on topics specific to the Chimney Rock site. Then, guests watch the full moon rise to the live music of Charles Martinez’ Native American flute. The program lasts approximately three hours including check-in, driving to the mesa top and hiking to the Great House Pueblo. There is a $20 fee for attending or $25 to attend the Full Moon Program with an early tour.

Chimney Rock National Monument is located 17 miles west of Pagosa Springs and 3 miles south on Colo. 151. For more information about our monthly programs and tour times, please visit 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 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.

CRIA is a nonprofit organization which operates the interpretive program at Chimney Rock National Monument. For more information, please visit our website at