Monument Rock

  • Easy (to Bullrun Rock)
  • 4.4 miles round trip
  • 380 feet elevation gain
  • Open July through November
  • Use: hikers, horses

  • Moderate (to Monument Rock)
  • 5.6 miles round trip
  • 550 feet elevation gain

On this sagebrush mountaintop, white and orange butterflies swarm about the mysterious 8-foot circular rock cairn that gives the Monument Rock Wilderness its name. No trail climbs to this lithic landmark, visible from far across the wilderness area’s alpine mesa. For easier viewpoint goals, hike to Bullrun Rock or drive to the Table Rock lookout, on the two other corners of this scenic triangular plateau.

From John Day, drive …

Lichens encrust only small parts of the shaley andesite in this mysterious cylindrical stack, suggesting that it was built about a century ago. Certainly the region’s Paiute Indians did not use this kind of stonework. Perhaps the cairn dates to the gold miners who began prospecting north of Bullrun Rock in 1865. More likely, however, bored Basque shepherds assembled the cairn when they began grazing their flocks across these high meadows in the early 1900s.

If you’re backpacking, …

This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Eastern Oregon.