Maryhill Stonehenge Memorial
A Long Standing Tribute
This Stonehenge is a curiosity, kind of in the middle of nowhere. This memorial sits atop a windswept hill overlooking the mighty Columbia River. We found out about it while looking up information on area campgrounds.
While it is off the beaten path, it was only a short diversion from our intended destination. We are glad we took the time to visit. We’ve never seen the real Stonehenge, but this replica is impressive. It is impressive, if for no other reason than the shear determination it took to erect such a structure. We tip our hats to the effort and memory of Samuel Hill.
Driving along the Columbia River Gorge
If you’re coming from the Seattle/Tacoma area Google Maps will suggest you take I-90 east over the Cascades and then head south through Yakima. However, we took I-5 south to Vancouver and then drove east along the Columbia River. If you’ve never been on this drive before we highly recommend it. The views are unbelievable!
From Vancouver we headed east on State Route 14 and made our first stop at the Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge. We walked a long trail which led to an interpretive area with plenty of wildlife around us. The trails here are extensive and go on for what seems like forever. The paths meander through wetlands and tall grass. We spotted many birds, a few deer and some rabbits along the way. We also encountered some very enthusiastic bird watchers.
Head east about another six miles and you’ll reach Bridge of the Gods. After reading the book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, we had decided to pay the $0.50 toll to cross the bridge.
Now we were in Oregon and on I-84. Heading east for about an hour we reached U.S. 97 and crossed back over the Columbia into Washington. No toll here. Continue north for a short distance, make a right onto State Route 14 and you’ll quickly come to the memorial.
Memorial for World War I
Constructed of concrete, this replica was completed in 1929 as a memorial to those who gave their lives in World War I. The Maryhill Stonehenge was the first U.S. monument memorializing the dead of WWI. Samuel Hill, who also had a part in the creation of Peace Arch, commissioned the structure. Hill believed the original Stonehenge had been used for sacrificial purposes and designed the Maryhill site as a reminder that sacrifice was still being given to the god of war. Hill died only 2 years after the completion of the monument and is buried near his creation just down the bluff.
The Columbia River is ever visible from this spot of high ground and makes for remarkable views. This part of Washington is high and dry. Grasslands with rolling hills and cliffs stand in sharp contrast to the ribbon of dark blue the Columbia provides.
Many of the highest hills are lined with the bright white blades of wind turbines. These white giants are a wonder of modern technology. On the lower, flatter plains, large swaths of deep green orchards and farmlands blanket the land like a quilt.
A Lot to See in the Middle of Nowhere
Nearby you’ll find the 99-acre Maryhill State Park. With its 4,700-feet of waterfront this park provides plenty of water activities as well as a 1.1 mile hiking trail and 70 camping sites.
If you drive 3 miles west on State Route 14 you’ll come by the Maryhill Museum of Art. With an area of 5,300 acres it’s known as “the world’s most isolated art museum.”
Roughly 10 miles north of Stonehenge is Goldendale Observatory State Park. The park is home to one of the nation’s largest public telescopes and provides tours and sky-gazing opportunities year round.
As you can see, there’s a lot to do around here.
We really found this to be a worthy stop. The monument, its backstory, the history of the site and the views made this a great visit for us. Definitely stop and walk around the Maryhill Stonehenge if you’re in the area.
Upon leaving we noticed something interesting: the Bing Streetside vehicle just pulled up. After 4 months of periodically checking online we finally found ourselves!
After leaving the memorial our next stop was Brooks Memorial State Park where we would stay the night. This is a 700-acre park with 9 miles of hiking trails and 45 camping sites.
Heading home in the morning we opted to take Google’s directions and drive north through Yakima and then west over the Cascades.