Scotts Bluff National Monument – Gering, Nebraska

AOL - Scotts Bluff National Monumentt

 

There’s a cool National Monument in western Nebraska that is rich in history of our country. We actually happened upon Scotts Bluff National Monument on one of our cross-country motorcycle trips pre-RV. But it wasn’t just the history that drew us to this strange bluff situated on the flatland valley along the Platte River. We decided to visit again but with purpose…
Nebraska is often thought of as a flyover state, however, we’ve discovered it truly isn’t the case. While rows upon rows of every kind of corn lines the highways and backroads of this mid America state, there’s a little secret we just have to tell you about.

AOL Scotts Bluff NPS

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AOL - Scotts Bluff NPS

How Scotts Bluff was named…

In 1828, a fur trapper by the name of Hiram Scott was wounded and deserted by his companions. Scott gained a certain immortality by making his way to a magnificent formation of bluffs along the North Platte River before succumbing to his wounds. It was for Hiram Scott that Scotts Bluff National Monument, Scotts Bluff County, and the city of Scotts Bluff have been named.

 

Towering 800 feet above the North Platte River, Scotts Bluff has served as a landmark for peoples from Native Americans to emigrants on the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails to modern travelers. Rich with geological and paleontological history as well as human history, there is much to discover while exploring the 3,000 acres of Scotts Bluff National Monument.

AOL - Scottsbluff - Cyclone Toyhauler

Where we stayed….

We pulled into Robidoux Campground in Gehring, Nebraska to spend a few days to explore. When we arrived, the camp host assigned us the absolutely best site in the whole park. He actually didn’t mind that we parked backwards so we could take in the gorgeous view of Scotts Bluff!

AOL - Scottsbluff Cyclone Patio View

That next morning, while enjoying coffee and muffins, our eyes kept getting drawn to the top of the bluff. We decided we’d put on our hiking shoes and hike our way to the top. We packed a small daypack with lots of water and began our ascent to Scotts Bluff National Monument.

Hiking to the top of Scotts Bluff National Monument

We took a short tour of the facility and get our National Park Passport stamped. In the visitor’s center, we learned how Scotts Bluff was part of the Oregon Trail and the Mormon Trail. We were provided a trail map and made our way to the hiking trail.

 

Scottsbluff - Lisa 1
The first trail we hiked was Saddle Rock Trail; a 1.6 mile trail up to the top.  The first third of a mile was ground level and a comfortable speed walk.

AOL - Scottsbluff Dan 1

Then, the second third of the trail climbs to the foot tunnel.

AOL - Scottsbluff - Dan Hike

AOL - Scottsbluff - Dan & Lisa

Getting close to the top, we found this cavelike pass-through tunnel.

AOL - Scottsbluff - Dan Cave Entrance

AOL - Scottsbluff - Dan 2

Once we hiked through the tunnel, it led to an incredible view of the Town of Gering and farmland in the Platte River Valley.

AOL - Scottsbluff - Rock Formation 1

Dan was contemplating whether to go there…

AOL - Scottsbluff - Dan 3

Because, this is why…

AOL - Scottsbluff - Cliff Danger

And then we got to the top…

AOL - Scottsbluff - Rock Formation 2

Coming down the trail was a bit more tedious, especially on our knees.  And, we paid for it for a few days after.  But the hike was worth it.  We certainly got to feel the impression of what the travelers went through during their journeys  to the west.

If you’re wanting a good lunch spot after your hike…

The Mixing Bowl Cafe – Gering, Nebraska

More things to do in the area…

Chimney Rock National Historic Site and Oregon Trail

A LIGHTHOUSE in Nebraska???

If you enjoyed reading this blog, you may want to check out these links:

Hiking Tips and Advice for Beginners

32 Tips for an Amazing National Park Experience

 

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