Independence Rock

State Historic Site

DATES OPEN:Year round, weather permitting

HOURS: Daylight hours (for viewing); grounds open 24 hours

FACILITIES:Rest area with restrooms, picnic grounds, telephone, drinking water, visitor center, and trailer sanitary station. Camping requires a special use permit.


HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE: Partially—rest area is accessible; the footpaths going to the rock are not accessible.

LOCATION: Approximately 20 miles northeast of Muddy Gap on the south side of State Route 220 at the Independence Rock Rest Area.

Independence Rock

This distinct granite outcropping, which measures more than a mile around its base, has been an important landmark for centuries, earning a place in several Native American legends and in countless diaries of pioneers headed west in the 1800s. Independence Rock, which got its name from a fourth of July celebration first held at the site in 1830, is covered with the signatures and inscriptions of thousands of pioneers who stopped at the landmark on the way to Oregon, Utah, and California. The rock itself was exposed through erosion, and sand and silt carried by the wind have scoured the rock’s surface to a high polish, ideal for inscribing. Visitors can examine this “Register of the Desert” up close and stand where early travelers stood to leave their marks. Take time to explore Independence Rock and be sure to examine the nearby wagon ruts from the Emigrant Trails.



In Tar and Paint and Stone: The Inscriptions at Independence Rock  and Devil’s Gate, by Levida Hileman (High Plains Press, 2001).

Protect Our Heritage!
Independence Rock is known for its preserved signatures of historic emigrants. Visitors are welcome to view these signatures up close and even climb on top of the rock to get a better view. However, defacing signatures or adding your own signature is prohibited. Digging, artifact collecting, and metal detecting are not allowed.

To report vandalism, call:

Independence Rock Office
(307) 577-5150