Chimney Rock National Monument

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This article is about the U.S. National Monument in Colorado. For the U.S. National Historic Site in Nebraska, see Chimney Rock National Historic Site
Chimney Rock National Monument
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
View of Chimney Rock Colorado.JPG
Chimney Rock
Map showing the location of Chimney Rock National Monument
Map showing the location of Chimney Rock National Monument
Location Archuleta County, Colorado, USA
Nearest city Chimney Rock, Colorado
Coordinates 37°11′30″N 107°18′23″W / 37.1917°N 107.3064°W / 37.1917; -107.3064Coordinates: 37°11′30″N 107°18′23″W / 37.1917°N 107.3064°W / 37.1917; -107.3064
Area 4,726 acres (1,913 ha)
Authorized September 21, 2012
Governing body U.S. Forest Service
Designated: August 25, 1970
Reference No. 70000153[1]
Official name: Chimney Rock Archaeological Area
Reference No. 5AA.985[2]
The Great Kiva was believed to have been built circa 1084 as part of the Chimney Rock settlement. Originally, it would have had an adobe plaster exterior. It was rebuilt in 1972.

Chimney Rock National Monument is a 4,726-acre (1,913 ha) U.S. National Monument in San Juan National Forest in southwestern Colorado which includes an archaeological site. This area is located in Archuleta County, Colorado between Durango and Pagosa Springs and is managed for archaeological protection, public interpretation, and education. The Chimney Rock Archaeological Site has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1970. U.S. President Barack Obama created Chimney Rock National Monument by proclamation on September 21, 2012 under authority of the Antiquities Act.[3]


Chimney Rock lies on 4,726 acres (19 km2) of San Juan National Forest land surrounded by the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. Chimney Rock itself occupies 1,000 acres (4 km2) of the site, and is approximately 315 feet (96 m) tall.


The rock itself is over 535 million years old, and offers 75-mile panoramic views of the local area. The Ancient Pueblo People site, designated on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, was a community inhabited between Durango and Pagosa Springs about 1,000 years ago with about 200 rooms. Rooms in the buildings were used for living, work areas and ceremonial purposes. The site is located within the San Juan National Forest Archaeological Area on 4,100 acres of land. Between May 15 and September 30 the Visitor Center is open and guided walking tours are conducted daily.[4]

Housing approximately 2,000 ancient Pueblo Indians between A.D. 925 and 1125, the settlement included a Great House with round ceremonial rooms, known as kivas, and 36 ground-floor rooms.

Since the 1960s, Dr. Frank Eddy of the University of Colorado and others have studied the site, and research continues.[4]

Utilizing the provisions of the Antiquities Act, U.S. president Barack Obama elevated the archeological site to the status of a national monument on September 21, 2012.[3]

Educational opportunities[edit]

As part of a continuing education program, the first virtual visitors this year were 26 people on indoor stationary bicycles in Ohio. They cycled, virtually, to the Monument, around the Monument, and from the Monument, while studying its rich history.

Funding sources[edit]

Its care, protection, and preservation are shared by the Pagosa Ranger District, United States Forest Service and the public, who contribute through tour fees, donations, and purchase of items from the Chimney Rock Visitor's Center. The Chimney Rock Interpretive Program, managed and staffed by the U.S. Forest Service and volunteers of the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association, conducts daily guided walking tours and operates the Visitor Center during in-season, May 15 to September 30.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2006-03-15. 
  2. ^ "Colorado State Register of Historic Properties". History Colorado. Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  3. ^ a b President of the United States of America (September 21, 2012). "Establishment of the Chimney Rock National Monument" (pdf). The White House. Retrieved September 21, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Chimney Rock Archaeological Area.

External links[edit]

Great House Pueblo on Chimney Rock