CRIA Lecture Series continues with David Stuart presenting on May 10; 2018 season opens May 15


By Nadia Werby

Special to The SUN

On Thursday, May 10, the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) is proud to host a special presentation by David Stuart: “In Good Times and in Bad: The Dynamics of Chacoan Success and Failure 850 — 1125CE.”

The lecture will focus on population dynamics, food supply, cost of labor, growth, complexity and decision-making.

The lecture is free of charge and will begin at 7 p.m. at The Springs Resort and Spa (Ecoluxe building) located at 165 Hot Springs Blvd. The public is invited to join CRIA for its social hour preceding the lecture at 6 p.m.

Stuart is professor emeritus of anthropology and former associate provost at the University of New Mexico. He has done archaeological field work all over the world and is the author of 20 books, including a novel. He is considered a major contributor to the study of southwestern archaeology. Many know him for his book “Anasazi America.” His unusual approach to the southwest combines anthropology, ecology, eugenics and evolutionary theory.

Opening for season

Chimney Rock National Monument opens for the 2018 season on Tuesday, May 15.

May 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.

Night Sky: Our Solar System Program

The first special event of the season will take place on May 18 with the Night Sky: Our Solar System Program. This program is timed for when the moon is present in the sky but not fully illuminated, which enables us to enjoy the night sky unimpeded by artificial lighting or the brightness of a full moon and see many of the brighter objects that are visible.

Your evening begins with an amazing sunset and interactive discussion at the Kiva Trailhead just off the high mesa parking lot. Visitors can bring their own camp chairs or sit on the stone wall or wooden benches that will be provided. Topics will include how the ancient people who periodically inhabited the site lived, how they used the unique landscape of the Chimney Rock area to view the sky and what special astronomical events they might have seen.

After the discussion, volunteer astronomers await with telescopes to provide a closer look at the wonders of the night sky. Reservations are strongly recommended as space is limited. Walk-ins will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are $12 (adults) and $5 (children 5-12) plus booking fee and are nonrefundable. Please check our website for times and to make your reservation.

Dances of the Ancients

On May 26, CRIA is proud to host the Dances of the Ancients. The Okay Owingeh Dance Group and the Oak Canyon Dancers, both all-children Pueblo dance groups, will be performing at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

There can be no better way to connect with Chimney Rock than through the descendants of the ancient Puebloan people performing celebratory dances in traditional dress. Tickets for this event are $15 per adult and $5 per child (ages 5-12). Guests should plan to stand for the performance, or bring their own camp chairs or blankets.

This program does not take place near the archaeological sites; regularly scheduled walking tours of the archaeological sites will be available for an additional $5 for adults and $2.50 for children. Reservations are strongly recommended as there is limited space for this event. Walk-ins are accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Full Moon Program

The first Full Moon Program of the season will take place this month on May 29. Visitors will hear Native American flute music by Charles Martinez and experience the moon rising from the ridge where the Puebloan Great House is located. This program is not recommended for children under the age of 8. The fee is $15 for the Full Moon program, or $20 to attend the Full Moon Program with an early tour of the Kiva Trail. Guests who plan to attend the early tour, please check in at the Visitor Cabin by 5:45 p.m. Guests who plan to attend the Full Moon Program only, please check in at the Visitor Cabin by 7:15 p.m. The Full Moon Program begins at 7:45 p.m.

Additional information

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 two-hour guided walking tours at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and for one-hour guided walking tours at 10 a.m. and noon. The cost of the guided tours are $14 per adult and $5 per child (ages 5-12). Audio-guided Kiva Trail tours are also available between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. ($10 for adults, $5 for children ages 5-12, under 5 is free).

For monthly program tickets, 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 under a participating agreement with the USDA Forest Service/San Juan National Forest. For more information, please visit our website at