When hiking or camping in Montana everyone should try to use the "leave no trace" policy. Clean up after yourself. Don't leave garbage and trash in our wilderness. "Leave no trace" also means to leave the wilderness alone. Don't disturb it. The more people that visit Montana, the more we will need to remind them to not disturb our wilderness. That also means don't stack rocks or build "cairns" randomly near trails.

Stacks Of Rocks in Montana Isn't Always a Good Thing

A "cairn" is a man made stack of rocks. Throughout history, cairns were used to help make sure hikers were on the correct trails. They were also used as markers for historic events. When I visited and toured Scotland we saw quite a few historic cairns, marking famous battles. Random cairns aren't always a good thing though.

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Reasons Why You Shouldn't Stack Rocks in the Montana Woods

According to IFLScience, you shouldn't be randomly stacking rocks on your hikes or while camping. There are quite a few reasons for this.

  • The practice goes against the "leave no trace behind" policy.
  • You never know what small animals you are displacing by moving the stones.
  • Moving rocks can also lead to erosion.
  • Just placing cairns wherever you want can confuse other hikers.

If You See A Stack of Rocks, Leave It Alone

If you see stacks of rocks on your hikes, you should just leave them alone at this point. There is no need to add to them and even though you may get the urge to knock the rocks over, that could also cause even more harm to our wilderness and confusion for hikers.

Credit: Chris Wolfe
Credit: Chris Wolfe
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US National Parks Department Recommends to Stop Stacking Rocks

The number of unauthorized stacks of rocks is getting out of control. There are so many of them that the US National Parks Department suggests that walkers and hikers are getting confused by them and aren't able to use them for navigation.

Be Safe in Montana's Woods

If you are going to be heading out into the Montana wilderness any time soon make sure that you have protection, bring your bear spray. In the meantime please continue to practice "leave no trace behind" in the Montana woods.

You Know You're a Montanan If You Can End These With 'In the Woods'

Here's a fun way to see if you're a "true" Montanan. If you can end any of these phrases with "in the woods" and it applies to you, you might be a Montanan. Enjoy.