Gering in Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Traces of the Trail
The Oregon Trail passed here in the 1850’s
Out on the prairie, wagons following the Oregon Trail spread out to avoid the dust stirred up by wagons in front. But here at Mitchell Pass the emigrants encountered a difficult bottleneck where wagons had to squeeze through narrow ravines in single file.
The clomping, scraping, and grinding of thousands of hooves and wagon wheels over the same places gradually wore deep ruts in the soft sandstone. Today, more than a century later, traces of the ruts remain.
Beginning here, the trail to your right follows the historic route of the Oregon Trail for half a mile (0.8km). A short walk will help you rediscover a bygone era.
August 13, 1860
“The sharp, sudden torrents which pour from the heights on both sides, and the draughty winds – Scott’s Bluffs are the permanent headquarters of hurricanes – have cut up the ground into a labyrinth of jagged gulches steeply walled in. We dashed down the drains and pitch-holes with a violence which shook the navebands from our sturdy wheels.”
British traveler and author
As they passed, a few emigrants carved their names on the base of the bluffs here. Erosion has worn away most of the signatures but this example [seen in photo on the marker] is preserved in the park museum.
Location. 41° 49.769′ N, 103° 42.651′ W. Marker is in Gering, Nebraska, in Scotts Bluff County. Marker can be reached from Old Oregon Trail, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is located in Scotts Bluff National Monument, along the Mitchell Pass Trail. Marker is in this post office area: Gering NE 69341, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Oregon Trail (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Oregon Trail (approx. 0.2 miles away); Scott's Bluff Pony Express Station (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Bullwhackers (approx. 0.2 miles away); Scotts Bluff (approx. 0.7 miles away); Pony Express (approx. 0.7 miles away); The Overland Experience (approx. 0.7 miles away); Remnant Highlands (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gering.
More about this marker. In addition to the photo of emigrant’s signatures carved in the bluff, a picture of covered wagons passing through Mitchell Pass appears on the marker.
Categories. • Roads & Vehicles • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 16, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 231 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 16, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.