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Ultimate Guide to Chimney Rock Pagosa Springs

a woman sits and poses in front of chimney rock Colorado

If you’re looking for a truly breathtaking natural wonder to explore in Colorado, look no further than Chimney Rock National Monument, Colorado. This striking rock formation is a must-see destination for anyone interested in history, geology, and natural beauty. From Chimney Rock, Pagosa Springs is about a 20 minute drive. When driving from Pagosa, you will start to see a shift in the landscape, going from high altitude aspen and firs to lower elevation junipers.  

Discover Architecture Dating Back to 900AD


The Pueblo Great House at Chimney Rock

There are many things to do in Chimney Rock, Colorado. Within the National Monument you can walk in the footsteps of the ancestral Puebloans in the 4,726-acre archaeological site, exploring a number of ruins and seeing artifacts.  Inhabited approximately 1,000 years ago, one can see varying architecture types from diverse groups of peoples living in the area and imagine life in 900AD.  Soak in the sweeping vistas and panoramic views of our South San Juan Mountains from the Great House Pueblo which sits just below the Chimney Rock pinnacles at about 7,600 ft in elevation.

Experience The Northern Major Lunar Standstill Site


two rock formations at Chimney rock

Life at Chimney Rock was heavily influenced and tied to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico and can be identified as the northern most outlier of Chacoan culture.  Chimney Rock could have been key to communicating calendar events to those in Chaco Canyon, most notably the Northern Major Lunar Standstill, which happens every 18.6 years.  During this event, the moon rises directly between the two spectacular stone pillars that are Chimney Rock’s namesake.  This phenomenon can only be viewed from the top of the mesa within the National Monument and can be truly magical to witness! 

Attend a Chimney Rock National Monument Program

Chimney Rock national monument at night w

Chimney Rock National Monument offers a wide variety of interactive programs and learning opportunities.  From birding to star gazing, interpretive tours to sketching classes, Chimney Rocks has something for everyone! For day trips, definitely pack lots of water and sunscreen. Weather can change quickly in Southwest Colorado so be sure to have a warmer layer along just in case. Good walking shoes are a must! The trails are rustic and rattlesnakes have been known to be in the area.  If attending the Full Moon or Night Sky programs, bring a blanket and a thermos of your favorite tea. 

Enjoy Other Popular Activities Near Chimney Rock


two green boats raft down a river near Chimney rock colorado

Chimney Rock National Monument is a true gem of Colorado, offering visitors a unique blend of natural beauty, history, and culture. We hope that you’re inspired to plan your own adventure to this incredible destination! From hiking to history, there’s something for everyone at Chimney Rock! If you’re looking for things to do near Chimney Rock, Pagosa Springs is a short 20 minute drive from Chimney Rock National Monument, Colorado. While in town, cool off from the summer heat with a Pagosa Springs raft trip. If you’re looking for a DIY adventure, another popular activity is Pagosa Springs river tubing! Experience floating the San Juan River right through the heart of Pagosa Springs. Happy exploring!

Located half way between Durango and Pagosa Springs, Chimney Rock National Monument is managed by the USDA Forst Service. Learn more and plan your visit.