At the heart of Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA), operating the interpretive program at Chimney Rock National Monument, are more than 80 friendly volunteers. While there are paid staff members, it’s the volunteers who do most of the tasks that make the program work. Here are just a few of the reasons to join the CRIA volunteer team:

  • The land: Over 1,000 years ago, the Ancestral Puebloans built more than 200 homes & ceremonial buildings high above the valley floor.
  • The View: Chimney Rock is a place of unparalleled natural beauty sitting on a high mesa at the southern edge of the San Juan Mountains between Durango and Pagosa Springs.
  • The People: Chimney Rock is home to the ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians and holds great spiritual significance to various tribes.
  • The Sky: Chimney Rock was used as celestial observatory and seasonal calendar by the Ancestral Puebloans, thought by many experts to be connected with the people of Chaco Canyon. The mountain peaks to the north and east made it an ideal spot for tracking the movement of the sun and moon. Monthly archaeoastronomy programs are offered by CRIA, in which you can view the full moon rising above the San Juan Mountains or view the night sky as the Ancient Ones did.
  • The Mystery: What brought the Chacoans here and why they left? What attracted them to the high mesa beneath the twin pinnacles in such harsh living conditions? Learn about the theories behind these question and more.

Since CRIA is primarily staffed by volunteers, it is essential to the program’s success that the volunteer corps remain strong in skills and numbers. Without the volunteers’ skills and valuable time, it would be impossible to keep this local, non-profit, interpretive program viable and the gates to Chimney Rock open.

Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) will be hosting two Open Houses for anyone interested in learning more about the variety of roles that support this unique program and the flexibility in level of commitment.

  • Friday, February  16 from 12:30pm-1:30pm at the Ruby Sisson Library in Pagosa Springs
  • Friday, March 16 from 6:00pm-7:00pm at the The Springs Resort and Spa EcoLuxe Building Conference Room located at 165 Hot Springs Blvd.

Some of the volunteer positions include: Cabin Host, Mesa Host, Tour Guide, and Maintenance Crew. CRIA also needs volunteers to help with the monthly and annual special programs.

CRIA is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that runs the daily operations and interpretive program at Chimney Rock National monument in partnership with the USDA Forest Service and the San Juan National Forest.  For more information and to view the 2018 Chimney Rock Calendar of events, see the CRIA website at  or call (970) 731-7133.