Rising from the flat plains near Oakley, Kansas, the so-called Monument Rocks are large chalk formations that stand up to 70 feet high and look as though they were arranged by human hands.
The towering formations are the remnants of the Western Interior Seaway that once separated Western and Eastern North America during the Cretaceous Period. Carbonates, such as limestone, can be found where the seaway dried over millions of years, suggesting abundant calcareous algae in the ancient waters. The rocks here are a treasure trove of fossils and prehistoric remnants.
Also known as the “Chalk Pyramids, ” the huge stones each have a unique shape and some would say, personality. Some of the formations have even been given names such as “The Eye of the Needle” and ” Charlie the Dog.” The formations are so iconic that they were named the first national natural landmark in America and have even been named one of the eight wonders of Kansas.
Know Before You Go
From US Route 83 south of Oakley, turn east onto Jayhawk Road at the Monument Rocks sign, go 4 miles east, then 2 miles south on Gove County Roads 14 and 16. These roads for the most are gravel, but good. The formations are located on private property, and visitors are welcomed on a goodwill basis. Climbing and touching them erodes the formations, and ruins this geological wonder for future generations.