Towers of the High Plains: Monument Rocks
Standing tall, seventy-feet to be exact, over the high plains in western Kansas Monument Rocks (Gove County) is a mighty sight to behold. These chalk monoliths have long been a beloved natural wonder in Kansas – for travelers and Kansas natives alike. They are all that remains of an inland sea that once covered the plains 80 million years ago.
Located along the Western Vistas Historic Byway, Monument Rocks is an ideal place to get off the highway and see some of Kansas’ backcountry.
Monument Rocks: 20 miles south of Oakley on U.S. 83, then 4 miles east on Jayhawk Road, 3 miles south, and 1 mile east (dry weather road only). Or, 18 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.
Roughly 45 minutes off of I-70.
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Monument Rocks are located on private property. Visitors may visit during the day, but camping is not allowed. I went in early spring so dark came early, I did stick around to get a couple of night shots - note last I heard they no longer allow people to visit after dark. While I was there a truck did come by to remind me there was no camping. They were friendly and I assured them I would be leaving soon.
Roads to the Rocks are not well maintained. They are very sandy. Even on the dry day, the sand pulled my SUV. Depending on your vehicle I wouldn’t recommend visiting if it has recently rained or if rain looks to be in the forecast that day.
Monument Rocks is a National Landmark, please help preserve them by not climbing on them. This is for your safety, also. Please don’t dig for fossils. But, I do encourage you to visit Keystone Gallery and view many of the fossils discover from the area.
Look before you step. Keep an eye out for snakes.
Again, this is active farm and cattle graze in these pastures. If you ignore them, they’ll ignore you.
HOW LONG TO VISIT
This is up to you. I was there a couple of hours because I wanted to be around for sunset and had arrived early afternoon. You could also spend 30 mins to an hour and have just as memorable of an experience.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
As mentioned I was there in the afternoon and evening. Morning would be you as nice. You’re very exposed, so when visiting in summer it might be best not to visit long during the middle of the day.
For photography, many like to shoot photos with the sun in the “keyhole” if this is the case for you then evening would be best.