You can see this giant pillar from the road, sticking out above the trees like some great stone forest beacon. It looks like a giant pillar, a solitary monolith left isolated in a sea of evergreens.
Stein’s Pillar is one of Oregon’s geological stones. If you reach the rock, you can truly experience its large scale and see the kilometer-long shadow it can cast on the ground.
The 350-foot-tall pillar is actually the remnant of an ancient volcano. In fact, it is a relic of a time when the Ochoco Mountains once spewed streams of lava and filled the air with clouds of ash, dust, and debris. Fortunately, the scenery is much calmer now, and a hike to the pillar leaves a pleasant outdoor experience.
The pillar has attracted people for centuries, and it is believed to have been used as a sacred site by Native Americans. The rock was named Steins Pillar after Major Enoch Steen, who visited the area in the mid-19th century. Steen’s name is often misspelled, and the people who named the rock after him used one of the most common variants-so the pillar was named Stein.
Today, climbers try their hand at climbing its smooth, steep sides. Touching the ancient natural skyscraper, they say, feels like ancient magic.