What is Chimney Rock?

This undiscovered gem is an intimate, off-the-beaten-path archaeological site located at the southern edge of the San Juan Mountains  in Southwestern Colorado. You’ll walk in the footsteps of the fascinating and enigmatic Ancestral Puebloans of the Chaco Canyon, following primitive pathways that haven’t changed for 1,000 years. Archaeological structures and artifacts, abundant wildlife, and its setting in the breathtaking San Juan National Forest make Chimney Rock a must-see.

Chimney Rock covers seven square miles and preserves 200 ancient homes and ceremonial buildings, some of which have been excavated for viewing and exploration: a Great Kiva, a Pit House, a Multi-Family Dwelling, and a Chacoan-style Great House Pueblo. Chimney Rock is the highest in elevation of all the Chacoan sites, at about 7,000 feet above sea level. From the base, the hike to the top is just a half mile and it’s rewarded with dramatic 360-degree views of Colorado and New Mexico.

Fees & Passes

Chimney Rock is different from many other National Parks and National Monuments.  You can park at the visitor-center area and walk on the road to the upper mesa parking lot for free. The walk from the lower parking lot to the upper mesa is approx 6 miles round trip.  Fees are for self-guided and interpretive tours of the archaeological site, accessed by using the road to the two upper-mesa trails. Self-Guided and Interpretive Tours are defined as “expanded” (not “standard”) amenities by the National Park Service and US Forest Service.


  • Senior Pass and Access Pass provide a 50% discount on interpretive tour fees for the passholder only. (According to the US Forest Service’s website, the pass does not include a spouse.) Thus, the cost for a couple’s self-guided tour, with one person using his/her Senior or Access Pass, will be $12.00 plus $6.00 – a total of $18.00 for two people.
  • Active Military personnel50% tour-fee discount
  • 4th-Grade Pass (and the 2021 extension for 5th-graders) – Free tour for the student only.

Explore Chimney Rock National Monument