Scenic USA - Kansas

Keyhole Arch

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Keyhole Arch - Lewis, Kansas

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

   Monument Rocks, sometimes called the Kansas Pyramids, were introduced as the stateís first National Natural Landmark in 1968. Located in the midst of Grove County farmland, just about 30 miles south of I-70, this unusual collection of monoliths will astonish those first time visitors. Lying on private property, the gracious landowners allow visitors the freedom to enjoy this site and ask only for respect of this fragile landmark.
   This central Kansas location was once covered in the vast Niobrara Sea. Although itís extremely difficult to imagine, the caulk and Keyhole Arch - Lewis, Kansas limestone fins you see today are made up of layer upon layer of ancient sea creatures and shells. Rising up 70 feet, these soft cliffs are all that remain of an 80 million year old sea bed.
   Spread over 10 acres of windswept prairie, Monument Rocks slowly changes year after year. Todayís Keyhole Arch, pictured here, was once a small pinhole. Prairie winds and driving rains have quickly increased the size of the opening.
   Once land of the Sioux, Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Apache Natives, these eerie landforms were viewed as sacred spiritual grounds. Beginning in the 1840s, early pioneers followed John C. Fremont westward. This flood of settlers increased Indianís disdain and attacks became more frequent. Just to the south, Fort Monument was established to protect this steady of settlers passing through Kansas on the Smoky Hill Trail.

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