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What is a Rock Cairn?
A Rockcairn in Chaco Culture National Historic Monument Park

pronounced: (rõk)·(kârn) noun

1.) a pile of stones erected to define a path or mark a memorial. I am next to one on a trail in Chaco Culture National Historic Monument Park (see image to left).

Rock cairns are a popular way of marking or defining a trail/route above tree line. Below tree line, dead trees, trees with flags, etc. can be used to define a path, but above tree line the best natural resource is rock. By arranging a pile of stones, a marker (rock cairn) can be constructed which is visible from some distance away. By following rock cairns above tree line, the impact to the high alpine tundra can be minimized or controlled.

2.) Cairn: a small rough-haired breed of terrier (from Scotland).