Smokestack Rock is located in Morrill County on private land southwest of the small town of McGrew, Nebraska, and southeast of the cities of Scottsbluff and Gering, Nebraska. Like all of its neighboring hills, peaks, and rocks, it is composed of a mixture of sandstone, limestone, volcanic ash, and siltstone, eroded to a unique shape due to thousands of year of weathering. Hiking to the summit can be as simple as a steep climb up the mostly unobstructed east face. Or, hikers can traverse Coyote Canyon, immediately to the south, and come around from the west side. The Coyote Canyon route is preferable to some because of the scenic beauty of the canyon and all its rock formations. It is also a good location to see fossils and to collect unique rocks.
Because Smokestack Rock is on private property, it is very important to seek permission first before any attempts. The landowners live just to the north of the summit at the base of the rock. It is best if you inquire there.
Smokestack Rock 100 years ago
Nearing the summit area
To get to the base of Smokestack Rock, go south of McGrew on Main Street, which is County Road 34, which turns west and becomes County Road W until it turns again to the south and becomes County Road 34. Follow 34 south until you come to County Road Z, which is also County Road 44. Go west and follow the road to the end, which should lead you right to the base and the home of the owners.
This is on private property, so "red tape" is whatever agreement you have with the landowner.
Camping and Lodging Resources
The nearby towns of Scottsbluff and Gering to the northwest, or Bridgeport to the northeast, should offer you plenty of camping or lodging resources, plus food and supplies.