Moments in History: Scotts Bluff National Monument

Chimney Rock is a part of Scotts Bluff National Monument.  Scotts Bluff is another landmark of the Oregon Trail, and is a must stop for history buffs and people who are interested in the settlement of the West.  Or people who have played Oregon Trail…

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We started our trip at Scotts Bluff by picking up Jr. Ranger Booklets at the visitor center.  There isn’t much else to do at this visitor center, but you can get maps and brochures.  We had some time before we wanted to eat lunch, so we decided to go ahead and drive to the top of the bluff.  The drive is really pretty.  More of the tunnels like we saw on the Needles Highway, and lots of twists and turns.

There is a parking lot at the top, and you can walk in both directions along the top of the bluff and look down.  The view is amazing.  Just like Chimney Rock, the area around the bluff is flat plains.  That’s what made them such amazing landmarks for the settlers.

There is also some interesting plant life and fun rock formations. Like this rock with a mossy hairdo…

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There is also a marker dedicating the bluff to Hiram Scott.  Scott was a fur trader who got ill on his travels.  His companions left him behind so that he wouldn’t slow them down and cause them to be attacked by Indians.  Scott died before they could return, and the bluff was named after him.

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After driving back down to the visitor center, we stopped for a picnic lunch at one of the tables outside.  It was HOT.  Make sure you bring plenty of water if you are visiting in the summer.  After our picnic, we went on a hike along the actual Oregon Trail.  You can stop for pictures with this wagon and “oxen”.

Here J died of dysentary…

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(If you didn’t get that joke, you need to play Oregon Trail more…)

Walking along the Oregon Trail, you can see the wagon ruts from the actual settlers heading west.  It’s pretty amazing to see them and realize that they have lasted all this time.

The bottom picture here shows the ruts, looking up at the bluffs.

After our hike, we headed back to the visitor center and the kids finished up their Jr. Ranger badges and did the pledge.

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We spent several hours at Scotts Bluff, probably 3-4.  We also had the place mostly to ourselves, which was both nice and sad.  So many of our National Parks are under appreciated.  It is a shame because there is so much beauty and history in our country that people need to get out and explore.  But now it was time to head off for one last stop in Nebraska – for a snack!

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