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How tall is Chimney Rock?

How tall is it?  The United States Geological Survey, using scientific instruments, calculated the elevation of Chimney Rock in 1895 as 4,225 feet above sea level.  Forty-niner David Cosad used the centuries-old method of measuring his shadow against the rock's to come up with a figure of 360 feet from the base to the top.  Nineteenth-century estimates have ranged widely, but Cosad came within ten percent of today's measurement.

Warren estimateIn 1830 Warren Angus Ferris offered the first known estimate of Chimney Rock's height.  Ferris wrote, "It is half a mile in circumference at the base and rises to the height of three hundred feet.

Captain Benjamin Bonneville In 1832 Captain Benjamin Bonneville wrote, "From the summit shoots up a shaft or column, about one hundred and twenty feet in height, from which it derives its name."

Ware drawing Captain Eugene Ware recorded one of the later estimates by an overlander.  In 1864 he wrote that he thought the height had decreased, "We estimated the height of the chimney itself to be eighty-five feet.  Elston said that it was the belief of the trappers that during the last fifteen years it had crumbled down from the top about thirty-five feet."

todayToday's estimate for the height of Chimney Rock is 325 feet from tip to base and 120 feet for the spire.



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Last updated 20 July 1998 

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