Monument Rocks, the Chalk Pyramids - Kansas
Monument Rocks and Chalk Pyramids are names for the same group of rock outcroppings, near US-83 in western Kansas. There are signs at the turn off (6 miles of gravel roads) from both north and south. Monument Rocks can be seen in the distance from highway US-83 if you know where to look.
The 70 feet tall sedimentary formations of Niobrara Chalk were created by the erosion of a sea bed which formed during the Cretaceous Period. 80 million years ago, this land was the sea bed beneath the Western Interior Seaway which covered much of what is now North America. This limestone is quite soft and changes in the edges of the rock formations can be seen from year to year. Please be careful not to harm the rocks.
Like Castle Rock Badlands, Monument Rocks are on private range land, but thanks to the owners, they are open to the public during daylight hours. Visiting Chalk Pyramids after dark is explicitly prohibited. Digging or carving into the chalk formations or flying drones is also prohibited. Please carry out your trash and remove any that you find.
The United States Department of the Interior designated Monument Rocks Natural Area as a National Natural Landmark in 1968. Since that time, 4 other National Landmarks have been designated in Kansas: Big Basin Preserve, Baker University Wetlands, Baldwin Woods and Rock City.
Eight Wonders of Kansas
In 2007, the Kansas Sampler Foundation selected Monument Rocks as one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas.
Other sites selected as the Eight Wonders of Kansas include the Cathedral of the Plains, Kansas Cosmosphere, Castle Rock, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve and the Eisenhower Presidential Library.
This area along the Smoky Hill River has many interesting
rock formations. Most are on private property and only visible at a distance,
but some, such as the Little Pyramids
can be seen from the county roads. Stop at the nearby Keystone
Gallery for tips and directions.
copyright 2002-2019 by Keith Stokes