After a couple of days on the Oregon Trail you have travelled westwards over the vast miles of the flat prairies of Kansas and Nebraska. Suddenly though, when you get into western Nebraska the landscape around shows great rock formations seemingly rising out of the flatlands. The first big one as a landmark is known as Scotts Bluff.
It is a remarkable sight to see first hand. You can see it is little wonder the first travellers heading to the west used it as an important landmark helping along the Oregon Trail.
The first non Native Americans to discover the bluffs where the fur traders in the early 19th Century. Little is known of life around here before then but there are signs it was used for camping and for looking down to chase and hunt the Buffalo that used to be very prevalent here before non-native people arrived. Once the traders had established the Oregon and Mormon Trails that passed by, many thousands recalled it as a great landmark on their wagon train journey to the west.
Why the name? Well the story goes that in 1828 a member of a expeditionary group became seriously ill. He was abandoned to die in the area and his body was found beside the buffs. His name was Hiram Scott.
Today of course it is still a striking landmark. A great group of bluffs and rocks that invite you to explore them top to bottom. You can take the climb on foot (about 1 and half miles) or you can take the easy way and drive to the top and wander around. The views are remarkable.
The rock formations may look stunning from below or afar but they take on a whole new sense from above. You can see literally for miles and miles. The true summit is 240 m (800 ft). Whilst I was there this day a storm was brewing over the prairie giving a great dramatic feel.
This is an area of Nebraska well renowned for its rock monuments. Ancient stone that guided people of old towards the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and the west. Scotts Bluff is a must visit amongst them. A place you must see for yourself to appreciate.