Scotts Bluff National Monument

Scotts Bluff National Monument

Quick Facts

Scotts Bluff National Monument

Nebraska

(509) 234-0527

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

A prominent natural landmark for emigrants on the Oregon Trail, Scotts Bluff, Mitchell Pass and the adjacent prairie lands are set aside in a 3,000 acre national monument. This site preserves the memory of the historic Oregon, California and Mormon Trails. The monument museum contains exhibits about the human and natural history of the area and also holds a unique collection of watercolor paintings by the frontier photographer and artist William Henry Jackson.

The Scotts Bluff National Monument's Presidential Proclamation states that Scotts Bluff has "scientific interest ... from a geologic standpoint." The scientific interest of this site has been apparent since the late 1890s when the U.S. Geological Survey made the first formal geologic investigation of the area. Geologic publications relating to Scotts Bluff number at least nine and the area continues to be the subject of investigation. Although it appears the geology of Scotts Bluff has been well studied, the statement in the proclamation helps focus on one of the primary natural resources of the Monument, its geology.

Scotts Bluff is a topographic feature rising to 4,659 feet above sea level and 800 feet above the North Platte River. The geology of Scotts Bluff is significant from a natural resource standpoint because it affords a view of 740 feet of continuous geologic strata that spans a time period extending from 33 to 22 million years before present. This north face of Scotts Bluff has exposed the most geologic history of any location in the state of Nebraska. Visitors can easily view this resource while walking the Saddle Rock Trail.

Map of Scotts Bluff

Latitude, Longitude: 41.833533, -103.698642

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Activities

  • Bicycling

    The best views of Saddle Rock, Dome Rock, Sentinel Rock and Mitchell Pass can be seen from the monument's bicycle path. The paved 1.2 mile path leads from the visitor center parking lot to the east boundary of the monument. At the east boundary, the path connects with the cities of Scottsbluff and Gering's Monument Valley Pathway System.

    For safety reasons, bicycling on the Summit Road is prohibited when the road is open to vehicular traffic. When the Summit Road gate is locked, the road is open for biking during daylight hours.

    Every mid-July, the city of Gering holds the Bike Hill Climb - a timed race to the summit via the Summit Road in street and mountain bike divisions.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Visitors following the old Oregon Trail along the North Platte River using State Highways 26 or 92, should follow National Park Service signs. Additionally, you can drive the historic Summit Road or ride the guided Summit Shuttle to the top of Scotts Bluff.

  • Hiking

    Hike the 1.6 mile Saddle Rock Trail to the summit. At the summit, hike the 1/2 mile North Overlook Trail to see the badlands area, the city of Scottsbluff, and the North Platte River Valley or the 1/8 mile South Overlook Trail to view the Oregon Trail, Mitchell Pass, and the Visitor Center.

  • Picnicking

    Enjoy a picnic with a spectacular view at the new picnic area near the visitor center.

Seasonality/Weather

Scotts Bluff National Monument is open seven days a week with the exception of January 1, Thanksgiving Day, and December 25.

Directions

Driving

Visitors traveling east-west on Interstate 80 can exit at Kimball, Nebraska, and drive 45 miles north on Highway 71. Follow National Park Service signs 2 miles west of Gering, Nebraska, on State Highway 92. Visitors following the old Oregon Trail along the North Platte River using State Highways 26 or 92, should follow National Park Service signs.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(509) 234-0527

Links