This content is no longer being updated. As a result, you may encounter broken links or information that may not be up-to-date. For more information contact us.

City of Rocks

It is called a city, but nobody lives here. The City of Rocks in Southern Idaho is an eerie, granite landscape where rock spires reach six stories high.

city of rocks Some of the oldest rocks in the nation can be found at the City of Rocks. Geologists say the Green River Complex found in the City of Rocks is some 2.5 billion years old. Eons ago, the Green River Complex mingled with another, far younger formation--a mere 25-million years old. Once buried under the Earth's surface, the rocks were eventually exposed. Once exposed, wind, water and the elements began eroding the rock --chipping, cracking and molding the rock into an eerie landscape.

Some see animals, faces and buildings in the shapes. One traveler on the Oregon Trail wrote "...we passed through a stone village composed of huge, isolated rocks...some resembling cottages, others steeples and domes. It is called "City of Rocks," but I think the name "Pyramid City" more suitable."

city of rocks"This is a place without appointment. No one expects you today or tomorrow. Even the bees, asleep in God's pocket, keep no schedule. The horizon swings open like a shadow hinged to its own reflection, to a place deep inside of you, half dark, half light," writes poet William Studebaker, who draws inspiration from the weathered rocks. "There is a kind of consciousness in the landscape, and it is concentrated in locations like the City of Rocks," he says. "I'm trying to translate that into poetry for people who don't have the opportunity to come here."

Others look at the rocks and see adventure. The City of Rocks is a magnet for rock climbers. They come to test their skills against rock spires of up to 600 feet tall. Over the years, they have found some 700 climbing routes, some with inspiring names like "Bloody Fingers." In 1988, the City of Rocks was made a National Reserve.


City of Rocks National Reserve
Climbing in the City of Rocks

Home | About Idaho | Tour the State | Idaho Adventures | Four Photographers' Views | Resources