|Elevation Gain||62 ft|
|My Time||20 minutes|
|Closest Town||Pagosa Springs|
|Food Nearby||Boss Hogg’s|
Chimney Rock Monument Nature Trail
The Chimney Rock Monument Nature Trail is on the lower section of Chimney Rock National Monument. The Nature Trail is a short and easy walk with some great views that most skill levels will be able to enjoy.
The Nature Trail
The Nature Trail and Overlook at Chimney Rock is a gentle trail through the lower level section of the park. The trail takes you through a field that sits at the base of the mesa and is covered with flowers and gives you a nice feel for the surrounding natural beauty of the area. The trail takes you through a lopsided figure eight pattern and provides info graphics of the local flora and fauna as well as the surrounding beauty of the area.
By far the best part of the Chimney Rock Nature trail is the sprawling views. The surrounding area is full of mesas and hills that are covered with trees and bushes to make just a sensational landscape. If you continue up to the top of the mesa to see Chimney Rock a bit closer then you can see the tops of the hills but from the bottom of the park they take on a much more grand feel and are visible for almost the entire Nature Trail walk.
Chimney Rock View
The title character of this hike is the view of Chimney Rock. The only real view of the rocks is from the overlook on the west side of the trail. This is also the only spot where there is a little bit of elevation on the trail but it never gets above about a 6% grade. The views of the Chimney Rocks is great. Just over the trees the rocks tower over the ridgeline. You can get a closer look at the rocks from the other section of the park but this view gives them more of a mystical feel that I really enjoyed.
From this overlook you can either take the wide loop back or shorten it up and head back to the trailhead. The wider loop continues with the amazing views and isn’t much of a challenge. This is a short hike but pound for pound is well worth it.
Distance and Elevation
If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 0.64 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 62 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 6,684 feet. I was also moving for a total of 20 minutes.
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The Chimney Rock Nature Trail and Overlook is one of those nice and easy trails. The trail is well defined and wide and there isn’t much elevation to worry about. There are flowers around the trail and some great views. I am going to call it an easy hike and I think that most people will be able to handle this one.
A well manicured and well used trail that is easy to follow. I did the trail in a pair of gym shoes and didn’t need anything special to enjoy.
The Chimney Rock National Monument is located on Colorado 151. It is about 20 miles west of Pagosa Springs. There is a parking lot for about 30 cars at the lower section with a gift shop and visitor center near the trailhead for the Nature Trail. There are pit toilets available at the parking lot. The Park is open from 9am-4:30pm from May 15th through September 30th, but you will need to arrive by 3:15pm at the latest to enjoy the park.
Wrapping Up Chimney Rock Monument Nature Trail
If I am being honest the Chimney Rock Monument Nature Trail is not the main draw of the park but it could win an award for best supporting actor. The open space and views of the surrounding countryside are pretty amazing. If you have kids this is a nice place to let them run around and stretch their legs without having to worry as much about them getting too close to the historical sites up above.
I’m not sure this trail is worth it as a stand alone but it is a great way to get started at Chimney Rock National Monument or a fun way to pass some time if some of your party is at the gift shop! Make sure you go to the rest of the park though to enjoy the entire experience.
On a personal note, Chimney Rock National Monument is located in Archuleta County. It was my first adventure in Archuleta making it the 31st Colorado County I have hiked in on my goal of hiking in all 63 counties.
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