On his way to California in 1849, emigrant James F. Wilkens described the dramatic geological area he encountered as "City of Rocks." The name remains, as well as hundreds of pioneer inscriptions, wagon ruts, and journal accounts, testifying to the nearly quarter-million people who traveled through here between 1843 and 1869. Visitors today will see nearly the same scene - granite spires and monoliths reaching 60 stories tall. Geologists estimate the oldest granite to exceed 2.5 billion years old. Climbers find the younger granite of the Almo Pluton to be some of the best rock they've ever ascended. Established by Congress in 1988 as a National Reserve, City of Rocks encompasses 14,407 acres of federal, state, and private lands containing grand scenery, rich cultural history, and places of relative solitude and silence. The Reserve's visitor center in Almo provides interpretive exhibits and detailed information about camping, hiking, and other recreational opportunities.