Frequently Asked Questions

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 tours within the Monument.

The ancient structures are not easily accessible nor visible from any road.  The self-guided tour brochure and trained volunteer interpreters that you may encounter along the trails share the history of the site and the story of the people who lived here over a thousand years ago.  The walking tour of both trails includes six stabilized structures.

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 that 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.

Chimney Rock is a rarity within the USDA Forest Service.  Designated a National Monument in 2012 by the President Obama, 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.

  • 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 October 21.  From October 22 through May 14, the entrance is locked but guests may hike on the Monument.
  • Visitors may hike into the Monument, ride horses, bicycle (only on the road) or snowshoe.
  • Horses and dogs are not permitted on the interpretive trails.
If you walk or ride horseback 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.
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 lion, bears and biting insects.  The Monument is used intensively during big-game hunting seasons in the fall and visitors should take proper precautions.