Scotts Bluff was a natural landmark to the emigrants traveling on the
The bluffs’ surrounding prairie changes as well. Approximately 40% of the monument was privately owned and the land disturbed to differing degrees. There have been two golf courses, a picnic area, a cattle feedlot, a hog farm, and several structures within the Monument’s boundary. The scars of these disturbances can be seen today, but restoration efforts are underway, in conjunction with prescribed fire, to return the mixed-grass prairie to its pioneer-period appearance. It is doubtful whether the prairie will be exactly as it appeared to the pioneers. A state highway, three irrigation canals, and a railroad cross the Monument. All of these provide non-native vegetation avenues to invade. Also, the original large ungulates and their grazing effect on the mixed-grass prairie are missing.
Did You Know?
The 1.6 mile Saddle Rock Trail leads hikers from the Scotts Bluff National Monument Visitor Center to the summit. Though the wagon ruts have eroded away, the 1/2 mile Oregon Trail Pathway runs from the Visitor Center to the remnants and roadbed of the Oregon Trail.