On December 12, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson dedicated Scotts Bluff National Monument – a testament to westward expansion.
Located in western Nebraska, Scotts Bluff looms up out of the flat land… indicating to the early pioneers that their destination was getting closer, but also that their trip was going to get harder.
Several of National Historic Trails pass through Scotts Bluff – the Mormon Trail, the California Trail, the Pioneer Trail and the Oregon Trail. Even the Pony Express passed through here.
Wagon trains on the Oregon Trail (the 2,000 mile route to the Pacific Northwest) went by Chimney Rock in Nebraska – an early indicator that they were soon to be leaving the prairies.
24 miles farther west on the trail, they reached Scotts Bluff and it’s looming sandstone cliffs. Now they knew they had reached the foothills of the Rockies and began the long climb up and over Mitchell Pass.
Today you can drive through this pass. Much easier!
You can also drive up Summit Road or take a shuttle. It is just 1.6 miles to the top of the summit. You pass through 3 tunnels on the way – these are the only road tunnels in the entire state of Nebraska!
Once you reach the top, the view is amazing, especially at sunset. When we were there the tops of the bluffs turned gold. Gorgeous!
We hiked the Summit Trail; starting at the visitor center. This winds up to the top of the bluff and is a great hike.
You hike along the bluff and through tunnels.
What we remember most from here was how wonderful the rangers were – so interesting and helpful. Be sure to stop at the Visitor Center and say hi!
Need Help Planning your Visits?
If you would like to explore this or other National Park Units, but need a bit help in the planning, please give us a call at (480) 609-3978. We are happy to offer customized trip planning.