Chimney Rock is most famous for its role as a beacon for mid-19th century pioneers. Erosion and lightning strikes have taken a toll since then, but it still stands tall, a prominent sentry on the Great Plains.
“A wonder of the West.”
Feel the awe and curiosity the pioneers experienced when they saw the most famous landmark on the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails. The Ethel and Christopher J. Abbott Visitor Center houses museum exhibits, a hands-on opportunity to "pack your wagon," and a video presentation that tells the story of the great migration West. A large inventory of books on western and trail history is available for purchase at the Chimney Rock Visitor Center. Chimney Rock is a prominent geological rock formation in Morrill County in western Nebraska. Rising nearly 300 feet above the surrounding North Platte River valley, the peak of Chimney Rock is 4,226 feet above sea level. During the middle 19th century it served as a landmark along the Oregon Trail, the California Trail, and the Mormon Trail, which ran along the north side of the rock. It is visible for many miles from the east along U.S. Route 26. When emigrants reached Chimney Rock and Scotts Bluff, their journey was one-third over. But more challenging terrain lay ahead as water, firewood and supply depots became more scarce. Buffalo herds that initially were a dependable food source for the emigrants also thinned out due to excessive killing.
We drove to the visitor center and paid admission ($3 per adult over 18, free for all under 18) and were admitted to the 15 minute video which was very informative! We drove the dirt road as far as it would take us to get a closer pic of the monument. Spent just under an hour. Worth the stop!
This was a great stop in Bayard, NE. We enjoyed the museum and learning about this unique historic marker/site. The movie was well done as well. A little bit of history I had never heard about! Definitely worth the stop if you're in the area! You can not get up close to the site, as they don't want folks to climb on it, deface it, etc.
Having a National Park Pass is a definite plus. There's an information video about the earliest history recorded about the site.
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Chimney Rock National Historic Site
- Sun - Sat: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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