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Weird place Wednesday: Monument Rocks Kansas.

Monument Rocks


A vivid winter sunset view of Monument Rocks near Scott City, Kansas shot with 4×5 Fuji Velvia film.

This week’s Weird place Wednesday is not only in an unlikely location, but if you are lucky, you can still find anything from shark’s teeth to arrowheads; it is one of the
8 wonders of Kansas and it is called Monument Rocks! Many think there is nothing to see in Kansas, but I highly disagree. Once you leave I-70 and start exploring the backroads, Kansas has a lot to offer!

Monument Rocks or The Chalk Pyramids as it is also known, are the limestone spired remnants of an ancient ocean. Kansas was once beachfront property. Who knew? The sets of fins and towers are complete with a ground level keyhole arch and can be seen for miles on the wide open prairie. Even though these formations resemble in structure some of what you may find in Utah, the rock is very different. The “chalk” limestone found here is much softer and far more fragile than the “slickrock” arches and fins of Arches National Park.

If you happen to visit Monument Rocks, it is imperative to stay off of the tempting and climbable areas so that we can keep this great area around for as long as possible. There are many similar rock formations in the miles of surrounding prairie that sit on private ground, but Monument Rocks is one of the few that the owners have, thus far, graciously provided public access to.

One of the beautiful things about this place is more often than not, you will have it all to yourself! Even though it is not a big secret, it does not receive heavy traffic, which has probably kept it intact. Unfortunately and purely through the forces of nature, I would not be surprised if the arch within Monument Rocks fell within my lifetime, so if you care to visit a fun, enchanting and just “weird place,” don’t wait too long.

The Chalk Pyramids are located in western Kansas about 25 miles north of Scott City or 26 miles south of I-70, east of U.S. Hwy 83 via a dirt road. You will most likely see a sign for it along the highway and once you’ve turned onto the dirt road, there are normally signs pointing the rest of the way. Just remember to be courteous; you are mainly on private farm ground.

The GPS coordinates for Monument Rocks are: 38°47’43.25″N 100°45’51.97″W

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Another great thing about Kansas is the sunrises and sunsets. Since the Chalk Pyramids are widely exposed to the east and west, the morning and evening are both great times to photograph the area. Enjoy and as usual, feel free to email or comment below with any questions.

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