The Chimney Rock's vertical pillars rising from the top of a hill are located in the San Juan National Forest west of Pagosa Springs. Hiking and viewing ruins of ancient cultures are the most popular pursuits at the renowned 4,700 acres within the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area.
Once home to hundreds of early American Indians, the archeological finds of 200 homes and other structures have been discovered near ancient farming areas. This collection of sites made up the cultural center of an ancient American Indian civilization. Many of these sites have been reburied for their protection and preservation. Four sites — Great Kiva, Pit House, Ridge House and Great House Pueblo — have been excavated and stabilized to provide visitors a glimpse into the past.
Chimney Rock has religious significance as well — every 18.6 years during the winter solstice the moon rises perfectly between the rocks.
In September 2012, the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area became Chimney Rock National Monument.