Although Scotts Bluff National Monument in Nebraska might seem like an odd spot to look for, the reality is that it was once the icon that many settlers looked forward to seeing during the westward expansion in the 1800s. So, what are some things you can do near Scotts Bluff National Monument?
Anyone may find something to enjoy at Scotts Bluff National Monument. Children? Request a Junior Ranger Activity book from a park ranger. Hikers? Views may be found on the Saddle Rock Path. Want to take in the view? Go to the Scotts Bluff Summit Road! History lovers? Stop by the visitor center, check out the displays, then stroll down the Oregon Trail Walk to see the replica-covered wagons.
Keep reading below for more information.
Things to Do at Scotts Bluff National Monument
The following activities are available at Scotts Bluff National Monument.
For more information on what to do when visiting Scotts Bluff National Monument, watch this video below:
Hike Saddle Rock Trail
This will undoubtedly be the best part of your trip. The 1.6-mile asphalt route ascends to the top of the bluffs from the Visitor Center, offering fantastic views of the distinctive rock formations.
The track isn’t too difficult overall; however, some sections are steep. If you go during the summer, when Scottsbluff frequently reaches temperatures exceeding 90, start earlier in the day.
Take Scotts Bluff Summit Road
You may use the Summit Shuttle or drive to the summit throughout the summer. The shuttle journey is guided by a ranger and only lasts a few minutes on average one way. Also, you may use the shuttle one way and trek the other.
Take a Stroll on the Oregon Trail
Starting across the street from the visitor center, the half-mile Oregon Trail Pathway leads through Mitchell Pass, formerly dubbed as the Devil’s Gap. You’ll be traveling down the original Oregon Trail, which is a must for history buffs!
Hike in the Backcountry
Backcountry hiking is allowed in the South Bluff region of the monument if you’re looking for something a little more unusual. Consult the visitor center for more information.
Stop by the Visitor Center
It is certainly worthwhile to visit the visitor center. In addition to a collection of works of art, a short film, and ranger-led activities, it is jam-packed with displays about the four historic routes that formerly traveled through the region.
One of the fascinating passages describes how local Native Americans were impacted by mass migration and how this harmed the land they depended on.
More Things to Do in Scottsbluff, NE
Spend some time exploring the rest of the region as many other activities are close to Scotts Bluff National Monument.
Visit the Legacy of the Plains Museum
One of Scottsbluff’s major attractions, the highly regarded Legacy of the Plains Museum is the site to go to learn about local history. The numerous displays explore the history of farming, travel, commerce, and day-to-day life in the High Plains, and the art gallery features everything from quilts to paintings.
Be ready to spend a minimum of two hours here.
Visit the West Nebraska Arts Center
The exhibits at this nonprofit art gallery, located downtown, rotate around once a month. Most of the pieces on display are for sale, and admission is free.
Climb the Lighthouse on Lake Minatare
Nebraska has a lighthouse, which is something you wouldn’t expect! The lighthouse at Lake Minatare is located on a peninsula that protrudes into the water, about 20 minutes from the city. You may reach the summit through a winding 56-step stairway and enjoy the lake views.
You can enjoy a picnic near the lighthouse’s base or take a selfie in front of it using the strategically positioned selfie station.
Trek Through the Wildcat Hills
Wildcat Hills State Recreation Park, a 1,100-acre expanse challenging every cliché of Nebraska, is located fifteen minutes south of the city and offers broad picturesque vistas and a distinct rough topography. There are several hiking routes there, and there is a fantastic nature center.
Visit the Vintage Midwest Theater
Since 1946, the Midwest Theater has operated in a historic structure in the heart of Scottsbluff, which has remained unchanged. It now runs as a non-profit and often shows movies from Friday through Sunday.
See a Movie at the Drive-In
The Midwest Theater also manages the recently inaugurated SkyView Drive-In Theater a few kilometers outside of town. There are nighttime showings of movies on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It is open all year round, in contrast to many drive-in cinemas.
Stroll the North Platte River Path
Scottsbluff and the North Platte River are directly connected (hence, why the Oregon Trail and others passed through here). The Monument Valley Pathway, a two-mile-long flat concrete trail, offers views of the river and the national monument in the distance as it follows the river for much of its length.
Bike the Monument Valley Pathway
The Monument Valley Path stretches deeper through Scottsbluff and Gering. It, therefore would make for a pleasant bike ride, even if the two-mile portion along the river is arguably the most picturesque.
Browse The Bard’s Den Books & Beyond
The only used bookshop in Scottsbluff, and perhaps the only bookstore, has sporadic hours and is difficult to locate. Yet it’s worth making the trip to this quirky small store.
It is crammed with various books, including a full shelf of “End Times” literature and a section devoted to “Amish Fiction.” They also sell homemade crafts and presents and many more popular books.
Entering the parking lot of the building where Gateway of Scottsbluff Realty is located will lead you directly to the door to the bookstore, known as the Bard’s Den. Check out their Facebook page for the most recent hours before your visit.
Take a Look at Chimney Rock
A trip to Chimney Rock, which can be reached only half an hour from Scottsbluff, is often regarded as among the most enjoyable activities available in western Nebraska.
If you visit Scotts Bluff, allow yourself a few hours to wander the grounds, enjoy the landscape, and discover this landmark’s significance for so many travelers on the Oregon Trail. We hope this guide has provided helpful advice about what to expect when you go!