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Fort Rock State Natural Area

Rising up like a huge fort out of Oregon’s high desert, Fort Rock State Park is a natural wonder to behold. The surrounding state recreation area is a great spot for hiking day trips and beautiful scenery, and you won’t want to miss it on your next trip to central Oregon!

Ancient Remnants to Explore

Fort Rock is essentially the remains of a very old volcanic eruption. It’s a huge ring made of tuff, the ash that gets deposited when a volcano blows big. This fascinating geological formation also has an ancient human history: it’s the site of some of the oldest sandals ever found! Several pairs of sagebrush sandals have been found in the cave here, dated at between 9,000 and 11,000 years old. The Fort Rock Cave itself, where the sandals were found, is a National Heritage Site, only able to be visited through a guided Fort Rock State Park tour. Make reservations at the Park Store of the Oregon State Parks website. Tours are available in summer months only, approximately once a week, so plan your visit well in advance. The cost is only $10 per person, quite a deal for the wealth of history you’ll receive!

The Real “Old West”

For history buffs, a trip to Fort Rock Natural Area just wouldn’t be complete without a stop in the actual town of Fort Rock. The Fort Rock Valley Historical Homestead Museum here offers a fascinating look into pioneer life. They’ve rescued many historic buildings and moved them to the museum site, thus creating a fairly authentic impression of an old west town. Seasonally evolving exhibits, both indoor and outdoor, paint a picture of homestead life in the past. You’ll see various examples of homesteaders’ furniture, tools, and household items, and can try to imagine what life was like for these hard-working Oregon pioneer families.

Visit from Bend or Sunriver

Whether you choose to stay in either Bend or Sunriver, you’ll find that Fort Rock State Park is a nice distance for a day trip visit (just an hour south from Sunriver, and a bit more from Bend). The 370 acres of this park area offer ample opportunities for hiking and birdwatching, as well as clean restrooms and picnic tables for you to enjoy your lunch. Bring your hiking boots, binoculars, family, and picnic, and enjoy a day at this beautiful site! For more hikes in Sunriveractivities and attractions suggestions, don’t hesitate to contact us!

By MARELBU, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55751507