Just a half hour’s drive from Bend, rises a rock so massive and fort-like, only the name Fort Rock would do it justice. This National Natural Landmark is a geological formation dating back to prehistoric times. How old is it? Word has it, someone found some sandals in a nearby cave dating back 9,000 to 13,000 years. Old as dirt!
On a more serious note, the big rock is a truly deserving of its “landmark” status. A tuff ring (a small volcanic cone surrounding a shallow crater), Fort Rock was set in a shallow sea during prehistoric times. Now, with the water gone, the rock is truly something to behold. If you have the pleasure of finding yourself in this neck of the desert, here are some things you might want to check out:
Fort Rock Homestead
Fort Rock Homestead marks the place where a community of homesteaders once lived.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go too well for them financially and they had to move on, yet their loss proved to be our gain. Now the buildings (three cabins, a church, a mercantile, and a school) have been moved into what is now known as the Fort Rock Homestead Village Museum.
Founded by the Fort Rock Valley Historical Society the museum opened its doors in 1988. Definitely one for the bucket list. It’s open Thursday – Sunday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for kids and under 5 are free.
Nearby Places To Visit
Hole in the Ground and Crack in the Ground: Guess those names came from the same master of the obvious that brought us the name Fort Rock, however, to be fair, they are very fitting. When you go to Hole in the Ground, you look at a big hole in the ground (actually a massive crater). When you visit Crack in the Ground, you go through a crack (actually a volcanic fissure). As they say, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Check them out for yourself and see what you make of them.
Cowboy Dinner Tree. Be sure to book your reservations (required) and bring your appetites. They sell out fast at the Cowboy Dinner Tree and with good reason. All the food is made from scratch, including the bottomless salad, bottomless beans, and bottomless homemade rolls. Leave some room for the berry shortcake for dessert, your stomach may not be as bottomless as the food!
To get to Fort Rock, take 97 S to 31 S. Take a left on County Road 5-10 and you will see the sign for Fort Rock. Make sure you fill up with gas before you leave Bend or fill up in La Pine.