I think anyone who spends enough time in the Oregon outdoors slowly develops a love for the amazing array of colorful, ancient, and funky rocks of the region. And that’s probably especially true for folks in Central Oregon, who are surrounded by the arid beauty of the high desert, and the legacy of the state’s volcanic past.
But few become as intrigued by Oregon’s stony quirks as Rasmus Petersen, a Danish immigrant who explore the high desert in the 1900’s, and collected an electric arrangement of rocks now known as the Petersen Rock Garden and Museum.
Located outside of Redmond, the museum is a mixture of sculptures, bridges, castles, and more - all made from a wide variety of rocks. Petersen originally bought the four acres of property to start an agricultural venture, but his fascination with geology instead led him to amass a significant collection of local rocks. He built the garden himself with rocks he found during is forays into the desert. After his death in 1952 his family opened the place to the public as a museum and roadside attraction.
Due to a lack of funds, the museum closed temporarily in 2013 and again in September 2016, but is now open to visitors on a donation basis. You’ll find an astonishing variety of stones and boulders in the rock garden, as well as fascinating sculptures and bits of architecture. A flock of 30 or so peacocks roam the grounds, adding color to the already charming spot.
You’ll want to carve out about an hour to explore the grounds, pop in the museum for a postcard, and watch the antics of the peacocks. There's a lock box in the parking lot it you wish to chip in and support the upkeep of the museum and grounds.