Trail / Park Info:
Parking: There is lots of free parking available at the entrance to the park. There is also a large pavilion with picnic tables near the entrance.
Directions on PCs: Locate the Google map below the search box on the right-hand side of this webpage. Click “Get Directions” on the map pin details.
Directions on Tablets and Mobile Phones: Locate the Google map near the bottom of this page, just below the search box. Click “Get Directions” on the map pin details.
Scripture Rocks Heritage Park is the largest collection of rock art in the country, containing 4.5 acres of forest dotted with biblical-themed engravings created by Douglas Stahlman beginning in 1911. The park also contains a small prehistoric rock shelter used by Native Americans and a failed coal mine. This has got to be one of the most unique parks I’ve ever been to, as it’s not often that biblical-themed inscriptions are found in the woods very often. I’ve seen lots of painted graffiti all over the state and country, but never before had I seen biblical text inscriptions!
Each trail is well documented with bright colored visual markers along the trails or where trails begin or end. There is lots of information available via historical markers placed throughout the park.
Information about the creator of the carvings is displayed all around the park. Above the marker talks about Stahlman’s struggles with cash and his expected support payments from members of the community. Stahlman was quite the character, with details about his trials and tribulations at every corner of the park.
The park is scattered with carvings similar to those above, routinely engraved with the same three font sizes, and an amazingly consistent font style.
The paths around the rocks are generally passable by all, but to see the details in many of the rocks you need to walk around and over rocks and generally uneven ground.
Each inscription is marked with a number that can be found on the map provided by the park for a small fee (available by the parking lot) or at the top of this post.
Even without the inscriptions, the park makes for an excellent place to take a walk, with lots of shaded areas, and plenty of benches to take breaks. The tree cover is a natural air conditioning system providing relaxing comfort on hot days.
Stahlman held open-air church services around “Altar Rock” with as many as seventy people attending at the church’s height of popularity. He eventually constructed a roof over the rock, then added walls, and began living in this one-room shanty by 1914. It is assumed that the structure burned to the ground as there was no evidence of its remains in a photo taken in 1918.
Stahlman had a checkered past with a nationally known tragedy involving his wife dying when he denied her medical care. Curse rock highlights Stahlman’s past struggles with the inscription “Five members of that family took part in wickedness against me, and every one of the five is dead and buried”.
Port Bernett Rock Shelter:
In addition to the inscriptions, there is a small Native American rock shelter along the right-hand side of the red trail on the top edge of the map.
The rock shelter is small, but in a bad storm, I could see a small group keeping dry underneath.
The rocks above are perched on layers of smaller crushed and uneven rocks below, which kept this intrepid explorer from inquiring any further than shown. I like a good cave system, but I like stability and not being crushed even more, so I decided to keep out.
Scripture Rocks is a great place to spend an hour or three wandering around and reading about Douglas Stahlman, his struggles, and how he committed so much time and energy to his inscriptions. I’ve only included a few photos of his many works, so go check out the rest!