1. Learn more about the people who have traveled past Scotts Bluff in the past by visiting the monument visitor center.
New, interactive exhibits in the visitor center describe how Native Americans, fur traders and emigrants to Oregon, California, and Utah all interacted with each other and the lands surrounding Scotts Bluff.
2. Experience the artistic side of Scotts Bluff by admiring the William Henry Jackson collection.
Did you know that Scotts Bluff National Monument contains the world’s largest collection of the works of famed western artist William Henry Jackson? If you are unfamiliar with Jackson, he was a watercolorist and photographer who helped capture the history of the western United States in his works. His 1871 photographs of the Yellowstone region were a catalyst for creating Yellowstone National Park in 1872. A small portion of the collection is on display in the visitor center.
3. Stamp your passport book.
Scotts Bluff National Monument is home to 5 different passport stamps. Besides the Scotts Bluff NM stamp, there are stamps for the Oregon National Historic Trail, the California National Historic Trail, the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, and the Pony Express National Historic Trail. The passport stamping station can be found in the park store.
4. Take a memento of your visit home with a stop in the park store.
The Scotts Bluff National Monument store is operated by Black Hills Parks and Forests Association and offers a variety of interpretive materials about Scotts Bluff NM, the Nebraska Panhandle, and the people who settled and live here. All purchases made from the park store help support interpretive programming at Scotts Bluff National Monument.
5. Become a Junior Ranger.
Scotts Bluff National Monument features a Junior Ranger program. Booklets are available at the visitor center. When participants complete the activities in the booklet, they can bring it back to the visitor center for a park ranger to check. Successful Junior Rangers earn a special badge and join the prestigious ranks of fellow Junior rangers who care about our parks and help protect them.
6. Experience the dramatic scenery of Western Nebraska on a hike!
Hiking Scotts Bluff National Monument can be an amazing experience for the prepared hiker. Be sure to bring drinking water and a snack and be prepared for the changing weather of the high plains. The Saddle Rock Trail, a 1.6-mile hike (one way) with a 435-foot ascent, is a local favorite and leads from the monument visitor center to the summit of Scotts Bluff.
7. Drive the Scotts Bluff Summit Road.
The Summit Road is the oldest concrete road in the state of Nebraska and features the only 3 auto tunnels in the state. The 1.6-mile drive to the summit leads to a parking area where two short trails lead to overlooks. Please be aware that due to the three tunnels and sharp curves, the road is not open to vehicles that are taller than 11 feet 7 inches, longer than 25 feet, or vehicles towing trailers.
8. Think safety!
While we want you to have a fun trip to Scotts Bluff National Monument, we would also like for your visit to be a safe one. Stay on established trails while hiking in the monument or visiting overlooks. Wandering off-trail increases your chance of encountering rattlesnakes. Also, the rock that makes up Scotts Bluff is soft and crumbly. Staying on trail decreases the likelihood of triggering a rockslide.
Be aware of the weather. Temperatures at Scotts Bluff can reach into the low-100s F during the summertime. Bring adequate water and and seek the indoors as the temperature soars. Finally, please be aware of severe storms. Severe thunderstorms with damaging hail and tornados are possible in the late spring and summer. Be aware of developing storms and head for cover at the first signs of the storm. There are no shelter areas on the summit or the hiking trails. The Summit Road is closed during severe weather.
9. Attend a ranger program.
During the summer months park rangers at Scotts Bluff National Monument offer programs for your enjoyment and inspiration. Join a ranger to learn more about the trail emigrants, the western fur trade, plants, animals and geology of this special place.
10. Visiting with your pet?
Leashed pets are welcome on monument trails. However, you must clean up your pet's waste. Please be aware that pets are not permitted inside the Scotts Bluff National Monument Visitor Center and leaving them in your vehicle during the hot summer months can be deadly.