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 Great Kiva Trail.
The Great Kiva Trail is the only self-guided trail in the park. The trail is paved and loops down to a 44 foot excavated Kiva. There are some nice views from the trail of the surrounding landscape, but not of the ancient structures up on Chimney Rock, nor Chimney Rock itself. Interpretive signs along the way and a brochure help explain the history of Chimney Rock.
While I found my visit to Chimney Rock National Monument a bit underwhelming and even disappointing, when I have time and are back in the area, I'll check out the guided tour and I'm sure I'll have a much better experience.
HIKES BY REGION
NATIONAL PARK HIKES
- BENT'S OLD FORT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
- CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
- DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
- FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
- HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT
- SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- YUCCA HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT
- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
Great Kiva Trail
Chimney Rock National Monument
Date Hiked: August 29, 2013
Distance: .3 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 100ft
Starting Elevation: 7,311ft
Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service