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Fort Irwin, California: Painted Rocks - Military Boulders

A cluster of local boulders have been decorated with military emblems.

Ft. Irwin Rd., Fort Irwin, CA
Off Interstate 15 just north of Barstow, take the Ft. Irwin Road exit, turn west, drive for 23 miles. Rocks are on right.
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Visitor Tips and News About Painted Rocks - Military Boulders

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Painted Rocks - Military Boulders.

Painted Rocks - Military Boulders

As noted in previous tips, it is now a tradition for units training at Fort Irwin to paint their unit's crest and motto on one of the boulders. Unlike the museum, this is outside the Fort Irwin gates; visitors do not have to obtain a pass to view.

[David, 11/09/2018]

Gator insignia on rocks.

Painted Rocks - Military Boulders

The Painted Rocks are quite an awesome attraction. We learned from our Fort Irwin tour guide that the oldest insignia still found on the boulders represents Fort Hood, Texas, and features the picture of an alligator. Finding the alligator can be a little tricky. From the front of the boulders, walk around the left side of the pile toward the back. About halfway to the back of the pile, start looking over your right shoulder and up into the pile. If you get to the back half of the pile, turn around and walk toward the front; it is much easier to see from that direction.

[Gary Epperson, 10/18/2012]

Military boulders of Fort Irwin.

The Rockpile

Ft. Irwin is located in the geographic center of the middle of nowhere. It's not at the end of the world, but you can see it from there. Seriously, Ft. Irwin is located well off the beaten path, but that is by design. Among other things the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines send their troops to Ft. Irwin to train for war.

Many years ago one of the squadrons visiting Ft. Irwin climbed to the top of the rockpile and painted their company colors on one of the rocks. As time went on other squads painted their colors on the rockpile as well and over the years it has grown into the spectacle it is today.

BTW, the museum at Ft. Irwin has a diorama featuring Hi Jolly with a genuine mounted camel hide.

[Greg Brown, 05/20/2002]
Military Boulders

Fort Irwin has a unique monument to all of the units that have been sent there for training. Huge painted boulders, that bear paintings of unit insignias. The troops transport these monster rocks to the spot themselves. It is a sight to see, if you don't mind a 30 mile side trip to nowhere! It's on the right side of the road, and CAN'T be missed! You will also be passing Coyote dry lake, where hundreds of films, music videos, and commercials are filmed every year. It even has water in it 2 days a year!

[W. A. Sayer, 07/03/1999]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Abandoned Waterpark, Guerrilla Art SiteAbandoned Waterpark, Guerrilla Art Site, Newberry Springs, CA - 20 mi.
Calico Ghost TownCalico Ghost Town, Yermo, CA - 21 mi.
Ice Cream Sundae Water TankIce Cream Sundae Water Tank, Yermo, CA - 23 mi.
In the region:
Peggy Sue's Diner and Diner-Saur Park, Yermo, CA - 25 mi.

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