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Monument Rocks/Chalk Pyramids – Monument Rocks Natural Area, Kansas

Monument Rocks Natural Area, one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas, is a striking collection of chalk pinnacles, small buttes, spires, and arches—remnants of an ancient Kansas Sea, known as the Western Interior Seaway, these badlands were designated as the first National Natural Landmark in the state in 1968.

Rising nearly 70 feet above the Kansas plains, these geologic wonders are collectively known as the Badlands of Kansas—the layers of Monument Rocks are comprised of chalky limestone and chalky shale that range in color from white to light gray and buff.

To reach the monument, locally called the Kansas Pyramids, one must drive on gravel roads that are notoriously impassable after any significant rain so take heed—dry conditions, on the other hand allow for easy navigation, including in a RV.

Approaching the rocks from County Road Gove 16, the spires and buttes become visible from miles away—there are two groupings of rocks, one on the southeast side of the road and one on the northwest.

Each grouping is worthy of several hours of exploration—hiking among the rock formations allows for excellent views of the badlands and the chance to observe the many birds and other animals that call the chalk pyramids home. Circumnavigating the groupings will total approximately a quarter-mile of hiking each, for a roundtrip of about 0.5-mile—in this short distance, you will enjoy panoramic vistas that include formations known as Charlie the Dog and the Keyhole Arch.

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