Once thought to the tallest point in the state of Nebraska, Scots Bluff is a striking natural landmark.
Rising from the plains, over 800 ft. (244 m) higher than the North Platte River, it has beckoned to hunters, explorers, emigrants, . . . — — Map (db m169809) HM
Unlike the Native Americans, many 19th century European-Americans did not see the abundance and beauty of the prairie. At first it was just a barrier between them and their goals further west. Oregon had the fertile Willamette Valley, California . . . — — Map (db m164140) HM
Pioneers saw the Great Plains as an endless and monotonous "Sea of Grass," but it was much more. It was a land inhabited by nomadic people who followed the immense herds of bison. These Native American tribes knew and understood the prairie, its . . . — — Map (db m191415) HM
Most history books focus on the westbound travel along
the trails, but what about eastward movement? The first European-Americans to record seeing the bluffs
were eastbound fur traders returning from the west coast.
After that, fur traders . . . — — Map (db m174344) HM
While emigrants were mostly self-sufficient, there were
times when they needed extra help. Since there were few
forts in the early years, aid often came from the feared
"savages.” Instead of attacking the wagon trains as the
eastern . . . — — Map (db m174496) HM
It was a treeless expanse. Floods and lightning caused grass fires killed seedlings that tried to grow on the prairie around the bluffs, perfect grazing for the bison and elk that lived here. Only on top of the bluffs were trees able to grow. To . . . — — Map (db m164136) HM
Wagon trains that arrived at Scotts Bluff had a choice to make. Although they wanted to stay close to the North Platte River, the bluffs were in the way. Traveling through the badlands next to the river was impossible for wagons. Before 1851 the . . . — — Map (db m174259) HM
You are now standing on the summit of Scotts Bluff, but each year a little more of it erodes away. In 1933 the top of the metal survey post in front of you was level with the rock surface. In just a few decades, a considerable volume of sandstone . . . — — Map (db m87315) HM
In 1866 William Henry Jackson traveled the California Trail as a bullwhacker
with a freight wagon train. Although he had no prior experience, Jackson
quickly learned to yoke and drive the multiple yokes (pairs) of oxen that
pulled each wagon. . . . — — Map (db m174501) HM
Scotts Bluff, the dramatic series of clay and sandstone highlands surrounding you, is known chiefly as a landmark on the old Oregon Trail. Emigrants heading west encountered the bluffs after a six to eight-week trek across the monotonously flat . . . — — Map (db m174254) HM
Pierre Didier Papin
P. D. Papin was a trusted and valued employee of the American Fur Company and its successors for over thirty years. He was born March 7, 1798, In St. Louis. The Papins were a prominent French merchant family in that . . . — — Map (db m133906) HM
Go back in time to 1860 or 1861 and picture the traffic on the Oregon Trail – the freight wagons and stagecoaches, and the emigrants, soldiers, and Indians. But most colorful, perhaps, was the Pony Express rider streaking through Scotts . . . — — Map (db m156142) HM
Scotts Bluff was a marvel to many people from the eastern
part of the continent. Rising abruptly from the plains, it
inspired some to write poetic descriptions in their diaries.
It was a relief to people on the westward journey to Oregon
and . . . — — Map (db m174221) HM
The bluff you are standing on and the ones adjacent to it are known collectively as Scotts Bluff. Like the famous Chimney Rock to the east, Scotts Bluff is an outlier formation of the Wildcat Hills, visible along the horizon to your right. Twenty . . . — — Map (db m156140) HM
With the faith and courage of their forefathers who made possible the freedom of these United States The Boy Scouts of America dedicate this replica of the Statue of Liberty as a pledge of everlasting fidelity and loyalty 40th Anniversary . . . — — Map (db m191401) HM
Site of Roubedeaux blacksmith shop and trading post on original Oregon Trail.
Father DeSmet rested here in 1840 and again in 1851 when he baptized Roubedeaux’s half-breed children.
Stansbury, government explorer visited here in 1849 and . . . — — Map (db m99183) HM
Robidoux Pass was named for Joseph Robidoux III of St. Joseph, Missouri, who established a trading post and blacksmith shop here in 1849, just in time to witness the beginning of the great California gold rush.
This pass is an integral part of . . . — — Map (db m99133) HM
In 1849 Joseph Rogidoux III of St. Joseph, Missouri, licensed in the Indian trade, ordered removal of his outfit from the vicinity of Fort Laramie to this strategic pass over Scotts Bluff, where there was ample wood and water. Evidence from several . . . — — Map (db m99134) HM
There is no enduring memory of the history that happened here. There was no one left behind to remember it.
From faded pages of tattered diaries or survivors several generations removed, we assign the early dwellers here to their proper place in . . . — — Map (db m99184) HM
The trail on your right gradually descends the steep slopes of Scotts Bluff to Scotts Spring and the Visitor Center. Eroding layers of sandstone, siltstone, and volcanic ash are exposed along the way, and you’ll see some intriguing geologic . . . — — Map (db m87311) HM
You are standing on the northern section of Scotts Bluff, looking across to the southern section. On the horizon the Wildcat Hills stretch far to the east (left). Below, the route of the Oregon Trail cuts through Mitchell Pass. A few traces of the . . . — — Map (db m156141) HM
The sight of Scotts Bluff thrilled emigrants journeying west on the Oregon Trail. After weeks of plodding across the wild and expansive plains, they were confronted by this massive promontory rising some 800 feet above the valley floor. The clay . . . — — Map (db m174219) HM
The Pony Express passed here 1860-1861. Scott’s Bluff station was located 2 1/2 miles northwest of Mitchell pass, near the site of the later Fort Mitchell. There were others stations at Courthouse Rock, Chimney Rock, Ficklin’s Springs, and Horse . . . — — Map (db m79425) HM
After the great migrations of settlers and goldseekers passed here in the 1840’s and 50’s, the Oregon Trail remained an important communications and supply route. Wagon trains hauled provisions to Ft. Laramie and other army posts west of here. The . . . — — Map (db m174498) HM
The river is life. Animals made their paths along it and leading to and from it. Humans followed next; the first traveled lightly, leaving little trace of their passing. Occasionally they would climb the tall bluffs where the height allowed . . . — — Map (db m164108) HM
To your left, vast flatlands extend eastward – for hundreds of miles. In the mid-1800’s this expansive, semi-arid grassland was known as “The Great American Desert.” For early travelers it was an unfamiliar, often inhospitable . . . — — Map (db m156143) HM
”For more than a century, the Platte River provided a natural path for pioneers traveling West, a water source for herds of bison and a harvesting region for fur trappers. Even today, the river’s impact is enormous; it is the single largest source . . . — — Map (db m191406) HM
In the 1840’s and 50’s, thousands of pioneers followed the shallow Platte and North Platte Rivers across the plains on their way to Oregon and California. Covered wagons passed Scotts Bluff on both sides of the river. Emigrants could not lead . . . — — Map (db m87308) HM
Only a few of the pioneers who reached Scotts Bluff scaled the cliffs to witness this aerial view of the country ahead. The wagons had to keep rolling to reach Oregon or California before cold weather set in. Ft. Mitchell, the next stop on the . . . — — Map (db m87310) HM
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 . . . — — Map (db m174342) HM