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Recommended by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral industries

Fort Rock State Monument in Lake County, one of six National Natural Landmarks in Oregon

Fort Rock with its steep rock sides is the most striking example of the maars and tuff rings in the young volcanic landscape of the High Lava Plains province. It was formed by a shattering explosion in early Pleistocene time, when rising magma met a shallow lake that covered the Fort Rock and Christmas valleys. The lake water eroded part of the crater ring and left wave-cut benches that can be seen especially near the tips of the horseshoe-shaped “fort.”

In the caves cut along the edge of the lake in this vicinity, evidence of early human habitation has been found, including the 10,000-year-old woven sandals that are now thought to be the oldest shoes on record.

Access: From State Highway 31 (Designated Scenic Byway), about 60 mi south of Bend or 100 mi north of Lakeview. The 7-mi side road to Fort Rock is part of the scenic route. Photo contributed by Steve Fritz of Portland.

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Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries
800 NE Oregon Street, Suite 965, Portland, OR 97232-2162
971-673-1555, FAX 971-673-1562
email us at DOGAMI