• Sentinal and Eagle Rocks

    Scotts Bluff

    National Monument Nebraska

South Overlook Trail

Looking over the Visitor Center and the Summit Road to the first tunnel from the South Overlook

Photo by Jonathan S. Garcia

The South Overlook provides a view of Mitchell Pass, remnants of the Oregon Trail, and the Oregon Trail Museum and Visitor Center.

Length: 0.4 miles

Surface: Asphalt

Difficulty: Easy

Access: The South Overlook Trailhead can be found at the south end of the summit parking lot.

Due to time and energy, few pioneers are thought to have climbed to the summit of Scotts Bluff for the view. By the time the wagons reached the bluff, they had traveled one third of the 2,170 mile trip to Oregon. The bluff symbolized a new phase of the journey, leaving the plains and getting into the mountains. Today, from the South Overlook you can see the route the pioneers took through Mitchell Pass. You can also clearly see four of the five rock formations of Scotts Bluff. Crown Rock, Dome Rock, Eagle Rock, and Saddle Rock can all be seen from the South Overlook. The remaining rock formation is Sentinel Rock, which is blocked from view at the overlook by Eagle Rock.

 
Hiking south on the South Overlook Trail.

Photo by Jonathan S. Garcia

In 1844, James Clyman wrote "These hills are finely stored with game such as Black tailed deer, antelope, mountain sheep and sometimes Buffaloe, Elk and Grisled Bear." Other than the mule and white-tailed deer (and the newly re-introduced bighorn sheep in a state reserve ten miles south of the national monument), these animals are no longer present. The mammals which can be found in the monument include mule and white tail deer, badgers, coyotes, skunks, red fox, raccoons, porcupines, cottontail and jack rabbits, and prairie dogs.

Rabbits and mule deer are often seen on the summit. Other mammals are seen include porcupines and coyotes, depending on the time of day and season.

Did You Know?

Paving 1

The third tunnel called for two one-way roads with a center wall between the two. This plan was abandoned due to the softness of the brule and sandstone material and the third tunnel is now the same as the others.