It’s rarely a good thing when wildfire consumes a protected park area. Yet when an overgrown juniper forest burnt down in Cove Palisades State Park near the Deschutes National Forest, it revealed a series of seemingly impossible balanced rocks.
The slabs are perched atop cylindrical rock towers on a hillside overlooking Lake Billy Chinook to the east. The Park Service had been aware of the rocks’ presence, but had left them off maps for fear of vandals and errant climbers. After the fire, the location was no longer a secret, and park rangers are now happy to direct hikers to the rocks. They offer a fabulous view of the Metolius River.
The rocks are remnants of volcanic activity in Oregon millennia ago. The rock spires were created by one volcanic eruption, while the balancing slabs on top were created by others. Because of their differing sedimentary make-up, the rocks eroded at different rates.
Know Before You Go
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