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Hike-in Required
No
Open Year-round
?
ADA accessible
No
Guided tours
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Located 25 miles southeast of Newberry Volcano in a southeastern Oregon lake bed formed in the ice age, Fort Rock is an iconic geological formation that rises up to 300 feet above the sage-filled high desert landscape.

Estimated to have been created as many as 100,000 years ago, magma pushed through a giant pluvial lake (Fort Rock Lake) and created a tuff ring roughly a half-mile in diameter. Originally a circular mound of granular ash, lava particulates, and mud from the lake-bed, the formation has slowly weathered and eroded into the jagged formation found today. As you visit, look closely around the base of Fort Rock to find numerous signs of smooth erosion caused by the lapping waters of Fort Rock Lake.

Fort Rock is also famed as being home to some of the oldest-known human artifacts found anywhere in North America. Within the Fort Rock Cave, just west of the main Fort Rock formation, archeologists have discovered more than 70 sagebrush and bark woven sandals that are between 9,000 and 13,000 years old.

Previously located within private property owned by ranchers Reuben "Reub" and Eleanor Long, the 370 acres surrounding Fork Rock was donated by the couple to the State of Oregon in 1962. The state created Fork Rock State Park and later renamed it Fort Rock State Natural Area.

Silver Lake Cowboy Dinner Tree

One of the Oregon's true Wild West experiences, the Silver Lake Cowboy Dinner Tree serves up some of the best and biggest steaks (30 ounces!) in the state, has some of the friendliest hosts, and is a must-stop for any visitor in the Fort Rock/Silver Lake area. While dining next to a wood-fired stove in the festooned cabin you'll have two choices for dinner, a 26- to 30-ounce top sirloin steak or a whole roasted chicken. Seriously, come prepared with an appetite as their pre-set meals aren't for lightweights.

From June 1 through October 31 the Silver Lake Cowboy Dinner Tree is open Thursday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; from November through May it is open from Friday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Reservations are required and only cash is accepted. Call 541.576.2426 for reservations and pricing. It is located 5.1 miles south of Silver Lake on E Bay Road/NF-28, roughly a 45-minute drive from Fort Rock.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Iconic and unique geological formation.

Cons

Summer sun exposure. Remote location.

Pets allowed

Allowed

Features

Geologically significant

Location

Field Guide

Comments

06/28/2018
They are working on some improvements to the picnic area, with more tables and shade.
06/09/2018
This is an amazing place! The photos do not do it justice. The hike is easy and the scenery is beautiful. Look for the birds nesting in the cliff face.
The drive to Fort Rock is on a nicely paved road-easily accessible to any vehicle.
10/22/2016
Fort Rock has so much beauty and history. Check out The Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon to see some of the sagebrush bark sandals.
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