Scotts Bluff National Monument came into significance during the 1800s, when Americans travelling west followed the Oregon Trail from Illinois to the Oregon Coast. The trail passed through Nebraska, going through a narrow passage between two ridges known as “Scott’s Bluff”.
The significance of Scott’s Bluff is that it was a landmark travelers used to gauge their progress along the trail. Once past Scott’s Bluff, they knew they had completed the first 1/3 of the trail.
Scott’s Bluff became a symbolic gateway to the West, serving also the Pony Express and the Mormon Trail.
Today, Scotts Bluff National Monument has a museum, hiking trails, and a short road that takes you up to the top of the peak. There’s also the towns of Scottsbluff and Gering nearby.
Sash and I had pulled into Scottsbluff a couple of days earlier. I had developed a bad cough a week before after getting dowsed by a crop duster in Iowa. By this time, Sash picked up the same cough, and determined it was strep throat. We visited an urgent care center in town, who set us up with antibiotics and codeine cough syrup. We slept in our hotel room for an entire day trying to recuperate.
By the next day, I felt much better, but still had the cough. Sash was feeling a touch better and felt she was OK to get going.
At Scotts Bluff National Monument, for whatever reason, they weren’t charging entrance fees. We spent some time perusing the museum and reading the whole story of the Oregon Trail, Pony Express, and Mormon Trail. Then we jumped on our bikes and rode Summit Road which took us up to the top of the Bluff.
At the top there are hiking trails and view points for great views of the North Platte River Valley.
Sash stayed by the bikes and spent her time photographing a dragonfly while I hiked one of the trails and found myself at the South Overlook. After five months on the road, through rain, hail, cold, wind, and fighting off illnesses and even fighting each other, it felt really good to finally arrive in the West.
For us, Scotts Bluff was our gateway back to the West, where we came from and where we grew up.
Scotts Bluff National Monument
190276 Old Oregon Trail
Gering, NE 69341