Scottsbluff National Monument was established in 1919 to protect the towering bluffs of western Nebraska. Standing watch over Native American tribes, serving as a guide along the Oregon Trail, and guarding the Pony Express, Scottsbluff has weathered the ages as an iconic landmark.
Visitors to the park will arrive through Mitchell Pass, travel right next to Sentinel Rock, and be greeted by friendly National Park Service staff at a gated entry. A visitor center is stationed at the base of the monument where Native Americans and immigrants had once set up their camps. A parking lot is located just inside the gate where one can park and venture around the base on the Saddle Rock Trail that weaves around the base of the bluff. When viewing the landmark from this angle, the viewer begins to appreciate the grand scale of such a wonder. Prairie grasses and wildflowers dance together as they reach up the stone and spread onto the flat land. Looking outward, more bluffs reach for the skyline and slowly fade to the horizon. A short drive from Scottsbluff is another spectacular formation known as Chimney Rock.
Visitors can either hike to the summit or drive a long winding road through impressively constructed tunnels. According to the National Parks Service website, which contains the complete history of the monument, the Oregon Trail Museum, and the park itself, the road was completed over the course of several years and officially opened in 1937. The road is a steep ascent that turns left and right and should not be rushed.
A parking lot is located at the very top, where guests have the opportunity to venture out on either the North Overlook Trail or the South Overlook Trail. From the South Overlook one can see out over the vast landscape and take in spectacular views of Eagle Rock and Crown Rock. In spring and summer guests can watch as storms roll and approach over the surrounding flatlands.