What Is The Meaning Of Stacking Rocks On A Trail?

If you’re new to hiking and exploring the national parks you may have wondered about the rock stacks. These piles of stones, best known as cairns, seem to be everywhere!

They’re not just random piles of stones, these stacks of rocks have a meaning.

Stacked Rocks Meaning

Native Americans used a stack of stones for ceremonial purposes, to convey messages, mark water, or food sources. Settlers used stacked rocks as property boundary markers.

What are stone piles called?

These stone stacks are known by many names; the best-known names are inukshuks, by the Inuit people in North America, and the word cairn from the Scottish Gaelic.

Rock Stacking On Hiking Trails

Cairns marking a descent route can be lifesavers when you’re descending off mountain tops in bad weather and where getting lost can have serious consequences.

Stacking Stones For Fun

A stack of rocks can be a piece of art, a practice of patience, or even have a spiritual meaning, tapping into your inner zen as you patiently pile rocks one on top of the other.

These days there’s a lot of controversy around stacking large rocks. Not everyone agrees that rock balancing enhances the natural environment.

Modern Day Stone Stacking

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