After leaving Scotts Bluff, Nebraska for about 20 miles on the Oregon Trail, there is one rock formation rising out of the ground that is very difficult to miss. Chimney Rock!

P5190810 Nebraska: Chimney Rock

In fact way back when the wagons rolled with the first pioneers heading west, Chimney Rock was noted in journals as the most memorable landmark on the route.

P5190795 Nebraska: Chimney Rock

It is easy to see why. The rock stands as if alone with an original unique shape. The name it came by is easy to see too.

I had got there at sunrise to get the changing colours at dawn. It was difficult to get too close though as the grasslands surrounding are notorious for rattle snakes, not a time to go wandering too far through the rough!

P5190768 Nebraska: Chimney Rock

P5190774 Nebraska: Chimney Rock

The way it came to be is that it was once connected to the bluff that has receded behind it. The sandstone and clay eroded away separating it because that pillar has a harder sandstone at the top, protecting that column of rock eroding like the surroundings.

P5190817 Nebraska: Chimney Rock

The rock stands at 286 ft (87 metres). However, when the first pioneers came through it was much much higher. Erosion has taken it down but also lightning strikes have dramatically reduced it.

P5190829 Nebraska: Chimney Rock

I have seen many rock formations and have seen many landmarks. Chimney rock, Nebraska at sunrise is one though I will never forget. The changing colours of the stone, the miles from anywhere, the vastness of the skies and landscape surrounding. Quite a remarkable spot to be at. Unique and wonderful.

P5190771 Nebraska: Chimney Rock