Place

Chimney Rock National Historic Site

Sunflowers in the foreground with a distant, chimney-shaped rock feature.
Chimney Rock in Nebraska.

Photo/NPS

Quick Facts

Amphitheater, Gifts/Souvenirs/Books, Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Information, Restroom, Scenic View/Photo Spot, Water - Drinking/Potable, Wheelchair Accessible

A map of Passport and Places to Go locations for National Historic Trails.

Visible for miles, Chimney Rock was more than a wonder of nature. It was also a significant landmark in measuring the emigrants' progress west. This natural feature was a "grand and splendid object" to emigrants who had never seen the geology of the American West. As they traveled alongside the North Platte River, they peered eagerly ahead for their first view of the rock. As such, it was mentioned in more emigrant diaries than any other landmark on the Oregon Trail!

Emigrant Remarks

On June 27, 1849, Elisha Perkins was humbled and awed by his visit to this remarkable curiosity when me wrote,

". . . camped opposite to & about 1 mile from Chimney Rock. I had some curiosity to see this . . . Imagine a pyramid standing alone though surrounded by rocky precipices some 150 feet high & at its base 20 feet through . . . No conception can be formed of the magnitude of this grand work of nature until you stand at its base & look up. If a man does not feel like an insect then I don't know when he should."

Site Information

The Nebraska State Historical Society now manages Chimney Rock as part of a historic site. Viewing the rock is available from several places, including from the site's visitor center. This center houses a museum with interpretive and interactive exhibits about this natural feature and the emigrant trails. It also contains a small theater with a video presentation about the great migration West and a bookstore. Modest admission is charged. 

 

Safety Considerations

More Site Information

Oregon National Historic Trail

California National Historic Trail

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail

Pony Express National Historic Trail

California National Historic Trail, Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, Oregon National Historic Trail, Pony Express National Historic Trail, Scotts Bluff National Monument

Last updated: April 2, 2021