Snow and ice glisten off the tall granite spires with a back drop of snowy mountains and a deep blue sky.
It's silent except for the chattering of a Clark's nutcracker going from one pinyon pine to another.
The City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rocks State Park seem as if they are in the middle of nowhere. They're located about 7 miles from the Idaho-Utah border - a remote but accessible getaway during winter.
And chances are, you'll probably have some of the trails and maybe even the campground to yourself.
There aren't many visitors to the state and federal recreation areas in winter, but there's a lot to do and see.
In summer, the area can get as many as 500 to 800 visitors a day. In winter, it can be one, two or 25.
"We're unknown," said Juanita Jones, visitor services coordinator at City of Rocks National Reserve.
What many don't know is that City of Rocks offers a lot of recreation from ice climbing to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter.
It is known internationally for rock and ice climbing. But if climbing is too much for you, relax.
Head out on snowshoes to scenic rock towers. Snowshoeing in the middle of pinyon pines, sagebrush and granite spires is not your everyday snowshoeing trip.
If you're a shutterbug, it's a photographer's paradise with mountain scenes few ever see. Try snow-covered, steel-gray steeple rocks reaching for an endless blue sky.
The rocks, which are millions of years old, are some of the oldest in the United States. That's just in case you're into geology.
The area also is home to the California Trail and lots of pioneer and American Indian history.
It's all easy to enjoy because you can camp in the Smoky Mountain Campground in Castle Rocks State Park with electric hookups and an outhouse.
What also makes the campground convenient is that it doesn't get that much snow through the winter.
The valley, which includes the ranching community of Almo, is unique in that surrounding mountain ranges block a lot of the snow from the lower elevations of the reserve, state park and town.
Rangers say the area is in the middle of a banana belt.
It's easy to just take a stroll on plowed roads throughout the campground, state park or national reserve.
"Just bring snow boots or snowshoes and you'll be OK," said Wallace Keck, superintendent of the national reserve.
The lack of snow is good for access and winter camping, but it doesn't mean there aren't snow sports. The snow gets deeper just a few miles up from the campground in the higher elevations of the state park and reserve.
In addition to that, as snow depths wane later in winter, the park's staff plows roads higher and higher into the recreation area to get to better snow.
If you're a snowmobiler, the snow-covered gravel roads at higher elevations are good for exploring, depending on conditions.
After exploring Castle Rocks State Park and City of Rocks National Reserve in winter, you'll come away with a solid impression about the silence and the chance to get away from it all.
Keck summed it up perfectly:
"It's the solitude of being in a special place."
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors