1. What will I see?|
Chimney Rock National Monument protects a 1000-year-old community once inhabited by the Ancestral Puebloans. Four ancient structures have been excavated and stabilized for public viewing. They include the 44-foot diameter Great Kiva, the Pit House, a multi-room dwelling, and the Chacoan Great House Pueblo. Many unexcavated structures are also visible on the tour and within the Monument.
2. Why take a tour?
Chimney Rock's volunteer tour guides share the history of the site and the story of the people who lived here a thousand years ago. The ancient structures are not easily accessible nor visible from any road. The guided walking tour includes four stabilized structures; the self-guided tour visits two stabilized structures.
3. Who were the people who lived here?
Most people are familiar with the Anasazi. Today we use the term Ancestral Puebloans to refer to the people who lived in the area and recognize they are the ancestors of modern day Puebloans. Chimney Rock was inhabited by local people but the Great House Pueblo definitely ties the site to the Chacoan culture of the Four Corners area.
4. Why is there a fee to tour the site?
The fee is for the tour service. The tour program at Chimney Rock is managed by the Chimney Rock Interpretive Assn., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Association's mission includes education of the public and preservation of the site. Fees from the former help support the latter. Since the program is operated by volunteers, fees stay in the local community and at the Monument. Vehicular access to the mesa top is restricted to tour participants.
5. Can I use my National Park Pass?
Chimney Rock National Monument is not a park and the fee is for a tour, not an entrance fee.
6. What is Chimney Rock National Monument?
Chimney Rock is a rarity within the USDA Forest Service. Recently designated a national monument by the President, it remains under the domain of the Forest Service. As such, it is open to all visitors. However, there are seasonal closures and restrictions on entry into the Monument via motorized vehicle.
7. May I bring pets with me?
- Access to the Visitor Center is by gravel road about one-half mile from the entrance gate. The gate is open from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm between May 15 and September 30. From October 1 through May 14, the entrance gate is locked but guests may hike on the Monument. During tour season, if you pay for a tour, event, or have a special permit, you may drive the 2 1/2 mile winding gravel road to the upper parking lot.
- Visitors may hike into the Monument, ride horses, bicycle (only on the road), or snowshoe. If you decide to join a tour, you will be subject to the rules for that tour and asked to pay the fee.
- Public access to the Pueblo Trail is seasonally restricted beyond the falcon enclosure fence (between March 1 - September 30). During this seasonal closure, only guided tours operated by the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association may use the trail, under authority of the USDA Forest Service special use permit.
- Horses and dogs are not permitted on the interpretive trails.
If you walk or ride horse back or otherwise enter the Monument without using a motorized vehicle, you may bring your pets, subject to the general restrictions which apply to National Forest lands. Pets should be under your control. Pets are not permitted on the interpretive trails. Service animals are always welcome.
8. What hazards will I encounter at this high-desert site?
Natural hazards include high elevation possibly causing altitude sickness. High temperatures and low humidity can result in dehydration. The Pueblo Trail navigates a narrow causeway with steep drop offs. Afternoon thunderstorms may contain lightning and the mesa top offers no shelter. Native wildlife includes rattlesnakes, mountain lions, bears, and biting insects. The Monument is used intensively during big-game hunting seasons in the fall and visitors should take proper precautions.