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Family Vacations in Nebraska


Family Vacations in Nebraska: Chimney Rock and Scotts Bluff National Monument
Chimney Rock (top) and Scotts Bluff (bottom) are two distinct formations that can                                  still be seen along the historic Oregon Trail.
Chimney Rock (top) and Scotts Bluff (bottom) are two distinct formations that can still be seen along the historic Oregon Trail.

Chimney Rock rises to a spire almost 325 feet above the North Platte River Valley in Nebraska. It can be seen from miles away, so it was the ideal landmark for pioneers traveling the Mormon, California and Oregon trails. Today, Chimney Rock is a National Historic Site that still marks the place where the plains give way to the Rocky Mountains.

Modern-day visitors often travel the Oregon Trail, today known as US Highway 26, about 45 minutes from Chimney Rock to see Scotts Bluff National Monument, another important three-trail landmark. Especially after a long trip across the prairie, whether by covered wagon or station wagon, the monument is striking for its key features--Scotts Bluff and South Bluff and their dramatic cliffs.

Most of the park is native mixed-grass prairie, which has the virtue of looking as pristine and undisturbed as in the days of the pioneers. Gazing out over the landscape, you can feel a kinship with these brave travelers. The monument also boasts barren badlands between Scotts Bluff and the North Platte River, amounting to an amazing variety of landscape packed into 3,000 acres. A museum on the national monument grounds houses exhibits on the area's history.

Chimney Rock and Scotts Bluff National Monument Information

Address: S. of Hwy. 92 on Chimney Rock Rd

Bayard, NE

Telephone: 308/586-2581

Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., daily

Admission: $3 adults; kids free

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Nebraska State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Nebraska, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.