Scotts Bluff Monument is located in Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska, and the Monument’s land covers 3,003 acres. The Monument is the pinnacle of a large system of butte’s that form a rim. Scotts Bluff Monument rises 800 feet above the North Platte River, and 425 feet above the Visitor Center. The North Platte River forms the Monument’s north boundary for approximately 1.25 miles. Besides being of geological interest, the Monument provides good views of the relatively featureless terrain of the North Platte River Valley. Visible in the distance to the west is Laramie Peak as well as the rest of the Laramie Range. For Oregon Trail travelers, the Scotts Bluff Monument marked the end of the bleak prairie and the beginning of the infamous Rocky Mountains. Here’s a good photo of the entire park complex: Scotts Bluff Monument.
Scotts Bluff National Monument has bus and RV parking available, and many of its facilities are wheelchair accessible – you the nature of your “vacation” requires such. Besides the “summit trail,” there are several other trails that are open for walking or running.
The turnout for the Scotts Bluff National Monument Visitor’s Center is off Nebraska Highway 92 (from the West) or 71 from the North or South. From I-80 (southern Nebraska) – the best route from Denver – take Nebraska Highway 71 north into Gering, NE. To the west, there will be a well-marked turn onto Highway 92; the sign will read “Scotts Bluff National Monument.” Follow this road a short distance to the obvious Visitor’s Center.
From the West, drive Highway 26 through Torrington, WY. Once into Nebraska, drive through Henry, Morrill, and Mitchell, turning south towards Highway 71 once in the city of Scottsbluff. From the East, drive Highway 26 until you reach the exit for Highway 92, about 10 miles past Bridgeport, NE. Once on Highway 92, continue through McGrew and Melbeta until you reach Gering, NE. Simply crossing Highway 71 and following the signs will lead you to the Monument.
All non-commercial vehicles receive a pass good for 7 days. For cars/trucks/SUVs, the price is $5.00 per vehicle for parking. For motorcycles, the price is $3.00 per vehicle. Commercial buses are $100.00, and commercial vans are $40.00 per day. You can receive an Annual Park Pass for $15.00, and it’s good at Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Agate Fossil Beds, and Scotts Bluff National Monument. Camping is not allowed within the park except through special permission. Special-use permits are available for a minimum of $30.00.
When to Climb
Climbing Scotts Bluff Monument is quite possible during all seasons due to the relatively mild climate in the North Platte River Valley. The valley’s elevation is less than 4,000 feet. However, high winds and snow storms are quite possible. More importantly, thunderstorms, lightning, and tornadoes frequent the valley. Special care should be taken when lightning is possible; just like any mountain, be aware of the weather conditions and do not summit if there are thunderstorms in the area.
Scotts Bluff National Monument PO Box 27 Gering, NE 69341-0027
Scotts Bluff National Monument 190276 Highway 92 West Gering, NE 69341-0027