Thursday, August 29, 2013
Chimney Rock National Monument, San Juan National Forest
Chimney Rock National Monument
San Juan National Forest
Date Hiked: Aug. 29, 2014
Distance: .3 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 100ft
Starting Elevation: 7,311ft
Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service
Link to Google Earth File: kmz file
Chimney Rock NM Website
Directions: From Durango or Pagosa Springs, take Hwy 160 to the exit for 151 South. Once on 151 follow the signs to the Monument. You have to pay to enter and you need to get your permit before you drive up the road to the top of the Monument. There is no parking or stopping on the road from the bottom to the top.
Chimney Rock National Monument is NOT administered by the National Park Service, and it really shows. Although this is a very important site for the Ancient Puebloan Culture, it is managed by the Forest Service, which means that it is managed by a private concessionaire. Therefore, don't expect too much in way of hiking or interpretive facilities. Also, you can only visit the main site on a guided tour, you can't even see the site from the top unless you pay for the tour. When I visited I did not have time for the tour so I just did the short trail, took a few photos and begrudgingly went on my way.
That being said, this is an important site and a stunning landscape.