The origin of Pawnee Rock began about 100 million years ago when layers of sandy and clay sediments formed the Dakota Formation. This formation was then covered over by other layers and compressed. Over the millions of years the upper layers have worn away leaving Pawnee Rock. The formation got its name from a battle the Pawnee Tribe fought near here. For years this rock was a landmark to various Indian Tribes. From 1821 to the late 1800s it was used as a landmark by those traveling the Santa Fe Trail.
Today this is a nice spot to stop and look out over the flat plains, and contemplate the lives of those who passed this way before. There is a monument here placed by various women's groups, a picnic area, and a short paved walkway to the top.