One of the best kept secrets of Central Oregon may be a pile of rocks. But not just any rocks – the Metolius Balancing Rocks. They’re a series of stone spires balanced precariously over the Metolius River, and the site of many adventurous hikes.
The Balancing Rocks are an unusual remnant of Oregon’s volcanic history: three different volcanic tuffs that were essentially welded against each other over years of geological activity. Erosion slowly wore away the softer rock at the base, leaving boulder-shaped stones seamingly stacked on ever-narrowing pillars. Today they stand above the river, appearing almost human-made in their strangeness.
For years the Balancing Rocks were kept secret to save the area from vandalism and hordes of eager Oregon explorers. But a 2002 fire tore through the area and exposed the rocks; now the location is back on the grid.
To find the Metolius Balancing Rocks, drive to the Perry South Campground in Cove Palisades State Park near the Deschutes National Forest. A parking area and trailhead are situated 13.7 miles west of the Deschutes River arm bridge. The rocks are just inside the Deschutes National Forest; GPS coordinates are 44° 34.672 N, 121° 25.315 W.