Petit Jean Mountain Memories

As the first of many adventures for my spring break my dad and I went to Petit Jean mountain for the evening. Having only a few hours, we visited some of the more easily accessible spots on the mountain which meant excluding a good view of the infamous Cedar Falls, but I plan on revisiting with my camera very soon. We spent the evening revisiting some of our favorite places on the mountain with the sunset at Red Bluff Drive planned as our final stop. 


Growing up my family has always been big into camping. Not the kind that pitch your tent on the dirt road, but the kind that pulls their RV into the camp site and walk to the bath house to shower every night. Out favorite place to camp has always been Petit Jean State Park. We always explain our relationship to Petit Jean through explaining how the park rangers know not only us, but the names of our dogs as well. 

Another major factor in my memories of Petit Jean Mountain include camping with my cousins Abby and Haley and my aunt and uncle. We are regular campsite reservers, often making reservations a full year in advance for our annual camping trips on the 4th of July and spring break. 

One of our many favorite places on the mountain is the Gravesite of Petit Jean which we respectively refer to as "the dead girl's grave" as was pinned by my younger cousin. This also overlooks the valleys and lands below the mountain and has numerous rocks and boulders below the main sidewalks. As children we considered ourselves regular visitors and thus above using the sidewalks. 

Beside the gravesite overlook there is an old frame and chimney that sit on the edge of the mountain. We often found ourselves wondering down to this old building frame when the rocks of the overlook became underwhelming or overcrowded. 

Another one of our favorite spots was, of course, the playground. As we got older and became a little more adventurous we discovered the area behind the playground consisted of a boat house and dock as well as a dam area which was indecisive on its role as a climbing zone or waterfall. 

If you're not noticing the pattern, we really enjoyed climbing and exploring as children; therefore, we also greatly enjoyed hiking to the Rock House Cave. On the way to the Rock House Cave we hiked over the turtle rocks, an expanse of rocks the are rounded and carved out in shapes that look surprisingly similar to giant turtle shells, thus the name turtle rocks. These slightly treacherous surfaces served as a challenge we accepted in climbing over every single one. As we went down the trail, the Rock House Cave is actually underneath the expanse of turtle rocks. 

The Rock House Cave is exactly what it sounds like - a big cave filled with big rocks and dirt. As kids we used to go into the cave in clean clothes and leave totally covered in the dust that covered the entire floor of the cave and thus all the rocks as well. We could spend hours climbing around and finding our favorite spots. 

A more recent favorite of mine in Red Bluff Drive, a perfect place to watch the sunset. It is a modest, simple dirt spot at the end of the dirt road that overlooks the valleys and surrounding mountains with a perfect view of the sunset nearly every time, and this Saturday night was no exception.