Located southeast of Kamloops stands one of the tallest geological oddities around.
The Pillar is a chunk of stone nearly 20 metres tall with a massive boulder on top holding it in place. The yellowish structure is made of conglomerate rock, which differs from other balancing rocks in the area, since it’s chunky and looks like it’s soft, even as it towers above you.
We went to visit it earlier this month, since it’s fairly close (about an hour away, if you head toward Chase and turn south on to the Shuswap-Chase Road, which turns into the Chase-Falkland Road quickly).
Parking for the short hike is sort of awkward, as it’s the day-use and boat launch for Pillar Lake (guess where that name came from). That means you have to park down by the lake and then cross the road at your own risk to get to the trailhead. Luckily, it’s not a very busy road, so no Frogger skills will be needed.
The Pillar shouldn’t be climbed. But you probably already knew that. Photo: Brendan Kergin
The trail is relatively easy in some ways — clearly marked, not many obstacles, dirt — but is incredibly steep.
The distance from the road to the Pillar is only a couple of hundred metres at most; the trail twists and turns, and you ascend a couple of dozen meters as well. Steady feet on occasionally slippery spots is needed.
Standing amongst trees around the same height on a steep hillside, the Pillar is visible from the road, but not from the trail, so it’s a bit of a surprise when you get to it.
The stone column is a bit different from others in the area; it’s surrounded by fairly dense forest, and while the yellowish stone making up the Pillar stands out from the forest, it does get camouflaged by trees getting in the way.
The Pillar is right on the path, and you can go right up to its base. However, the best vantage point is a little further up, so you can see the capstone at eye level.
Signs remind people that the Pillar is delicate and not for climbing. It should be obvious, since it doesn’t look particularly stable, and you wouldn’t want to be the person who has it fall on them.
For more information, check out the provincial park website.