Not Far From the Freeway – Monument Rocks, Kansas

Monument Rocks in western Kansas

Monument Rocks in western Kansas

Thanks to everyone who commented on last week’s post about some of your favorite places in the Great Plains.  I’m going to dedicate the next several weeks to “showing off” the places you mentioned!

Just south of I-70 in Gove County Kansas are a series of abrupt rock formations rising 60-70 feet above the otherwise fairly flat terrain.  These are the Monument Rocks, and they were designated a National Natural Landmark in 1968.  They are also known as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas.  

The rocks are remnants of an ancient sea bed that once covered the central part of North America from about 140 million years ago to about 65 million years ago.  Fossils of ancient sea shells are commonly found there.

What to do:

There are no formal hiking trails, and in fact, you can drive right up to most of the formations.  You could, however, choose to walk the informal roads.  There are two main clusters of formations less than 1/4 mile apart.  Probably the best thing to do at Monument Rocks is just to take in the silence, and imagine just how much the earth has changed over the eons.  There are not many places in the world where geology and geologic time can be so transparently viewed.  Monument Rocks is one of them, and just another example of how cool the Great Plains are.

Directions:

Twenty miles south of Oakley (Exit 76 from I-70) on U.S. 83, then 4 miles east on Jayhawk Road, 3 miles south, and 1 mile east (dry weather road only)  

OR

Eighteen miles north of Scott City, east 2 miles on Dakota Road, 1 mile north, 3 1/2  miles east, and 2 1/2 miles north

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About greatplainstrail

Building the Great Plains Trail.
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4 Responses to Not Far From the Freeway – Monument Rocks, Kansas

  1. JunkChuck says:

    Another add to the itinerary for August. Do you take requests? What ya got near Mitchell, SD?

    • Besides the Corn Palace, not much, but you should check out Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne, Minnesota (about 1.5 hours east of Mitchell). Awesome little place just a few miles off I-90 . . . and it shows off the western flair of my homestate!

  2. hancockjo says:

    Ah! Monument Rocks, a place on the Great Plains that I have visited. There are two things that I remember about Monument Rocks: 1.) The formatations were spendid, and 2.) the air, and consequently, one’s eyes, were filled with blowing grit.

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