Do You Make Cairns When Hiking?

Have you ever been hiking along a trail and see a pile of stones stacked on top of each other. Though they’re made of natural rocks, they stick out like a sore thumb because you can instantly tell it’s not a natural formation. These small stacks of rocks are known as cairns. Cairns along hiking trails are often maintained by groups of hikers adding a stone when they pass.

Cairns date back hundreds of years and can be traced back to the British Isles. They’ve been used to mark burial sites, mile markers, and even ancient light houses (build a cairn and stick a torch on top). But the ones we’re talking about are tiny, often consisting of only 5-10 stones.

Something like this:

cairn DuPont State Forest

Building cairns along trails is quite popular. It’s also common for hikers to add a stone to the top of the cairn as he/she passes by. I’ve never built one or added a stone to one, but I think I will next time I run across one.

Have you built a cairn before? Where is it?

Here are a few more pictures:

cairn stone formation

cairn rock formation

cairn stacked stone formation