City – – Surface Surveys



City of Rocks National Reserve – Idaho, USA

Protected as a National Reserve in 1988

Extending over 14,400 acres, the City of Rocks National Reserve is comprised of rocky outcroppings of granite pinnacles, fins and domes that draw climbers from around the world. It is located at the southern end of the Albion Mountains in Southern Idaho.

City of Rocks is part of the geologic province known as Basin and Range. The bedrock that formed the City of Rocks was created 34.9 million years ago by a volcanic eruption. Then over millions of years, erosion sculpted the rock formations seen today.

Emigrants of the California Trail, which passed through the area described the rocks as “a city of tall spires,” “steeple rocks,” and “the silent city.” Today, it is known for some of the most challenging climbing routes in the US.

City is one of six individual studies in a series of protected desert physiographies titled Surface Surveys.  Each survey embodies the planet’s natural, essential expression, and underscores the ethereal nature of wild lands in our current, anthropocentric age.