Pagosa Springs Announces Best Ways to Experience Chimney Rock National Monument, Country's Newest Monument

Pagosa Springs in Southwest Colorado is the best place to stay for vacationers who want to experience the United State’s newest national monument, Chimney Rock. President Barrack Obama announced the decision to designate Chimney Rock a national monument in late September, elevating its importance and offering permanent protection for this cultural landmark.

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Chimney Rock National Monument

Chimney Rock – with its spiritual and historical resources – is one of the cultural treasures of southwest Colorado and the country at large.

Pagosa Springs, Colo. (PRWEB) October 16, 2012

Pagosa Springs in Southwest Colorado is the best place to stay for vacationers who want to experience the United State’s newest national monument, Chimney Rock. President Barrack Obama announced the decision to designate Chimney Rock a national monument in late September, elevating its importance and offering permanent protection for this cultural landmark.

Those looking to get a jump on next year’s summer vacation planning should consider Chimney Rock National Monument, according to Jennifer Green, Town of Pagosa Springs Tourism Director. “Chimney Rock – with its spiritual and historical resources – is one of the cultural treasures of southwest Colorado and the country at large,” says Green. “This designation raises the awareness of this incredible place, and we are anxious to share it with even more visitors than ever before.”

Chimney Rock National Monument – which is open mid-May through September – is located 20 miles west of Pagosa Springs on Highway 151 inside the San Juan National Forest. It is surrounded by the Southern Ute Indian Reservation and was home to the ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians 1,000 years ago. The Puebloans built more than 200 homes and ceremonial buildings high above the valley floor, likely, experts say, to be near the sacred twin rock pinnacles.

Here are the five best ways to experience Chimney Rock National Monument next summer. When visiting, wear comfortable walking shoes and a hat, and bring water, sunscreen and a camera.

  •     Take a tour. Chimney Rock Interpretive Association offers 2.5-hour guided walking tours every day during the season at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Reservations are required for groups of 10 or more. Self-guided tours are also available on the Great Kiva Trail from 10:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. daily. Call 970-883-5359 for information and group reservations.
  •     Stargaze and watch the moon rise. Every 18 years the Great House Pueblo – the most notable structure at the monument – is perfectly positioned to frame the rising moon between Chimney Rock’s twin spires. Though that won’t happen for many years, the monument’s Full Moon Programs offer visitors the chance to watch the full moon rise, learn about the Ancestral Puebloans and the archaeo-astronomy theories. Additionally, there are Night-Sky Archaeo-astronomy Programs and sunrise outings.
  •     View wildlife. Peregrine falcons nest on the pinnacles and soar over ancient structures, the dramatic landscape, and the forested slopes of the Piedra and Stolsteimer Creek drainages, which are framed by the high peaks of the San Juan Mountains. Migratory mule deer and elk herds also pass through the area each fall and spring as they have for thousands of years.
  •     Attend a festival. Chimney Rock hosts special events and Native American cultural celebrations each year. In late June attend the Life at Chimney Rock: A Festival of Crafts and Culture to see interactive demonstrations of crafts and skills of the ancestral Puebloan and regional Native American cultures. The Chimney Rock Native American Cultural Gathering is held in late July and includes traditional singers, storytellers and dancers from various tribes.
  •     Learn something new. Each year Chimney Rock hosts a number of educational programs, including pottery workshops, night sky programs, archaeo-astronomy experiences, and more. Visit the website for a full list of scheduled programs.

About Chimney Rock National Monument
Chimney Rock National Monument sits on 4,726 acres of the San Juan National Forest and is bordered by the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. The site was once home to the ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians. Roughly 1,000 years ago the Ancestral Pueblo People built more than 200 homes and ceremonial buildings high above the valley floor. Chimney Rock has 118 known archaeological sites. The dramatic geology of the monument stands in stark contracts to the majestic Ponderosa Pine forest and rolling savannah-like plains along the valley floor, combining to create a sweeping landscape. The Piedra River cuts along the edge of Peterson Mesa in the northern portion of the monument. Steep cliffs and expanses of exposed sandstone and shale are evidence of the violence of geologic time.

About Pagosa Springs
Pagosa Springs is located in the Colorado Sunbelt along the western slope of the Continental Divide in southwest Colorado. Pagosa is home to the world’s deepest geothermal hot springs aquifer, as recognized by the Guinness World Records, which provides R&R for weary travelers and also heats many downtown buildings and sidewalks. Nestled in the three-million acres of the Weminuche Wilderness and the San Juan National Forest, Pagosa Springs is one of Colorado’s most natural escapes. Visitors will find a variety of outdoor activities to participate in including biking, skiing, rock climbing, and horseback riding. Recently, Pagosa Springs was included in National Geographic Adventure magazine’s “50 Best Places to Live and Play NOW: The Next Great Adventure Towns edition.” To explore what Pagosa Springs has to offer visit http://www.visitpagosasprings.com.
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photo courtesy of Jeff Laydon photo courtesy of Jeff Laydon

Chimney Rock National Monument is located near Pagosa Springs, Colo.