Discover / Chimney Rock
Save a National Treasure
Near Pagosa Springs, CO
TYPE: Landscape
Success! Chimney Rock designated a National Monument. | Photo: Mark Roper, U.S. Forest Service
Success! Chimney Rock designated a National Monument. | Photo: Mark Roper, U.S. Forest Service

Success at Chimney Rock!

Chimney Rock has been designated a National Monument.

On September 21, 2012, the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area was named America's newest National Monument by President Barack Obama. Please visit the campaign updates section for more information on this important milestone.


Between A.D. 925 and 1125, the ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians occupied the lands around Chimney Rock. Today, hundreds of archaeological sites survive within sight of Chimney Rock's soaring twin rock spires, including the Great House Pueblo. Chimney Rock is open to the public for five months each year and is visited by approximately 9,000 people each season. Unfortunately, it receives inadequate funding and exists with no clear protection for sites within the archaeological area.

National Significance

The National Trust believes that the 4,726-acre Chimney Rock Archaeological Area is the single most important cultural site managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

Campaign Goals

  • Establish Chimney Rock as a National Monument to be managed by the U.S. Forest Service with a designated monument manager.
  • Provide continued traditional use of Chimney Rock by tribes and pueblos.
  • Manage the new monument with a plan crafted with community involvement, and continue to allow the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association to operate the site.
  • Inspire an improved preservation and funding ethic for the historic and cultural resources managed by the U.S. Forest Service.


  • Chimney Rock Interpretive Association
  • Colorado Senators Bennet and Udall, Rep. Tipton
  • All Indian Pueblo Council
  • Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
  • San Juan Citizens Alliance
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Archuleta County Commissioners
  • City of Pagosa Springs
  • Chamber of Commerce of Pagosa Springs
  • Colorado Preservation Inc.

Ways To Help

Join us in thanking President Barack Obama for designating Chimney Rock a National Monument.

Donate to our campaign to protect Chimney Rock.

Tell us why Chimney Rock matters to you.

Posted on December 06, 2012

Written by Denise Ryan, Project Manager

This week, the White House released a progress report on the America’s Great Outdoors program to detail accomplishments over the last year.

Less than two years ago, the Obama Administration created America’s Great Outdoors and began a dialogue with the public and with local communities about their conservation and recreation priorities. They held listening sessions in communities across the country, including a special listening session in Philadelphia in August 2010 for historic preservation. In the report, Chimney Rock National Monument is noted as a success story. It is a project that embodies America’s Great Outdoors because it harnesses community support for designation, provides opportunities for Americans to connect with the outdoors, and generates economic benefits for the local area.

We couldn’t agree more. In fact, that is one of the reasons the National Trust elevated Chimney Rock as one of our National Treasures.

Among the other successes included in the report are the designation of Fort Ord National Monument and César Chavez National Monument, both in California and both supported by the National Trust. You can read more about these special places on page eight of the report, which can be downloaded here.

Please check back often for additional updates on Chimney Rock. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on September 21, 2012

Photo by National TrustThanks to supporters like you, President Obama has designated Chimney Rock Archaeological Area in Colorado the nation’s newest national monument, providing this important cultural site with permanent protection. Please join us in thanking Mr. Obama for his visionary decision to protect part of our nation’s irreplaceable heritage.

Chimney Rock’s national monument designation is the result of a coordinated effort led by the National Trust and supported by its allies and advocates like you to protect this special place. Located on 4,726-acres of the San Juan National Forest, Chimney Rock is of great spiritual significance to over twenty Pueblos and other tribes of the Southwest. The site had been threatened with insufficient protection and inadequate financial resources. Now, thanks to the national monument designation, Chimney Rock is permanently protected for the benefit of current and future generations.

Please help us thank President Obama for designating Chimney Rock a National Monument.

Please check back often for additional updates on Chimney Rock. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on September 20, 2012

Photo by Mark Roper, US Forest Service

Photo: Mark Roper, U.S. Forest Service 

We have learned that the 4,726-acre Puebloan ancestral landscape in the mountains of southwestern Colorado known as Chimney Rock will reportedly be designated a National Monument by President Obama this Friday.

The roughly 1,000-year-old remains of a Chacoan Indian settlement, Chimney Rock will be the third National Monument established by President Obama and joins the likes of the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon. Of great spiritual significance to more than 20 Pueblos and other Native American tribes, the area is the most culturally significant land managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

“Chimney Rock helps us understand the story of the Chacoans, ancestors of modern Pueblo Indians, most of whom do not have a written history,” says Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Their history is written on the landscape, in the structures and in traditional cultural practices at places like Chimney Rock.”

Click here to learn more, and please stay tuned for updates as we celebrate this amazing milestone for one of America's National Treasures.

Please check back often for additional updates on Chimney Rock. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on September 13, 2012

Written by Denise Ryan, Project Manager 

What's the next best thing to visiting Chimney Rock?

Take a narrated video tour thanks to The Durango Herald. Be sure to also read the accompanying story on the history of Chimney Rock, including the National Trust’s economic study on the benefits of national monument designation. Our analysis shows designation could double Chimney Rock's current visitation and bring $2.4 million in economic benefits to the local community. 

Please check back often for additional updates on Chimney Rock. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


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Scott Jones, Phoenix, AZ on June 09, 2012
There are few moments like the anticipation one feels as you climb the ledge towards the summit, gazing over the surrounding rock structures, feeling the wind whisking past you, contemplating the daily rituals of the people who treaded in your same pathway, until you've reached the summit and transported yourself to another time and culture. Chimney Rock has a lure, importance, and significance that make it hard to forget or overstate. Protect Chimney Rock for the benefit of future generations!
Susan Yalom, Pagosa Springs, CO on June 09, 2012
I first visited Chimney Rock five years ago. I was fascinated by the structures built 1,000 years ago and amazed by the views from the top of the ridge. The tour of the site demonstrated the connections between the sky, the horizon, and the land that seem central to ancient society. As a tour guide, I am excited to give visitors the personal experience with Chimney Rock that I received on my first visit. Every time I go, my sense of wonder and respect increases.

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